The Murdaugh family murder mystery saga

April 02, 2022

There have been developments in the Alex Murdaugh case recently after the 53-year-old hired a client he represented on two occasions, to shoot him in the head in an assisted suicide-for-hire scheme that would entitle his only surviving son to a $10 Million life insurance policy pay-out.

An affidavit states that “the South Carolina Law Enforcement division arrested Richard Alexander "Alex" Murdaugh in connection to the shooting incident on September 4, in which he conspired with a Mr. Curtis Edward Smith to assist him in committing suicide for the explicit purpose of allowing a beneficiary to collect life insurance."

Alex Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud, filing a false police report and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

He was recently booked at the Hampton County Detention Centre.

On September 4, 2012, at 15385 Old Salkehatchie Road, in Varnville, Hampton, South Carolina, 53-year-old Alex Murdaugh propositioned Curtis Edward Smith to aid him in a suicide so that a beneficiary, Murdaugh’s only surviving son, could benefit from a $10-million-dollar insurance policy pay-out.

Alex Murdaugh provided Curtis Edward Smith with a gun and instructed Smith to shoot him in the head. Murdaugh deflated one of the tires on his vehicle with a knife and kneeled down, pretending to change and inspect it. Smith raised the gun and shot Murdaugh as he stood in the middle of the street on Old Salkehatchie Road. Believing he had killed Murdaugh as intended, Smith fled the scene in his car and disposed of the murder weapon. Alex Murdaugh, who had survived the shooting, was rushed to a nearby hospital where he was treated for his injuries. The suicide-for-hire plot had failed, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division would later describe Murdaugh’s injuries as a superficial gunshot to the head. Murdaugh suffered a fractured skull and brain bleed.

Nine days later, on September 13, Alex Murdaugh confessed to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division that he had concocted the scheme along with Smith. He admitted to police that his financial position was so dire that he believed his death was the only way to secure a life insurance pay-out for his son. He said initially he mistakenly believed that his insurance policy had a two-year suicide exclusion and so decided to have Smith shoot him, instead of taking his own life. Murdaugh told police that he had fallen into a deep depression following the murder or his wife and son three months prior- a double homicide that has yet to be solved. Alex Murdaugh would later reveal that he admitted to the conspiracy to commit fraud so the police would turn their attention back to the murder of his wife and son.

On June 7, 2021, Alex discovered the body of his son, Paul, 22, and his wife, Maggie, 52, riddled with bullets at the Murdaugh family hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina. He called 911 at around 10PM that night to report his findings and informed the dispatcher that he had been caring for his terminally ill father, Randolph, and wasn't at the lodge when his wife and son had been murdered. The bodies were found near dog kennels on the property, and it was later discovered that the bullets had been discharged from different firearms. At the time he was killed, Paul was awaiting trial pertaining to a boating incident that left a teenage girl dead.


Three days after the murder of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh’s father, Randolph was pronounced dead, the case of his death was listed as: natural causes. Alex Murdaugh’s lawyer would later reveal that he became addicted to opioids as a result.

The following day, On September 14, Curtis Edward Smith confessed to being at the scene of the crime. Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault, and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. Smith appeared in court On September 16 on an unrelated drug charge and is to be transferred to Hampton County to face charges in the Murdaugh shooting case. The pair had known each other for almost a decade as Murdaugh had represented Smith twice in 2012, Once in May 2012 for a personal injury case and again in September 2012 for a traffic infraction.

The day before his arranged shooting, Murdaugh resigned from his law firm out of the blue after he was accused of misappropriating funds, money that was likely spent on his spiralling opioid habit. Murdaugh's attorneys, Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian, claim that he was taken advantage of on account of his depression and addiction, although those following the case have speculated otherwise.

Police have recently reopened investigation into the murder of Alex Murdaugh’s former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 after she allegedly died after tripping over in the home. There was no investigation into Satterfield's death, nor was an autopsy performed. The decedents death certificate, strangely, said she died of natural causes.

Gloria Satterfield left behind two sons, Michael Satterfield, and Brian Harriott who, although promised $500,000 in a settlement, did not receive a single cent. the settlement case was negotiated between Alex Murdaugh and another lawyer with whom he had a connection to. Satterfield's sons did not appoint the lawyer representing them. Alex Murdaugh is now being accused of benefitting from a 4-million-dollar insurance pay-out from Satterfield’s death. Gloria Satterfield had been a housekeeper and nanny for the Murdaugh’s for two and a half decades before she allegedly tripped and fell, later dying from a brain injury on February 26, 2018.

Murdaugh told the brothers to file a wrongful death lawsuit against him and had his close friend, Corey Flemming, represent them. Michael Satterfield and Brian Harriot are now being represented by Eric Bland in a lawsuit filed last week against Murdaugh, Fleming, Westerndorff, Palmetto State bank and Moss, Kuhn, Fleming, P.A Bland revealed that the insurance pay out was closer to 4 million dollars, which Murdaugh kept for himself.

When asked to explain the insurance fraud scheme, Bland said: “He had home-owners insurance and access umbrella coverage and so he took these boys to his best friend, his college roommate Corey Fleming and told them to bring a lawsuit against him and then he admitted liability, which forced these insurance companies that insured him to pay large amounts of money in connection with Gloria Satterfield's death. The new lawsuit against Murdaugh claims that following Satterfield's death, he claimed, 'he was going to take care of the boys because he was going to 'sue [himself]' for the death.”

Michael Satterfield and Brian Harriott were not present at any hearings, nor did they sign any documents.

Death seemed to surround Alex Murdaugh and since his recent escapades in assisted suicide and insurance fraud, older cases have once again been highlighted in the media. The 2015 death of teenager, Stephen Smith, for example- a gay teen who was found dead on Hampton County road on July 8, 2015. His mother believes he was the victim of a hate crime. He was found dead just a few miles from the Murdaugh family home and was said to have suffered blunt force trauma to the head as well as injuries to his left arm and hand. Reports state that Alex's older son, Buster, had his name mentioned more than once in relation to Smith's death and the pair were classmates at the same high school. There have been no announcements connecting the Smith case to the Murdaugh family, however, detectives have said the case will be reopened following information collected from the scene of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh's murder. Smith’s pathology report stated that it appeared as though Smith was struck with a vehicle, although officers who responded to the scene did not report injuries consistent with someone who had been struck by a vehicle and there was no evidence of a vehicle skidding to a halt or any sort of debris usually associated with a hit and run. It was also pointed out that Smith's shoes, which were only loosely tied, remained on his feet.

In 2019 Paul Murdaugh was driving his father’s boat near Parris Island while reportedly drunken and belligerent. Several teenagers were with him that day when he crashed the boat into the piling of a bridge on Archers Creek, killing 19-year-old Mallory Beach who was thrown from the boat and died. Her body was not discovered until one week after the crash. A doctor who spoke to Paul Murdaugh following the incident said Paul appeared to be highly intoxicated. His friends described how he would become another person when he was drunk. The night of the boat crash he allegedly got into a bar fight and began shoving and disrespecting his girlfriend in public.

Paul Murdaugh was charged but got out on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond.

Police are currently further investigating Alex Murdaugh.


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