Man charged with shooting of prominent South Carolina attorney in apparent insurance fraud scheme

The insurance fraud scheme is latest twist in the long-winding saga of mysterious tragedy of prominent South Carolina legal dynasty

Updated: September 15, 2021 - 9:56am

A South Carolina man was charged Tuesday with shooting attorney Alex Murdaugh as part of an assisted-suicide, insurance fraud plot to ensure that Murdaugh's son would secure a $10 million payout.

The troubling incident occurred just three months after Murdaugh's wife and other son were found shot to death on the family's property. Prior to his death, Paul Murdaugh was facing charges for allegedly killing a 19-year-old South Carolina girl in a drunken boating accident in 2019. It is unclear if the two incidents are related.

On Sept. 4, Murdaugh, 53, survived the botched shooting, carried out by Curtis Edward Smith, 61. An affidavit describing the incident read, "Mr. Murdaugh supplied Mr. Smith with a firearm and directed Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head."

Murdaugh confessed Monday to the plot, after which Smith confessed to being the shooter and getting rid of the gun.

Smith was additionally charged with the distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. He had reportedly supplied Murdaugh with drugs – the two men had a relationship spanning at least 10 years. According to court records, Murdaugh represented Smith in a personal injury lawsuit a decade ago.

After the shooting, Murdaugh resigned from the law firm that his great-grandfather founded, at which he was a partner, and said he was entering rehab for drug addiction. In the wake of his wife and son's murders, he said he had made "a lot of decisions that I truly regret."

That announcement was quickly followed by a statement from the law firm that Murdaugh was under investigation for allegedly misappropriating funds. Police are currently probing the issue.

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