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The South Carolina man accused of shooting Alex Murdaugh over Labor Day weekend is being set up by the disgraced attorney, who is a drug addict going through intense withdrawal after 20 years of opioid addiction, his attorney alleged on national television this week.
After Curtis "Fast Eddie" Smith, 61, was arrested on Sept. 14 in connection to the Sept. 4 shooting, he said that he was set up to be the “fall guy” in what police — and Murdaugh's attorneys — said was a botched assisted suicide attempt that took place on a rural roadside in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Smith now faces multiple charges, including assisted suicide, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and insurance fraud. Investigators have said that the alleged scheme is believed to have been an effort to ensure the attorney’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect on a $10 million insurance policy.
Smith's attorney, Jonny McCoy, said in an exclusive interview with TODAY on Thursday that he believes the scheme was a set-up by Murdaugh as his life has spiraled out of control following the murders of his wife and son on the family’s property in June.
"I think that he's being set up by a person who is a drug addict who is going through horrific withdrawals, 20 years' opioid use, and I think that he is doing exactly what people with addict behavior do,” McCoy said. "And that is he tried to turn himself into a victim, and he tried to turn himself into a hero."
Smith has maintained that he did not pull the trigger in the Sept. 4 incident.
"I didn't shoot him," Smith said on TODAY. "I'm innocent. If I'd have shot him, he'd be dead. He's alive."
As was previously reported, Smith said on TODAY that when he got to Murdaugh on Old Salkehatchie Road in Hampton County, the widower was holding a gun.
“He said, 'You gonna shoot me?' I said, 'No,'" Smith said. "He said, 'Well, you've got to do it.' And he made this move, like this, and I just grabbed his arm. I shoved [the gun] up behind him, between me and him. And it went off."
Smith added that he is "1,000%" certain that the bullet did not hit either of them. Murdaugh survived the shooting incident with a superficial wound to the head and was later airlifted to a hospital for treatment. On Sept. 13, he told police about the alleged assisted suicide plot. Smith told authorities that after the incident he’d disposed of the weapon.
Murdaugh had represented Smith several times in the past, including in a 2015 lawsuit Smith filed against a forest management company and in 2013 for a speeding ticket, The New York Times reported.
Meanwhile, Murdaugh was arrested on charges related to the alleged misappropriation of funds from an insurance settlement regarding the wrongful death suit of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family housekeeper. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said on Thursday that Murdaugh was taken into custody as he exited a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando. He had entered the facility just after it was announced that he was no longer with his family legacy law firm as an investigation was launched into his alleged misappropriation of funds — which may have been millions of dollars — from the firm over several years.
Murdaugh has been charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.
The windingly complex Murdaugh case drew national attention when on June 7, Alex Murdaugh reported he'd found his wife, Margaret Murdaugh, 52, and their son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, shot and killed on the family’s hunting property in Colleton County.
On Wednesday, Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, told Fox Carolina News that his client has been a person of interest in the shooting deaths of his wife and son — but said he believes that Murdaugh is innocent of those killings.
“He didn’t do it. I feel strongly that he didn’t do it,” Griffin told the network. “Nobody wants to solve these murders as much as Alex.”
No one from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has publicly identified Alex Murdaugh as a person of interest in those deaths. Griffin made the comment after noting that family members are often considered as potential persons of interest in murder cases.
These unsolved murders were followed by the opening and re-opening of cases around two deaths linked to the Murdaugh family in recent years: the 2019 death of Satterfield, in what was described as resulting from a “trip and fall” in Hampton County, and the death of a Stephen Smith, a teenager who was found deceased in what was deemed a hit-and-run accident on the side of the road near their property in 2015.
Both the Satterfield and Smith cases are being reassessed by investigators in South Carolina.
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