Murdaugh surrenders to face $ 10 million insurance fraud charges
COLUMBIA, SC – Lawyer Alex Murdaugh surrendered Thursday to face insurance fraud and other charges after state police said he arranged to be shot in the head so that his son would receive a life insurance payment of $ 10 million. The shooter only grazed it.
The charges against Murdaugh, 53, include insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report. He arrived at the Hampton County Jail about five hours before his bail hearing. No one has been charged with the murder of his wife, Maggie, and son Paul in June.
Murdaugh’s surrender culminates in a tumultuous 36 hours for a man whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were all elected prosecutors in the area. A giant law firm in town was founded by his family over a century ago.
His former client was arrested Tuesday night on an assisted suicide charge, then state police opened a sixth investigation into him and his family – this time involving a housekeeper and nanny who died at his home in 2018.
Murdaugh told his lawyers on Monday he staged his own shooting, and then they spoke to police.
“He didn’t want law enforcement spending more time on this bogus crime instead of focusing on solving the Maggie and Paul murders,” lawyer Dick Harpootlian told the “Today” show. Wednesday.
Murdaugh asked Curtis Edward Smith to shoot him in the head on September 4 so his surviving son could get a $ 10 million life insurance policy, authorities said.
Murdaugh bought drugs from the former client, lawyer Dick Harpootlian said.
Murdaugh’s attorneys said he had spent the past 10 or so days in rehab after his law firm fired him for missing money that could total millions of dollars.
It all started on June 7, when Murdaugh found the bodies of his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, shot multiple times after returning to their Colleton County home after visiting to his sick father, who was about to die. cancer days later.
These murders remain unsolved, and Murdaugh’s attorneys have said he is adamant it had nothing to do with their deaths.
On September 3, Murdaugh was fired by his family-founded PMPED law firm after the firm determined he had taken money.
Murdaugh’s attorneys said he decided to kill himself the next day, but someone else shot him. Murdaugh gave Curtis Edward Smith a gun and they headed for the lonely Old Salkehatchie Road. Smith fired a shot that only grazed Murdaugh’s head, an agent with the state’s Law Enforcement Division said in an affidavit.
Murdaugh was able to call 911 and his initial story was that someone in a passing van shot him while he was checking a low pressure tire.
Smith, 61, remained in jail Thursday for assisted suicide, highly aggravated assault and battery, pointing and presenting a gun, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. He did not have a lawyer and did not speak about the charges at a hearing where his bail was set at $ 55,000.
Along with the Maggie and Paul Murdaugh murders and the shooting of Alex Murdaugh, the state’s Law Enforcement Division is also investigating the missing money, if anyone has attempted to obstruct an investigation. on a 2019 boating accident for which Paul Murdaugh was ultimately charged and a July 2015 hit and run death in Hampton County.
The agency also announced Wednesday that it is now investigating the death of Gloria Satterfield at the request of Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper, who said her death certificate lists describe natural causes, which is incompatible with accidental tripping death. She said her office did not perform an autopsy because he had not been informed.
Satterfield’s two sons filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying they hadn’t seen any of the $ 500,000 wrongful death settlement Murdaugh had asked friends to fix.
Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.