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Thread: The Murdaugh murders (South Carolina)

  1. #16
    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Alex Murdaugh accused of arranging own shooting in $10M life insurance scheme

    A 61-year-old South Carolina man has been charged with assisted suicide and fraud in the Sept. 4 shooting of lawyer Alex Murdaugh, which Murdaugh survived.

    Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.
    Sept. 14, 2021, 11:21 PM EDT / Updated Sept. 15, 2021, 6:13 AM EDT

    South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh arranged for another man to kill him earlier this month so that his son could collect on a $10 million life insurance policy, authorities said Tuesday.
    Murdaugh, 53, survived the Sept. 4 shooting, which happened months after the unsolved slayings of his wife and adult son. Police say that Murdaugh told 911 that he was shot in the head while changing a flat tire and that the shooting caused only a "superficial" wound.




    On Tuesday, Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on assisted suicide and fraud counts in connection to the roadside incident, according to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
    Documents released by the agency say that Murdaugh admitted that he asked Smith to kill him so that a beneficiary could collect on his life insurance policy.
    Murdaugh, who is part of a prominent South Carolina legal family, has not been charged with any crime.
    His attorney, Richard Harpootlian, declined to comment late Tuesday.
    The roadside shooting happened almost three months after Murdaugh's wife and adult son were found shot to death on the family's hunting property in rural Islandton on June 7.
    Days after the Sept. 4 shooting, Murdaugh said in a statement that he resigned from his job at a law firm to enter rehab. He said he "made a lot of decisions that I truly regret" and that the murders of his wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult period.
    The law firm said that Murdaugh resigned only after the partners discovered he had allegedly misappropriated funds. On Monday, South Carolina law officials announced that it was looking into accusations that Murdaugh “misappropriated” money from the firm.
    Murdaugh's law license was indefinitely suspended.




    Smith has been 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, SLED said.
    It said that Smith, of Walterboro, was also arrested on charges of distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana.
    Smith was being held in jail Tuesday night, officials said. It was not immediately clear if he had an attorney.
    The agency said additional charges were expected in the case.
    Murdaugh allegedly gave Smith a gun and directed Smith to kill him, according to the documents released by investigators Tuesday.
    Murdaugh allegedly admitted to the law enforcement agency that the plan was for Smith to kill him, so that Murdaugh's surviving son could collect a life insurance policy worth approximately $10 million, according to the documents.
    Earlier this summer, Murdaugh's wife, Margaret, and adult son, Paul, were found dead near dog kennels on the family's hunting property in Colleton County, west of Charleston. Their deaths have been classified as by state investigators as a double homicide.
    Alex Murdaugh, a personal injury attorney, called 911 at 10:07 p.m. June 7 and told a dispatcher that his wife and son were on the ground and not breathing, according to records released by authorities.
    He said he had just returned and asked the dispatcher to "please hurry."
    Murdaugh's father, a grandfather and a great-grandfather all held the top prosecutor's position in South Carolina's 14th Circuit, which covers a coastal region of the state known as the Lowcountry, totaling more than 80 years.


    https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news...daugh-n1279208



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  2. #17
    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    There is only one part that is hard to believe ....


    "Murdaugh has not been charged with any crime."
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    l know it’s not spelt as such but pronouncing the surname in my head. lt sounds like Murder.
    twitchy2.0 and Beeyotch like this.

  4. #19
    Elite Member OrangeSlice's Avatar
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    Let Me Say This With As Much Sensitivity As I Can: Wow, That’s a Lot of Dead People and Crime



    By Ben Mathis-Lilley
    Sept 16, 202112:33 PM

    Keep out? Sure, no problem. Michael M. DeWitt, Jr./Augusta Chronicle/USA Today Network
    On Wednesday, the New York Times and Today show covered the subject of Alex Murdaugh, a 53-year-old South Carolina lawyer at the center of an astounding web of criminal activity and suspected criminal activity, much of it fatal. The most recent development in the story is that police say Murdaugh admitted to asking a former legal client to kill him so that his son Buster Murdaugh could receive a $10 million life insurance payout. (Update: There have been even more recent developments since I began writing this post. They’re at the end.) The former legal client apparently did follow through with the attempt, but Murdaugh somehow only suffered a glancing wound. To really understand what’s happening, though, you have to go back somewhere between six and 111 years. Let’s unpack this.
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    A hundred and eleven years?
    Yes. In 1910—so long ago that true crime podcasts had not yet been invented—Alex Murdaugh’s great-grandfather became “solicitor,” or prosecutor, for South Carolina’s 14th Judicial Circuit, which covers five counties in the state’s southeastern corner. That’s the so-called low country that includes well-known leisure destinations like Hilton Head. Alex Murdaugh’s grandfather and father also served as solicitor, making for an 86-year stretch, ending in 2006, in which the family ran the office. Alex Murdaugh’s great-grandfather also founded a still-extant private law firm in which Alex Murdaugh was until recently a partner. The firm specializes in personal and vehicular injury cases. Alex Murdaugh had also worked part time at the prosecutor’s office his father once led.
    So they were prosecutors, but also personal injury lawyers?
    Yes!
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    Wouldn’t that present potential conflicts of interest and generally create a situation in which everyone in a five-county radius was either indebted to, allied with, or subject to prosecution by one family?
    That’s right. In fact, that’s where the 2015 part of the story starts. On July 8, 2015, the body of a 19-year-old named Stephen Smith was found with a fatal head wound on a road in Hampton County, South Carolina, which is part of the jurisdiction that had been run by the Murdaughs until 2006 and is where their law firm is based. Smith was gay, and his mother has said she suspects her son was, according to a local 2015 news article, killed in a hate crime “by several local Hampton County youths from prestigious families.” State highway police files include research into rumors that Alex Murdaugh’s son Buster was part of a group that may have killed Smith, and the files suggest investigators were worried that the Murdaughs’ prominence in the area was making individuals who may have had relevant information reluctant to talk. But they were unable to find solid evidence that Smith was killed in an attack committed by now–25-year-old Buster Murdaugh or anyone else, and no arrests have been made in the case … yet. (More to come!)
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    That’s not really a “fun” kind of lurid local crime.
    No, and neither is the next high-profile incident the Murdaughs were allegedly involved with. On Feb. 24, 2019, Alex Murdaugh’s other son, Paul—19 at the time—allegedly drove the family’s 17-foot boat into a bridge piling at high speed while drunk at 2 a.m., killing a young woman named Mallory Beach who was thrown from the craft. Paul Murdaugh was charged two months later with operating the boat while intoxicated, but a lawsuit filed by another man who’d been on board, Connor Cook, alleges that investigators (some with social and professional ties to the Murdaugh family) initially ignored evidence that Murdaugh had been driving in order to focus on Cook’s potential culpability. Paul Murdaugh’s father—Alex—and grandfather were present at the hospital where the crash survivors were treated, and Cook’s suit includes testimony from staffers there who say that Alex made efforts to enter other survivors’ rooms and speak with their family members. The suit also includes a truly impressive number of statements about how drunk, obnoxious, and belligerent Paul Murdaugh was even after arriving at the hospital. Alex Murdaugh, multiple outlets have reported, is being investigated by a grand jury for potential obstruction of justice charges related to his activities after the accident.
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    What happened to the charges against Paul Murdaugh?
    Before he could be tried, Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Maggie—Alex Murdaugh’s wife—were found dead at one of the family’s properties.
    ???
    Yes. A local investigative outfit called FITSNews has reported that authorities believe Paul was killed with a shotgun and that his mother was killed with a semi-automatic rifle. When police arrived, they found the bodies near dog kennels a quarter-mile from a Murdaugh “hunting lodge.” The person who called 911 to report the deaths was Alex Murdaugh.
    !!!
    Indeed. This happened on June 7 of this year. Alex Murdaugh hasn’t been charged in the crime and has reportedly provided police with an alibi about his whereabouts at the time that his wife and son are believed to have been killed. Obviously, questions remain nonetheless. And a lot more has happened since then. A lot!
    Yes—there’s the matter of the hit man and the life insurance?
    That started on Saturday, Sept. 4, when Alex Murdaugh called 911 again, this time reporting that he’d been shot in the head, allegedly while changing a tire on the side of a road.
    A person involved in all of the things above just happened to get shot in the head … and then was able to call 911 … despite having been shot in the head.
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    That’s right.
    Suspicious!
    That’s what literally everyone else in the world thought, especially given that state police described Murdaugh’s head wound as “superficial” and that, two days later, his law firm—the one his great-grandfather founded—announced that he’d resigned the day before the shooting (on Friday, Sept. 3) after being confronted with evidence that he’d embezzled an amount of money that the Times reported as allegedly being “in the millions.” (FITSNews says it “could eclipse eight figures,” i.e., more than $10 million.)
    OK.
    On the same day that his firm disclosed the alleged embezzlement—Monday, Sept. 6, two days after the purported side-of-the-road murder attempt—Alex Murdaugh was discharged from the hospital (classic two-day head-shooting recovery) and said in a statement that he was going to rehab for what his attorney described as an oxycodone addiction.
    So what actually happened?
    What police said Tuesday was referenced above. They say that Alex Murdaugh told them this week that he asked a former client, 61-year-old Curtis Smith (no relation to Stephen Smith) to shoot him so Buster would be given an insurance payout. Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys say Smith sold oxycodone to Murdaugh and that Murdaugh was under the mistaken belief Buster would not receive the payout if his father died by suicide. The latter claim was made by Murdaugh attorney Dick Harpootlian—also a major South Carolina Democratic Party figure who has been covered in Slate a bunch of times for that reason—on Today. Harpootlian says that so-called suicide exclusions typically only apply to life insurance policies that were taken out less than two years before the death in question, but wouldn’t have applied to Alex Murdaugh’s policy. (Another Murdaugh lawyer says Murdaugh will turn himself in on Thursday to face charges related to the murder-for-hire plot.)
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    Alex Murdaugh, a lawyer whose firm specialized in the kind of injury and accident litigation that probably involved insurance claims in 99.999 percent of cases, didn’t understand his own life insurance policy?
    That’s what Dick Harpootlian says.
    Yeah?
    We’re now entering the realm of pure speculation, but your author—speaking, to be clear, mainly as a consumer of noir entertainment and the Dateline television program, but also as a journalism professional with experience following stories about malfeasance involving people who are not completely forthcoming—is not convinced that Alex Murdaugh ever really meant for Curtis Smith to kill him, rather than (say) for Smith to wound him in a way that would create sympathy, buy time, and give the impression that someone who was not Alex Murdaugh was trying to kill members of the Murdaugh family. His current “admission” could be an effort to seem cooperative and head off other investigations into his activities.
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    Going back, why would Alex Murdaugh have killed his wife and son, though?
    No one in a position to know has publicly speculated about that. But, perhaps relatedly or perhaps not, there are, somehow, still more ongoing developments in the low country that may implicate Alex Murdaugh in yet more crimes. For one, in late June, South Carolina’s state police agency announced that it had begun actively investigating the 2015 death of Stephen Smith “based upon information gathered during the course of the double murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.” (Recall that the investigating body that had previously suspected that a crime was committed but been unable to prove it was the state Highway Patrol.) Then, on Wednesday—Wednesday of this week!—the same state police agency said it is also investigating the 2018 death of a Murdaugh housekeeper named Gloria Satterfield.
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    Another one—no way, it’s not possible.
    Yes. It may also involve fraud: According a report in FITSNews, a 2018 wrongful death suit that was filed on behalf of Gloria Satterfield’s sons stated she died in a “slip and fall” accident at a Murdaugh home. That suit was settled for $500,000, which was reportedly paid by one of Alex’s Murdaugh’s insurers. But attorneys representing Satterfield’s sons now say that 1) they never got any money and 2) the lawyer who ostensibly filed the 2018 case on their behalf was introduced to them by Alex Murdaugh. The Times also spoke to Hampton County’s coroner, who says Gloria Satterfield’s death was never reported to her office and that her death certificate says her death was “natural.”
    Well!
    That’s correct. And:
    So far, SC's Murdaugh story has grisly murders, untimely deaths, falls from grace, stolen millions, drugs, an inept hit man, "cunning corridors" of power, lawsuits, investigations.... but dear readers, there's more to come .... much, much more
    — John Monk (@jmonkatthestate) September 15, 2021
    That’s a crime reporter at the State newspaper, which is based in Columbia, South Carolina. [Update, Sept. 16, 2021, at 1:58 p.m.: FITSNews reported earlier this morning that Alex Murdaugh has now been taken into custody.]
    One more thing: The other son’s name is “Buster”? As if this is all en extremely dark real-life version of the comedy series Arrested Development, which is about a criminal patriarch who’s involved in various forms of fraud, including embezzlement from the family firm, and who has an adult son named Buster that needs to be provided for because he’s unable to do so on his own?
    It’s one oxycodone addiction and tightening circle of criminal investigations, Michael—how much could it cost, $10 million?


    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2021/09/alex-murdaugh-investigations-explained-south-carolina-murder-fraud-obstruction-of-justice-maybe-more.html




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  5. #20
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    So, for anyone who didn't have the patience to wade through the small text in that last blockbuster article posted by OrangeSlice, there were TWO other suspicious deaths surrounding this family:


    • July 2015 murder of 19-year-old Stephen Smith (head wound). Smith's mom had suspected it was a hate crime (Stephen was gay) committed by kids from prominent families in the area. Case is still unsolved.
    • 2018 - slip and fall death of maid, Gloria Satterfield, resulting in a wrongful death suit. Settled for $500K. But never paid, and the lawyer for Satterfield's sons was introduced to them by Alex Murdaugh.


    Police are now reinvestigating the above cases based on recent Murdaugh hijinks.

  6. #21
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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  7. #22
    Super Moderator twitchy2.0's Avatar
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    Next up, I'm going to try this one: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...e/id1573470939

    Hopefully this has less of "I'm a brilliant journalist, unlike those other people" and less "my fiance and I" and less begging for five-star reviews and less whining about mean comments about vocal fry and less vocal fry.

    edit: Tried a couple of episodes and am taking a pass on the second podcast. Going to have to wait until some more listenable podcast covers this.
    Last edited by twitchy2.0; September 18th, 2021 at 05:00 PM.
    MohandasKGanja likes this.
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  8. #23
    Elite Member Novice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by twitchy2.0 View Post
    Next up, I'm going to try this one: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcas...e/id1573470939

    Hopefully this has less of "I'm a brilliant journalist, unlike those other people" and less "my fiance and I" and less begging for five-star reviews and less whining about mean comments about vocal fry and less vocal fry.

    edit: Tried a couple of episodes and am taking a pass on the second podcast. Going to have to wait until some more listenable podcast covers this.
    You forgot about plugging "fits news" which I bet her (& her fiancé natch) are major, MAJA shareholders in!
    twitchy2.0 likes this.
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  9. #24
    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Well, this development is pretty unfathomable to me. Especially because two different guns were used - and its his own wife and son:

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/alex-m...urder?ref=home

    After months of speculation, Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers have finally admitted the South Carolina attorney—who’s already accused of orchestrating his own murder—is a person of interest in his wife and son’s double homicide.
    Jim Griffin, one of the scion’s attorneys, confirmed that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) began investigating Murdaugh “from the get-go” in the June 7 murders of his 52-year-old wife, Margaret, and his 22-year-old son, Paul. Authorities say that Murdaugh called 911 around 10:07 p.m. after finding his family brutally shot near the dog kennels outside their 1,770-acre estate in Colleton County.
    In the seven-minute call, Murdaugh tells a dispatcher, “I’ve been up to it now—it’s bad,” while dogs bark in the background.
    Despite being named a person of interest, Murdaugh’s lawyer insisted to Fox Carolina on Wednesday that his client was visiting with his mother, who has dementia, at the time of the murders and “had no motive to kill them.”


    “You would think that if Alex was the one who did it, that SLED would have been able to establish that pretty easily that night,” Griffin said. “You would think they would have searched his house and found blood somewhere. You would think they would have found the murder weapons on the property. You would think they would come up with something to link Alex to the murders, forensically or independent evidence. To my knowledge, they have not done that.”
    fgg likes this.

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