Alex Murdaugh Trial: How The Disgraced Lawyer’s Suicide-For-Hire Plot Unraveled

Jurors on Thursday learned how disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh’s attempt to hire a man to kill him so his son could collect insurance money fell apart.

On September 4, 2021, Murdaugh told police that he had stopped to fix a flat tire on an isolated rural road when a man approached to help, only to shoot him in the head when he turned his back.

“A real nice guy — acted like it,” Murdaugh told paramedics after the shooting while they were treating him for a gunshot wound, Buzzfeed News reported. “I turned my head and, I mean, boom.”

At first, people in the community believed Murdaugh’s story that he had been targeted, since the shooting happened three months after his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul, had been shot at the family’s estate. But just days after Murdaugh’s roadside shooting, the truth came out.

Murdaugh admitted that he hired a man, Curtis “Eddie” Smith, to kill him so that Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster, could collect an insurance payout.

“I was in a very bad place,” Murdaugh said in a phone interview with investigators and played for jurors. “I thought it would be better for me not to be here anymore. I thought it would make it easier on my family for me to be dead.”

Murdaugh is currently on trial for killing his wife and son, and on Wednesday, Judge Clifton Newman ruled that jurors could hear about Murdaugh’s suicide-for-hire plot, The Daily Wire reported.

Prosecutors had argued that Murdaugh resorted to violence when his world began crashing down around him; arguing that he killed his wife and son to gain sympathy as his legal empire collapsed. They also argued that he tried to have himself killed because his crimes were about to be publicly exposed, as he had just been forced to resign from his law firm for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from clients.

Murdaugh’s own brother, Randy, helped investigators determine Murdaugh had lied about the allegedly random shooting. Randy called detectives two days after his brother’s shooting to say Murdaugh had been making phone calls from his hospital bed to unknown numbers. Authorities traced the numbers and were able to link one to Smith, a distant family member and former law firm client of Murdaugh’s. Murdaugh soon admitted to hiring Smith to kill him.

Investigators also noticed that Murdaugh’s tire, which he said he was changing when he was shot, was actually sliced by a knife. That knife was found in the grass near the car and contained Murdaugh and Smith’s DNA.

Murdaugh admitted to the whole thing in the taped interview played for the jury.

“I knew that I was about to lose everything,” Alex said, “and I figured [Buster] was better off that way than dealing with me.”

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