SC lawyer hired hitman to cash in on $10 million life insurance policy for family

Life insurance policy - handing over money

South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh arranged for someone to kill him earlier this month.

South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh hired a hitman to kill him and make it possible for his child to collect on a $10 million life insurance policy, according to authorities.

The scam was an “attempt on his part to do something to protect his child,” said his attorney, Richard Harpootlian.

Fifty-three-year-old Murdaugh survived the shooting on September 4. Police said that Murdaugh claimed that he had been shot in the head while he was changing a flat tire and that the wound was only “superficial”. When speaking on the TODAY show on NBC, Harpootlian said that Murdaugh was trying to get off the opioids he had been taking to cope with the depression caused by the deaths of his wife and adult son, which had occurred months earlier.

Murdaugh believed his life insurance policy had a suicide clause, so he hired a hitman to kill him during a “fake car breakdown”, said Harpootlian. The purpose was to make it possible for his child to be able to receive the $10 million life insurance policy benefits.

Life insurance policy - insurance policy papers


The lawyers stated that Murdaugh felt that his death and son’s collection of the life insurance policy was the only choice.

“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,” said a statement from Murdaugh’s lawyers. “One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex’s life, by shooting him in the head.”

Earlier this week, The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) stated that Curtis Edward Smith was arrested on assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud charges. SLED officials said that 61-year-old Smith from Walterboro, South Carolina, had also been arrested on marijuana possession and methamphetamine distribution charges.

Additional charges are expected in this case of life insurance policy fraud, said SLED. According to investigator documents, Smith received both the gun and the directions to kill Murdaugh by Murdaugh himself.

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