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Cops: Alex Murdaugh Arranged to Be Shot in Suicide Scheme

It's the latest twist in the strange SC Murdaugh case
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2021 2:46 AM CDT
Updated Sep 15, 2021 12:02 PM CDT
Arrest Made in Strange SC Murdaugh Case
This photo provided by the Colleton County sheriff's office shows Curtis Edward Smith. State police say a prominent South Carolina lawyer tried to arrange his own death this month so his son would get $10 million in life insurance.   (Colleton County Sheriffs Office via AP)

(Newser) Update: In a Today show interview, an attorney for Alex Murdaugh indicated that an opioid addiction was a driving force in his client's plot to have a man kill him so his son could collect his life insurance policy. Attorney Dick Harpootlian said that on the day of the Sept. 4 shooting, Murdaugh was in "a massive depression" as he tried to wean himself off the drugs and decided to end his life. "He believed that $10 million policy had a suicide exclusion," Harpootlian said, adding his client "clearly knew what he's done was wrong." He added the money Murdaugh embezzled from his law firm was used to feed his addiction. Our original story follows:

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Police say Alex Murdaugh, the prominent South Carolina lawyer who was shot in the head months after his wife and son were found fatally shot, arranged his own shooting. Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested Tuesday and hit with a slew of charges related to the alleged plot, Fox News reports. Police say Murdaugh, who resigned from his law firm under odd circumstances soon after being shot, conspired with Smith to fatally shoot him so that his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect on his $10 million life insurance policy. Instead, the elder Murdaugh received only a superficial wound.

Murdaugh has not been charged, but additional charges are expected, according to authorities. His law license had already been indefinitely suspended. His former firm accused him of misappropriating funds, allegations the state's law officials were looking into. Police say Murdaugh gave Smith the gun that was used in the shooting, NBC News reports. Meanwhile, the killings of his wife and other son remain unsolved. (Read more South Carolina stories.)

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