South Carolina legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh and his alleged hitman Curtis Smith have been indicted by a grand jury today for a failed suicide-for-hire scheme in September.
Murdaugh, 53, allegedly provided Smith with a gun to shoot him in the head over Labor Day weekend so that Murdaugh’s son, Buster, could inherit a $10million life insurance policy.
Both men were charged with presenting a false claim for payment, while Murdaugh faced further indictments for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, along with filing a false police report.
Smith, 61, was additionally charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
An indictment shared and signed off by South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson indicates prosecutors have strong evidence against the defendants.
In September, Smith and Murdaugh were released on bond for charges related to the September 4 incident.
The lawyer is also a person of interest in the murders of his wife, Maggie, 52; and son, Paul, 22, who were both fatally at the family’s hunting lodge in Islandton, about 67 miles west of Charleston, on June 7. Murdaugh found their bodies upon his return home just after 10 p.m. and called 911 to report the killings.
Murdaugh, 53, allegedly hired Smith and provided him with a gun to shoot him in the head so that Murdaugh’s son, Buster, could inherit a $10million life insurance policy. The incident took place on September 4th
It remains unknown as to whether Buster Murdaugh, 25 (pictured), knew about his father’s death plan
Meanwhile, circuit judge Daniel Hall sided with an attorney suing Murdaugh on behalf of the family of Mallory Beach, a 19-year-old woman killed in a crash on Murdaugh’s boat which prosecutors said his late son, Paul, was driving.
‘They have refused from day one to give me any information,’ the attorney for Beach’s family, Mark Tinsley, said.
The family’s lawsuit says Murdaugh is trying to hide millions of dollars they could possibly collect in their lawsuit and that he could shift money between unknown accounts and potentially sell off property and a boat after he turned all his affairs over to his surviving son, Buster.
Paul was charged after the boat incident in 2019 because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night. He was released on bond.
Beach died after Murdaugh’s boat hit a Beaufort County bridge and her body was found seven days later.
Witnesses who were in the boat the night that Beach died have said they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’.
A lawyer for Murdaugh argued at a hearing before the judge Friday that he has not been found responsible in any civil suits since his wife and son were killed and has insurance to cover if he is required to pay damages.
Circuit Judge Daniel Hall hears arguments from attorney Mark Tinsley during a hearing over prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh’s assets on Friday
Tinsley is suing Murdaugh on behalf of the family of Mallory Beach, a 19-year-old woman killed in a crash on Murdaugh’s boat which prosecutors said his late son, Paul, was driving
Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh. Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were found shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge in a horrific double murder in June
Alex Murdaugh awaits the beginning of his bond hearing in the Richland Judicial Center in Columbia, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021
Attorney John Tiller also argued if Murdaugh loses control of his assets, that would open the door for similar things to happen in countless other cases if the person who sues thinks the defendant does not have enough insurance.
Three years after Beach’s fatal boat accident, which was driven from one of the family’s private islands before crashing into a Beaufort County Bridge at more than 30 miles per hour, her family has yet to receive a payout.
The family of Beach is suing the Murdaugh estate, as is the family of Gloria Satterfield, the maid of 22 years who ‘tripped over the family dogs,’ sustaining a head injury that killed her 21 days later, in the same home where Paul and Margaret would be found dead three years later.
Mallory’s mother, surviving boat passenger Connor Cook and Satterfield’s family fear that money and justice may continue to evade them, even with Alex Murdaugh behind bars.
‘If the lawsuit would be settled… we can get on with our lives,’ Beach’s mother, Lynn Reavis, told 48 Hours. ‘Because Mallory died almost three years ago. And every time these stories come out, it’s like it happens all over again.’
Pictured is the boat that crashed into a Beaumont County bridge, leading to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach. ‘If the lawsuit would be settled… we can get on with our lives,’ Beach’s mother, Lynn Reavis, told 48 Hours. ‘Because Mallory died almost three years ago. And every time these stories come out, it’s like it happens all over again’
There have also been reports that Murdaugh is being investigated by the FBI for alleged financial crimes.
Murdaugh, who resigned from the firm of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) about two months ago after allegedly stealing from them, is said to have used the firm’s stationary in a plan to steal $4.3 million that was owed to the family of Satterfield, who died in his home in 2018.
The suggestion of a possible FBI investigation was made by Eric Bland, one of the attorneys representing the sons of the housekeeper.
The FBI’s Columbia Field Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of South Carolina have not confirmed or denied the existence of an investigation.
Griffin, also told The Post & Courier how he took part in a conference call involving federal prosecutors who were looking to see if he would cooperate with any investigation.
Murdaugh remains in the Richland County jail without bond after being charged with stealing nearly $3 million in insurance payments meant for the sons of his housekeeper, who died in a 2018 fall in his home.
His legal team did not immediately respond to a request to comment on today’s ruling.
A judge handling the Murdaugh criminal cases last month asked for a report on his mental state before considering whether to set bond. A date for a hearing has not been set.
Murdaugh inherited part of a legal empire in tiny Hampton County, South Carolina. Murdaugh´s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all elected prosecutors.
The family´s law firm, located in the most impressive building in town after the courthouse, has spent a century winning multimillion-dollar verdicts.
In October, a judge in South Carolina denied bond for attorney Alex Murdaugh on the second set of charges he has faced since finding his wife and son dead last June
Murdaugh remains in the Richland County jail without bond after being charged with stealing nearly $3 million in insurance payments meant for the sons of his housekeeper, who died in a 2018 fall in his home
Remaining unsolved now for nearly five months are the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie and their son Paul.
Tight-lipped state police have neither named any suspects nor ruled anyone out. Murdaugh has adamantly denied having anything to do with their killings.
The deaths lead to five more criminal investigations into Murdaugh, from whether he stole money from the family’s century-old PMPED Law Firm to the events around his housekeeper’s death and insurance payout to whether he or his family tried to obstruct the investigation into the boat crash.
Murdaugh faces at least another six lawsuits seeking money as damages, from claims over the 2019 fatal boat crash to allegations he stole accidental death insurance settlements meant for his housekeeper’s sons and money from his family’s century-old law firm to his own brother saying Murdaugh owes him $46,500 on $90,000 loaned in September in part to get Murdaugh into drug rehab.
Lawyers in two other lawsuits against Alex Murdaugh filed similar motions asking to have the independent lawyers review and catalog all of Murdaugh’s assets and approve whether he can spend money.
They will get part of any legal settlements or judgements against Murdaugh in the cases they are involved.
Those cases involve a man on the boat who said the Murdaugh family tried to falsely pin him as the boat’s driver instead of their son.
Alex Murdaugh’s (left) brother Randolph ‘Randy’ Murdaugh IV (right) filed a suit against him Thursday for tens of thousands of dollars in unpaid loans
The complaint, obtained by DailyMail.com, reveals that days before Alex attempted to stage his own murder he asked Randy for a loan of $75,000
Murdaugh has been charged with pocketing nearly $3 million worth of insurance settlements that was supposed to go to Satterfield’s estate.
Prosecutors have accused Murdaugh of illegally diverting the money to his accounts. They said he then paid off a $100,000 credit card bill, transferred more than $300,000 to his father and $735,000 to himself.
‘He’s living pretty well for someone with no assets. He has a crisis manager,’ Tinsley said at Friday’s hearing.
Last week, at least two more lawsuits were filed against Murdaugh looking to collect debts.
Crime scene tape is visible on the stretch of Old Salkehatchie Road where Alex Murdaugh reported having been the victim of a drive by shooting. Within days of that loan being made Alex attempted to have himself shot so that his surviving son, Buster, could claim his $10million life insurance policy
Murdaugh is suspected of embezzling millions from Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick, the family law firm of which he was a partner
His old PMPED Law Firm sued, saying they loaned him $470,000 in 2021 and has not been paid back.
The law firm has a separate suit against Murdaugh seeking money they said he stole from them.
That suit didn’t specify and amount, but legal papers have suggested it is in the millions.
Also Randolph Murdaugh IV sued his brother, saying $90,000 he loaned before his arrest to help his brother make payroll and after the arrest for rehab has not been paid back minus a $43,500 tractor and rotary cutter that court papers said were given to the brother after Alex Murdaugh first tried to sell it.
A judge handling the Murdaugh criminal cases last month asked for a report on his mental state before considering whether to set bond.
A date for a hearing has not been set.
TIMELINE OF MURDAUGH FAMILY MURDERS, DEATHS, LAWSUITS AND ARRESTS
Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith
2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies
Smith was found on the side of the road.
Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head
His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay
Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation.
Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen
Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’.
In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up.
He mentioned Smith’s death.
2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies
Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies
Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house
The family gave her family $500.000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault.
Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Satterfield was only 57 when she died.
She left behind a husband and children.
Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend.
2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh
Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019
Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night.
He had been released on bond.
Other kids were on the boat but were unharmed.
One testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’.
That boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed her
June 7 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered
The mom and son were found shot dead at the family home in Hampton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh says he found them at the home.
The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them.
Alex’s son Paul, 22, (left) and wife Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge
Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead
June 10 2021: Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home
Alex Murdaugh’s alibi for the night of his wife and son’s murder was that he was visiting his ailing father in the hospital.
The father died just three days later, following a battle with cancer.
September 3: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds
The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts
September 4: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by.
He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother
September 6: Alex releases a statement confirming his resignation from the firm and announcing he has entered rehab
Says ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders.’
September 14: Police arrest alleged hitman in Alex’s shooting
Police said Alex Murdaugh orchestrated his own shooting in a botched assisted suicide scheme for his surviving son to collect a $10 million life insurance payment.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Smith, from Walterboro, South Carolina, is a former client of Murdaugh, 53, who represented him in minor traffic matters as well as a 2015 lawsuit that Smith filed against a forest management company.
According to police, Murdaugh paid him to shoot him in the head and kill him, making it look like a random, drive-by attack.
His goal was for his surviving son Buster to receive a $10million life insurance payout, according to police.
September 15: Police open criminal investigation into Satterfield’s 2018 death
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced it is investigating the 2018 death of Gloria Satterfield and the subsequent handling of her estate.
Satterfield, 57, had been the Murdaugh housekeeper and nanny for around 25 years when she suffered a fatal brain injury following a mystery fall inside the Murdaugh family home. She died several weeks later on February 26, 2018.
SLED said that hit had opened a criminal investigation inter Satterfield’s death based on a request from the Hampton County Coroner, as well as ‘information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.’
September 16: Alex turns himself into police over insurance fraud scheme
Murdaugh handed himself over to cops in connection to insurance fraud scheme where he arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect $10 million payout.
He faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.