The hitman that disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh paid to kill him in a failed suicide-for-hire plot was his primary oxycodone supplier.
His alleged co-conspirator Curtis Eddie Smith, who is facing more serious firearm and assault charges, supplied Murdaugh, 53, with oxycodone throughout his addiction, the disgraced lawyer told police.
At his bond hearing on Thursday Murdaugh’s lawyer described his client’s 20-year opioid addiction while he fell from grace and current ‘ruinous’ financial state following the murder of his wife and son.
In a moment of drama Dick Harpootlian appeared to play to the press, who crowded the courtroom, as he gestured to his gaunt client and said: ‘If anyone wants to see the fact of what opioid addiction does, you’re looking at it.’
Hitman Cirtus Eddie Smith (left), who disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh (right) paid to kill him in a failed suicide-for-hire plot was his primary oxycodone supplier
Alex Murdaugh was granted $20,000 bail to return to rehab immediately after his attorney revealed he is broke and has been addicted to opioids for 20 years
Murdaugh shooting suspect Curtis Edward Smith, 61, is seen at his bond hearing Thursday morning at Hampton County Detention Center where his bail was set at $55,000
In a moment of drama his attorney Dick Harpootlian appeared to play to the press who crowded the courtroom as he gestured to his gaunt client and ‘if anyone wants to see the fact of what opioid addiction does, you’re looking at it’
Harpootlian went onto claim that the June 7 murder of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and younger son, Paul, 22, at the family’s hunting lodge ‘put him over the edge’.
The attorney also pointed to his client’s previous ‘blemishless character ‘and appealed to the judge’s sympathies saying: ‘He has fallen from grace. But before any of this falling happened his wife and son were brutally murdered and that has had an extraordinary effect on him.
‘We ask you to allow him to go and heal himself. His financial situation is ruinous.’
Harpootlian continued: ‘This is a 20-year-addition. Something he’s struggled with for years.’
On September 4 Murdaugh was allegedly shot by his 61-year-old drug supplier while changing a tire. Smith told authorities he was hired by the prominent lawyer to kill him so that his son Buster would received a $10million insurance police.
Murdaugh didn’t think the insurance company would pay any money if he died by suicide.
Shortly after 4pm yesterday Murdaugh shuffled into the courtroom at Hampton County Detention Center and sat beside his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin while wearing prison scrubs and shackles on his hands and feet.
He cast his eyes down and his mouth worked constantly and nervously behind his mask as he sat before the judge for three charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false report.
Murdaugh remained masked throughout the proceedings and the gunshot wound Harpootlian earlier insisted he had sustained was conspicuously absent.
In fact, his appearance seemed to bear out South Carolina Law Enforcement’s categorization of his injury as ‘superficial’ as the only trace of an injury was a small swirl in his hair.
Harpootlian once again claimed that there had been ‘an entry and exist wound’ and ‘maybe’ a fractured skull and minor brain bleed resulted from the roadside shooting that Murdaugh has now admitted to orchestrating on September 4.
Bond was set at $10,000 for the insurance fraud and $5,000 each for conspiracy and filing a false police report totally $20,000 – a fraction of the $55,000 bond set for his hitman, Smith.
Craig Waters for the Attorney General’s office asked for Murdaugh to surrender his passport, which sat before him on the table. Waters also asked him to waive extradition, which he did, as he is attending an out of state rehab center.
He also requested a bond of $100,000 and for Murdaugh to wear a GPS tracker stating: ‘Sometimes those who have everything and then suffer a potential fall from grace are actually more cause for concern than a hardened criminal.’
Smith snarled at photographers as he was escorted to Hampton County jail Thursday. He is accused of shooting Murdaugh and disposing of the gun as part of the plot
But Judge Tanji Alexander was not persuaded by this, granting a much lower bond and declining to insist on Murdaugh wearing an ankle monitor.
When asked how Murdaugh’s surviving son Buster was doing Harpootlian said he was ‘holding up’.
He added that the potential beneficiary of Murdaugh’s $10million life insurance policy was ‘a trooper’.
Murdaugh was filmed being driven to Hampton County jail in a pewter-colored SUV accompanied by a police escort Thursday morning after he agreed to surrender to authorities.
He emerged from the vehicle sporting bright red sneakers, gray trousers and a light-colored shirt.
He was booked at the Hampton County Detention Center ahead of the bond hearing that afternoon.
The legal scion, whose family has ruled the county’s justice system for almost a century, now finds himself on the other side of the criminal justice system after investigators made the shocking allegation Tuesday that he orchestrated his own shooting with alleged accomplice Smith earlier this month.
The claim that Murdaugh paid the hitman to shoot him in the head and kill him so that his surviving son could collect a life insurance payment came after a catastrophic few months where his other son and wife were murdered and he was exposed for allegedly embezzling millions from his law firm to pay for his drug addiction.
The high-powered South Carolina attorney, 53, was filmed being driven to the jail in a pewter-colored SUV accompanied by a police escort. He emerged from the vehicle sporting bright red sneakers, gray trousers and a light-colored shirt
Paul and Maggie (together left) were shot dead on June 7. Now police say that Alex Murdaugh (center) orchestrated a separate shooting to kill himself with the help of a hitman, in a scheme to deliver a $10 million life insurance payout to his other son Buster (right) as the elder Murdaugh faced investigation over misallocated funds
This marks just the latest twist in the Murdaugh family saga, which gained national attention when Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge on June 7.
Three months on, their deaths still remain a mystery with no arrests made and no suspects or persons of interest named.
Questions have swirled that the motive could be tied to one of three mysterious past deaths connected to the Murdaugh family – two of which police have opened investigations into. On Wednesday, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) launched a criminal investigation into the 2018 ‘trip-and-fall’ death of the family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and the subsequent handling of her estate.
Satterfield, 57, had been the Murdaugh housekeeper and nanny for around 25 years when she suffered a fatal brain injury following a mystery fall inside the Murdaugh family home. She died several weeks later on February 26, 2018.
SLED said that hit had opened a criminal investigation inter Satterfield’s death based on a request from the Hampton County Coroner, as well as ‘information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.’
Murdaugh settled a wrongful death claim with the housekeepers family for $500,000 in 2018.
However Satterfield’s family sued Murdaugh, Wednesday claiming he had not paid out ‘one single dime’ of the settlement.
Meanwhile, at the time of his murder, Paul was awaiting trial for the 2019 death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed as a passenger in a boat he crashed while allegedly heavily intoxicated.
Police have also investigated the family for possible ties to the 2015 death of gay teen Stephen Smith, which was ruled a hit-and-run, though no suspects have ever been named or charged.
SLED has also reopened the investigation into Smith’s death in the wake of Paul and Maggie’s murders.
SLED confirmed in a press release Thursday morning Murdaugh had been arrested and charged ‘in connection to the shooting incident on Sept. 4 in which he conspired with Curtis Edward Smith to assist him in committing suicide for the explicit purpose of allowing a beneficiary to collect life insurance.’
SLED Chief Mark Keel said in a statement ‘that SLED agents will continue working to bring justice to anyone involved with any criminal act associated with these ongoing investigations,’ calling the arrests ‘only the first step in that process’.
Family murders, deaths, drug addictions, thefts and arrests: The riddles facing investigators who’ve now charged Alex Murdaugh
Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith
Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies
Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019
2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies
Smith was found on the side of the road.
Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head
His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay
Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation.
Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen
Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’.
In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up.
He mentioned Smith’s death.
2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies
Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house
The family gave her family $500.000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault.
Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Satterfield was only 57 when she died.
She left behind a husband and children.
Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend.
2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh
Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night.
He had been released on bond.
Other kids were on the boat but were unharmed.
One testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’.
That boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed her
June 7 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered
The mom and son were found shot dead at the family home in Hampton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh says he found them at the home.
The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them.
Alex’s son Paul, 22, (left) and wife Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge
Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead
June 10 2021: Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home
September 3: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds
The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts
September 4: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by.
He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother
September 6: Alex releases a statement confirming his resignation from the firm and announcing he has entered rehab
Says ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders.’