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Alex Murdaugh '1000%' was never shot in botched suicide plot, 'set up' alleged hit man, lawyer claims

Lawyers say Murdaugh housekeeper’s heirs never received money after reportedly falling, dying in family home

Estate attorneys for the Murdaugh Family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterifield, Eric Bland and Ronny Richter discuss the investigation into her death and its aftermath on ‘The Story’Estate attorneys for the Murdaugh Family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterifield, Eric Bland and Ronny Richter discuss the investigation into her death and its aftermath on ‘The Story’

The South Carolina attorney representing Alex Murdaugh’s alleged hit man said Thursday that his client is being “set up” by the drug addicted, disgraced lawyer, insisting Murdaugh “didn’t get shot” during an alleged botched suicide plot Labor Day weekend. 

Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith “is being set up by a drug addict going through horrific withdrawals,” Smith’s lawyer, Jonny McCoy, told NBC’s “TODAY,” referring 53-year-old Alex Murdaugh, whose own defense lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, told a judge had struggled with 20 years of opioid addiction. 

“I think that he [Murdaugh] is doing exactly what people with addict behavior do, and that is he tried to turn himself into a victim and he tried to turn himself into a hero because the attention was on the car on the side of the road,” McCoy said. “All the people there were figuring it out. These are run flat tires. This isn’t what it looks like. Nine days into his detox – from his detox bed – he’s the first person I’ve ever met who calls someone from a detox bed and gets somebody arrested like that.” 

Murdaugh, 53, initially claimed he had gotten a flat tire on rural Hampton County road on Sept. 4 while on the way to the beach for Labor Day weekend and someone shot at him from a moving vehicle. His lawyers claim he was airlifted to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia. The incident happened a day after the law firm PMPED had asked for Murdaugh’s resignation, alleging he misappropriated client funds. 

It wasn’t until 10 days later that Smith, 61, was arrested and charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection to the alleged shooting. 

Murdaugh allegedly told South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) he provided Smith with a gun and hired him to kill him so his surviving son, 26-year-old Buster Murdaugh, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. But Smith allegedly missed, only grazing him in the head. 

“His attorney at the bond hearing said ‘my client is looking forward to cooperating in the murder investigation of his wife and child when his mental and physical stability is returned,’” McCoy said. “Yet a week earlier, he was mentally stable enough to lock my client up based on his words and that’s it.” 

Smith, a handyman and former logger, has insisted that he had no prior knowledge of any insurance scheme when Murdaugh called him on Sept. 4 and asked him to bring over his work truck. Smith said he met a distressed Murdaugh on the side of the road, who asked Smith to shoot him. 

“An exchange took place where Alex Murdaugh is withdrawing, he’s going through it, as you can imagine for someone who was just cut off from their money supply that they were using for 20 years to buy opioids,” McCoy said. 

Smith declined, and when Murduagh motioned to shoot himself, Smith tried to grab the firearm from him. The gun went off, and the bullet appeared to have bounce off the side of the truck, Smith told NBC News. Murdaugh fell to the ground, and Smith asked if Murduagh was OK and fled the scene.

Curtis Eddie Smith (left) is accused of shooting Alex Murdaugh (right) in an alleged botched suicide plot. 
(Colleton County Sheriffs Office / Hampton County Detention Center)

“What percent are you sure he didn’t get shot?” McCoy asked Smith in the on-camera interview.   

Smith responds, “a thousand.” 

“He didn’t get shot,” McCoy affirms. 

Jim Griffin, another attorney representing Alex Murdaugh, told FOX Carolina in an interview aired Wednesday that medical records from the air evacuation show Murdaugh had a “heavy head bleed” but his firm still hadn’t obtained the hospital records. Griffin also said that Smith “was unaware of why Alex had called him out there, and then Alex made the request, and then he obliged.” 

“Mr. Murdaugh’s attorney yesterday came out and said ‘Mr. Smith did not know about the insurance scheme beforehand. He just showed up and obliged to shoot him,’” McCoy told TODAY. “So apparently the conspiracy to commit insurance fraud should be dismissed today I’m assuming.”

Murdaugh appeared in a Hampton County courtroom with no bandages or visible injuries to his head. On Sept. 16, Hampton County Magistrate Judge Tonja Alexander set bond for the alleged hitman, Smith, at $55,000. Murdaugh’s bond was set at $20,000, and he was released on his own recognizance, allowed to return to an out-of-state rehabilitation facility without GPS monitoring.

His wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh, were shot dead outside dog kennels at Moselle, the family’s hunting estate in Colleton County, on June 7. Alex Murdaugh dialed 911 to report finding their bodies and still no arrests have been made in the unsolved murders. 

Since their deaths, SLED has opened investigations into the 2018 trip and fall death of the family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, as well as the mysterious 2015 roadside death of Buster Murdaugh’s former classmate, Stephen Smith. At the time of his killing, Paul Murdaugh was facing boating under the influence charges in connection to the 2019 Beaufort County crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach and injured several other passengers, including Connor Cook, who is alleging the Murdaughs tried to silence him. 

McCoy insisted that Smith, also Alex Murdaugh’s former legal client and distant cousin, had never sold him drugs and had only been in contact with him on a regular basis for the past six years.  

“You’re perpetuating the lie that Alex Murdaugh put out. And that’s exactly what he’s used to. He’s used to people listening to his word, and he’s used to people taking that and running with it. And that’s exactly what happened in this case,” McCoy told TODAY. “Bring in the addiction experts and ask how far can an opioid addiction go if somebody doesn’t have any consequences and they have unlimited money. How much would it cost them per day? Then you’ll find out where the money went.”

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