A recently unveiled deposition suggests that the late Paul Murdaugh (pictured) may have been involved in the 2015 death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith
A deposition from someone on board a boat driven by legal dynasty scion Paul Murdaugh when it crashed in 2019 suggests the prominent family have may been involved in the 2015 death of a South Carolina teen.
Connor Cook, who was a passenger during the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, recorded a deposition in January 2020 that was unveiled in court last week.
According to the court document, Cook admitted to lying about events that took place the night of the crash because he feared the family would seek retaliation, citing unsubstantiated rumors that the Murdaughs had gotten away with crimes in the past.
‘Anything they get in, they get out of. I’ve always been told that,’ Cook said in the deposition.
‘One was said that Paul [Murdaugh] had pushed his housemate down the stairs, and she died, and nothing ever happened. And another one, there was something that Paul was supposedly involved with a guy, got found beat up in the middle of the road, that they got out of.’
Cook’s latter comment is believed to suggest that the family dynasty was involved in the July 2015 death 19-year-old Stephen Smith, Fox News reported.
Stephen Smith, 19, (pictured with his mother Sandy) was found dead in the middle of a country road 15 miles from the Murdaugh family’s Islandton hunting lodge on July 8, 2015. The coroner’s report said he suffered severe head trauma
The teen’s death was ruled a hit-and-run accident even though responding state troopers said they found ‘no evidence to suggest the victim was struck by a vehicle’
Smith was found dead on a rural South Carolina road near a Murdaugh property after having suffered severe head trauma.
The teen’s death was ruled a hit-and-run accident even though responding state troopers said they found ‘no evidence to suggest the victim was struck by a vehicle’.
Earlier this summer, police announced that they had reopened their investigation into Smith’s death, after new information was gathered during the investigation into the June 2021 double murder of Paul and his mother, Maggie Mudaugh.
Case notes obtained by WCBD revealed that at the time of the alleged hit-skip, investigators received anonymous tips suggesting Paul and his older brother, Buster Murdaugh, as persons of interest.
‘We didn’t know who did it but we just heard that Buster did it,’ one tipster told investigators.
‘Everybody knows who Buster is and like his family and all that so it’s kind of shocking.’
Records also note that a tipster raised the question of whether, ‘Stephen and Buster Murdaugh ever had any type of relationship.’
However, when investigators followed up with the person who had called in, he said he was just repeating ‘rumors.’
Earlier this summer, police announced that they had reopened their investigation into Stephen Smith’s death (Pictured: Footage from the scene where Smith’s body was found)
In another curious inclusion, an officer noted a tip called in by a man claiming that his stepson had named a local guy as the one who ‘struck and killed Stephen Smith.’
The tipster then failed to return any calls and when finally reached, ‘stated that the reason that he was passing this information on was because Randy Murdaugh told him to call.’
Randy is Paul and Buster’s uncle, patriarch Alex Murdaugh’s brother.
Cook’s testimony, which echoes accusations made by community members alleging the family’s involvement in accident, was included as part of a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Beach’s family.
New information surrounding the Smith case was revealed during Connor Cook’s deposition about a 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach (pictured)
Beach, 19, was killed when the Sea Hunt boat crashed into a Beaufort County bridge in February 2019. Several other passengers, including Cook, were injured during the accident. Beach’s body was found about a week after the crash.
In the deposition recorded on Jan. 13, 2020, Cook claimed that while he was at the hospital the night of the crash, Paul’s father, Alex Murdaugh confronted him and instructed him not to tell investigators who was driving the boat.
According to the deposition, when asked why he was ‘not upfront with officers,’ Cook replied:
‘Well, I was told for one by Alex Murdaugh that I didn’t need to tell anyone who was driving.’
He continued, alleging that Alex told him: ‘That everything was going to be all right. I just needed to keep my mouth shut and tell them I didn’t know who was driving, and that he’s got me.’