In a stunning turn of events, a South Carolina man was charged with assisted suicide and insurance fraud in connection with the shooting of troubled attorney Alex Murdaugh three months after the deaths of his wife and son.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was also charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced on Tuesday.
Police did not say how Smith and Murdaugh know each other, but Murdaugh has already admitted to having a drug problem.
Smith’s arrest and the charges are the most astounding development yet in a saga with more twists than a Lowcountry backroad that already included a double murder, drug addiction, and allegations of embezzlement.
Murdaugh, 53, is the scion of a powerful legal dynasty and was a partner in the firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick, which was founded by his great-grandfather.
In 2019, the clan—which controlled the local prosecutor’s office for decades—was thrust into the headlines when Murdaugh’s son Paul was charged with a drunken boating accident that killed a young woman.
Then in June, Alex Murdaugh discovered Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother Maggie, 52, shot to death near the dog kennels of the family’s sprawling hunting estate.
As the double homicide remained unsolved, Alex Murdaugh’s life appears to have spiraled out of control.
Two weeks ago, he called 911 from a country road to report that he had been shot in the head, reportedly while changing a tire. The circumstances were shrouded in confusion—and then things got even murkier.
Murdaugh suddenly announced that he was entering rehab for drug addiction and resigning from his law firm, saying that he had made “a lot of decisions that I truly regret.”
That intriguing statement
was then followed by the firm’s announcement that Murdaugh was under
investigation for allegedly misappropriating funds—a matter that state
police are also now probing.