A lawyer from South Carolina, whose wife and son were killed in June, turned himself in to Hampton County Law Enforcement Center on Thursday after allegedly arranging to stage his suicide so his surviving son could collect his life insurance payout.
According to a statement from South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Alex Murdaugh faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report.
Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer whose wife and son were shot and killed in June, asked a former client to… https://t.co/fBR5jaNgTY— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1631684703.0
On September 4, Murdaugh, 53, survived a "superficial gunshot wound to the head" on a roadside, and a family member claimed the shooter was an unidentified man in a blue truck.
It turned out the gunman was a former client of Murdaugh.
The man was identified as Curtis Edward Smith, 61, and according to an affidavit to support charges against him, Smith was given the firearm by Murdaugh—with whom he conspired to kill him as part of a life insurance scheme that would have allowed the lawyer's only living son to receive a $10 million payout.
On Thursday, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel issued a statement reading:
"I can assure you that SLED agents will continue working to bring justice to anyone involved with any criminal act associated with these ongoing investigations."
"The arrests in this case are only the first step in that process."
You can watch a news report here.
Murdaugh's late son, Paul, was previously in the news when in 2019 he was involved in a fatal boat crash leading to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
According to court records obtained by CNN, Paul—then 19–pleaded not guilty to charges of boating under the influence causing death.
On June 7 of this year, Murdagh called 911 after discovering his wife, Margaret, and Paul were fatally shot outside their home in Islandton.
Murdaugh decided to end his life after their deaths but believed his life insurance policy had a suicide exclusion, according to one of his attorneys, Dick Harpootlian.
Harpootlian told NBC's Today Show, Murdaugh's September 4 plot "was an attempt on his part to do something to protect" his remaining eldest son.
Twitter users struggled to wrap their head around this case.
@nytimes The first time I read about this failed roadside shooting, I knew something was seriously hinky-dinky. #CriminalStupidity— W. W. Webb (@W. W. Webb) 1631690724.0
@nytimes Wow, what a mess. Can you imagine for one moment living that guys life. How does one make so many terrible… https://t.co/SbR3kELwGU— Chris Hawks (@Chris Hawks) 1631743708.0
@AC360 Whenever there’s a mystery death that’s tied to a large life insurance payout chances are the suspect is rig… https://t.co/aybdA6R7aq— CK14 (@CK14) 1631754396.0
Harpootlian added Murdaugh will be returning to an out-of-state rehabilitation center where he is being treated for an opioid addiction his attorneys believe contributed to his misappropriation allegations and the staged suicide.
"He has fallen from grace," his attorney said of Murdaugh's grief over the loss of Margaret and Paul.
"But before any of that falling happened, his wife and son were brutally murdered, and that has had an extraordinary effect on him. So we'd ask you to allow him to go and help heal himself."
@MarkSZaidEsq I’m hoping they are looking into the death of his wife and son since he’s the one that found them. 😳— Keep Resisting! (@Keep Resisting!) 1631692903.0
@MarkSZaidEsq Who murdered the wife and son? Also, it's a crime to point and present a firearm in SC? That's surpri… https://t.co/Yz3aEDZR8X— Deb 🐾 fully vaxxed 💉 (@Deb 🐾 fully vaxxed 💉) 1631703533.0
@nytimes Well... well... one must wonder if this is what happened to his wife and son. More to come!! WOW!!!— Nature Walk (@Nature Walk) 1631685477.0
This story continues to become stranger and stranger. No doubt it will soon be a tv movie of the week. https://t.co/C4R2c9tjoj— Mark S. Zaid (@Mark S. Zaid) 1631692015.0
Satterfield's two remaining sons said they never received any settlement money in a wrongful death suit.
A coroner also came forward and said the victim never had an autopsy for her death, and that there was an inconsistency found on her death certificate.
@nytimes This story just gets crazier and crazier @Cali_Girl090 @gratefullife20 @KateCasey— My Feet on Fleek (@My Feet on Fleek) 1631721040.0
The coroner's request to SLED said:
"The decedent's death was not reported to the Coroner at the time, nor was an autopsy performed."
"On the death certificate, the manner of death was ruled 'Natural,' which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident."