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'I Was In A Very Bad Place': Alex Murdaugh Said Life Had Spiraled Out Of Control When He Decided To End His Life

Jurors heard new details Thursday about a botched assisted suicide attempt allegedly orchestrated by Alex Murdaugh to end his life in September 2021 as his alleged financial misdeeds were coming to light.

By Jill Sederstrom
Alex Murdaugh prepares for jury selection

Alex Murdaugh’s life was spiraling out of control so quickly in September of 2021, he felt he had only one thing left to do: take his own life.

“I was in a very bad place,” Murdaugh would later tell investigators in a recording played in court Thursday, according to Buzz Feed News. “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 allegedly killing his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, on the night of June, 7, 2021. He's pleaded not guilty in the case.

Prosecutors believe the disgraced former attorney carried out the murders in an attempt to hide a series of financial crimes that threatened to ruin his reputation and livelihood. Despite the double homicide, the alleged financial misdeeds still came to light months later, sending Murdaugh into a spiral that allegedly prompted him to plan his own death along the side of a highway.

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“There’s a symmetry between what happens on the side of the road and what happens on June 7,” prosecutor Creighton Waters told the judge earlier this month. “because when the hounds are at the door, when Hannibal is at the gates for Alex Murdaugh, violence happens.”

Alex Murdaugh becomes emotional after seeing his family in the courtroom

The attempt to end his life took place on Sept. 4, 2021. Earlier that morning, Murdaugh spoke to longtime friend Chris Wilson and confessed to stealing money from Wilson and others to feed an addiction to oxycodone and other opioids, Wilson testified earlier in the trial.

Then he arranged to meet his alleged longtime drug dealer and former client Curtis “Eddie” Smith at a local gas station where the two concocted a plan.

“I told him that things were getting ready to get really bad and I would be better off not here,” Murdaugh said in the Sept. 13, 2021 phone interview with investigators. “I asked him to shoot me.”

While Smith was initially taken back by the odd request, Murdaugh said he later agreed.

“At first, I think he was a little surprised,” Murdaugh told investigators, “but then he said OK.”

The pair drove to a quiet South Carolina road and Murdaugh used a knife to puncture the back tire of his black Mercedes SUV, before tossing the knife into some grass and handing Smith a handgun.

“I stood close to the car and he shot me,” Murdaugh said, according to The Associated Press. “He missed and hit me in the very back of the head.”

Smith drove away, seemingly believing he’d carried out the act, but Murdaugh was only grazed by the bullet to the head, he said. He told investigators that the shot temporarily blinded him.

After regaining his bearings, Murdaugh called 911 and told authorities he had been shot by an unknown assailant after stopping to change a flat tire.

As he sat in the back of an ambulance, Murdaugh told emergency responders the man had acted like a “real nice guy” offering to stop and help before a gunshot erupted.

“I turned my head and, I mean, boom,” he said, according to Buzz Feed News.

Murdaugh even provided enough detail about the alleged assailant to a sketch artist the next day to create a rendering of the supposed shooter, but the ruse eventually fell apart after investigators noticed the car’s tire had been cleanly sliced and found the knife hidden in the grass.

State investigator Ryan Kelly testified Thursday that authorities ultimately discovered the DNA of both Murdaugh and Smith on the knife.

Murdaugh’s brother Randy Murdaugh also played a critical role in uncovering the lie after he called detectives two days after the shooting to report his brother’s suspicious activity.

According to Kelly, Randy told investigators that Murdaugh had been calling unknown numbers from his hospital bed and had tried to bribe a nurse into letting him use her phone. The numbers were eventually traced back to Smith, according to the testimony.

Murdaugh eventually admitted to arranging the botched suicide attempt in a phone interview on Sept. 13, 2021, telling authorities that he wanted his death to look like a murder so that his son Buster would be able to collect on a $10 million life insurance policy.

“I knew I was about to lose everything, and I figured he was better off that way than dealing with me,” Murdaugh said in the recording, according to The Post and Courier.

He added that he had been in “a very bad place” after he had been confronted by his former law firm just the day before the roadside shooting about missing money. Murdaugh is accused in a set of separate charges of stealing nearly $9 million over the years from the firm, his legal clients and others.

Murdaugh also confessed to having a two-decade long addiction to opioids, telling authorities that he paid Smith up to $60,000 a week to supply him with drugs, according to the recording.

Curtis Edward Smith Ap

Smith allegedly worked as a middleman, transporting drugs between a larger supplier and the now-disbarred attorney.

Judge Clifton Newman initially ruled that the evidence around the botched suicide attempt should be kept from the trial, but reversed his decision on Wednesday after Murdaugh’s attorneys questioned a witness about the possibility that the murders could have been carried out by drug dealers.

Prosecutors believe that the roadside shooting proves that Murdaugh’s tendency under pressure is to respond with violence.

Throughout the trial, Murdaugh’s attorneys have continued to insist that Murdaugh was a loving father and husband who would never have killed his family. They’ve also pointed to the possibility of other suspects, including Smith or those involved with the drug gang, The Post and Courier reports.

His defense attorneys are expected to cross-examine Kelly on Friday morning as the trial continues.