The man allegedly hired by disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh in a bizarre scheme to leave his son with $10 million in insurance cash is a suspected drug dealer.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was charged Tuesday after confessing to the arranged shooting of Murdaugh, 53, whose wife was gunned down in June alongside one of their other sons, 22-year-old Paul.
Smith was a former client of Murdaugh, a once-powerful lawyer who represented him in a speeding case in 2013 as well as a personal injury lawsuit the previous year, according to the Post and Courier.
Along with a slew of charges including assisted suicide and insurance fraud, Smith was on Tuesday also charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
It was not immediately clear if those charges were connected to Murdaugh, who announced last week that he had checked into rehab after becoming addicted to drugs.
Sources close to the Murdaugh family told FITSNews — a local outlet that has broken most of the news in the case — that Smith was Alex’s “personal drug dealer.”
Murdaugh — whose family is one of the most prominent and powerful in the Palmetto State — has not been charged over the alleged scheme to get cash for his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh.
However, he was repeatedly referred to as a co-conspirator in legal docs filed this week, and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) stressed, “Additional charges in the case are expected.”
Murdaugh had himself called 911 after being shot in the head on Sept. 4 as his family’s powerful law firm was investigating him over millions of dollars that had been misappropriated, it later emerged.
Murdaugh “provided Mr. Smith with a firearm and directed Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head for the purpose of causing Mr. Murdaugh’s death,” SLED senior special agent Jeff Croft wrote in an affidavit.
Smith then followed Murdaugh to a quiet area “and shot Mr. Murdaugh as he stood in the roadway,” one of the probable cause affidavits noted.
“After shooting Mr. Murdaugh in the head, Mr. Smith drove to an unknown location where he disposed of the firearm,” the affidavit said, noting that “Murdaugh survived the shooting.”
On Monday, “Murdaugh provided a statement to SLED admitting to the scheme of having Mr. Smith murder him for the purpose of his son collecting a life insurance policy valued at approximately ten million dollars,” Croft wrote in the affidavit.
The next day, Smith “admitted to being present during the shooting of Mr. Murdaugh and to disposing of the firearm afterward,” the agent wrote.
Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He remained in custody at the Colleton County jail, SLED said.
His arrest came a day after SLED opened a criminal investigation into Murdaugh in connection with money missing from PMPED Law Firm, the practice his great-grandfather founded.
The agency is also still investigating the June 7 double slaying of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and their 22-year-old son Paul, who the now-disgraced and suspended lawyer found shot dead near their hunting lodge near Islandton.
Paul Murdaugh had been due to face trial over the 2019 boating-crash death of a 19-year-old girl, Mallory Beach, and the family has also been tied to two other deaths.
Murdaugh’s lawyer, Jim Griffin, didn’t respond to messages, The Associated Press said.