Amid an investigation into embezzlement allegations, an attorney took out a hit on himself so his son could collect a $10 million insurance policy, state officials announced Tuesday night.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was charged with assisted suicide, assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, possession of less than 28 grams of marijuana and distribution, etc. of methamphetamine.
On Sept. 4 — one day after being ousted from PMPED law firm — Alex Murdaugh was standing along a road in Hampton County when Smith shot him, according to charging documents released by the State Law Enforcement Department. Smith drove off and discarded the gun, but Murdaugh survived the shooting.
On Monday, Murdaugh admitted to agents that he asked Smith to kill him so Murdaugh’s son could collect a life insurance policy worth about $10 million. Smith confessed to his role on Tuesday.
While executing a search warrant on Smith’s residence Sept. 7, SLED reported finding marijuana and methamphetamine.
While the documents allege Murdaugh conspired with Smith, authorities have not released what charges he might face.
Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, statement saying at the time of the Sept. 4 shooting, "Alex believed that ending his life was his only option. Today, he knows that’s not true."
People had fed his 20-year opioid addiction and took advantage of the prominent attorney, the statement said.
"One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex's life, by shooting him in the head," the statement read, stressing that Murdaugh is cooperating with SLED.
Two days after the shooting, PMPED law firm announced that Murdaugh had misappropriated money from the business and was no longer associated with the firm. Exactly how much money might be missing has not been made public.
The firm announced the missing money just hours after Murdaugh issued his own statement saying he was going into rehab for a opioid addiction.
“I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” Murdaugh said without giving details.
The state Supreme Court suspended Murdaugh’s law license during the investigation into the missing money.
Murdaugh found the bodies of his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, and 22-year-old son, Paul, shot multiple times at the family’s Colleton County home on June 7.
Along with the killings, the Sept. 4 shooting on the highway and potential financial misdeeds, state police also are investigating if anyone tried to obstruct an investigation into a 2019 boating accident that killed a 19-year-old woman. Paul Murdaugh was charged with boating under the influence causing death in that case.
State police also said the deaths of the Murdaughs led them to reopen the July 2015 death of a 19-year-old man that was called a hit-and-run. Investigators haven’t said what led them to reopen that case, but the victim’s mother has maintained for the six years since he was found dead on a two-lane road in Hampton County that she thought her son was beaten to death.