Reputed SC Lawyer Alex Murdaugh Set To Surrender After Insurance Fraud Shooting Plot Unraveled

September 16, 2021

By a Biometrica staffer

Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina lawyer, is set to turn himself in to law enforcement today, Sept. 16, according to his lawyers. Murdaugh allegedly arranged for a former client to kill him so that his surviving son could collect an insurance payment of approximately $10 million.

Murdaugh was shot in the head on Sep. 4, but survived. Three months earlier, Murdaugh’s wife and other son had been shot and killed. Murdaugh admitted to authorities on Sept. 12 that he had conspired with the gunman in the suicidal fraud scheme, according to CNN. An arrest warrant has been issued for Murdaugh on charges of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, Jim Griffin, his lawyer said.

Curtis Edward Smith, who was the one who allegedly shot Murdaugh, 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, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Attorneys for Murdaugh said that while their client was not without fault, his “life has been devastated by an opioid addiction.” They added: “For the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids. […] During that time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs. One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex’s life, by shooting him in the head.”

Murdaugh is the scion of a powerful legal dynasty in South Carolina. Three generations before him served as 14th Circuit Prosecutors, CNN reported, leading prosecutions for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties. Alex Murdaugh worked for the the law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED).

On June 7, he called 911 to report that his wife and son were shot dead outside their home in Islandton, a community about an hour away from Hilton Head Island. Nearly three months later, Murdaugh was shot in the head. Soon after, his law firm announced that the man had resigned after it was found that he had “misappropriated funds.” Subsequently the state Supreme Court suspended his license to practice law in South Carolina.

“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” Murdaugh said in a statement. “I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”

According to filed affidavits, Murdaugh provided Smith with the firearm that he was shot with. Smith admitted to being present at the shooting and to disposing of the firearm. He was also charged with distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.

SLED also said that they are opening a criminal investigation into the Feb. 2018 death of Gloria Satterfield and the handling of her estate, as Satterfield had been the Murdaugh family housekeeper for 20 years before she died of what was described then as a “trip and fall accident.”

SLED is opening an investigation based on a request from the Hampton County coroner that highlights inconsistencies in the ruling of Satterfield’s manner of death, CNN reported.

“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,” the coroner’s request to SLED said.

Initially, it was believed that Satterfield’s sons, Michael “Tony” Satterfield and Brian Harriott, would get $475,000 in direct payment to “compensate them for the grief, sorrow and mourning associated with the loss of their mother.”

But nearly two years after a settlement was reached with Lloyd’s of London, the insurers in this instance, the sons of Satterfield had received nothing, NBC News reported.