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The South Carolina man arrested for shooting Alex Murdaugh has denied he was hired to gun down the scion of a South Carolina legal dynasty in an assisted suicide attempt over Labor Day weekend.
Curtis "Fast Eddie" Smith, 61, told the New York Post that he was set up to be the “fall guy” in what police and Murdaugh say was a botched assisted suicide attempt that took place on a rural roadside on Sept. 4. The alleged scheme is believed by investigators to have been an effort to ensure the attorney’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect on a $10 million insurance policy.
"I know what they’re trying to say about me and it ain’t true," Smith told the Post on Friday, the day after he was bonded out of jail. "It was the craziest situation I [have] ever been involved with. I was set up to be the fall guy.”
South Carolina Law Enforcement announced the arrest of Smith for assisted suicide, insurance fraud, and multiple other charges in connection to the Sept. 4 shooting on Old Salkehatchie Road in Hampton County. Murdaugh, 53, turned himself in on Thursday and was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report, according to SLED.
Murdaugh openly wept in court on Friday as he described his personal and professional “fall from grace.” The judge set a $20,000 personal recognizance bond and Murdaugh surrendered his passport. Upon his release, he returned to a rehab facility to undergo treatment for what his attorney has said is an opioid addiction; that rehab facility is outside of South Carolina, his lawyer has said.
Smith is a distant cousin of Murdaugh and a former client, the Post reported. He went on to detail his version of the events that transpired on September 4 while speaking with the tabloid.
"I get a call from Alex that Saturday afternoon to come to where he was and I thought it was maybe to fix something," Smith said. "I had no idea what he wanted, I just went over there."
At that point, Smith reportedly said, he drove his Chevy pickup to Old Salkehatchie Road where he found Murdaugh inside his Mercedes-Benz GLS. Smith told the paper that when he arrived, Murdaugh exited out of his vehicle while waving a gun.
"I run over and we wrestled a minute together — me trying to get the gun away from him," Smith told the Post. "Then the gun kind of went off above his head and I got scared to death and I ran to my truck and took off."
Smith said that after the gun discharged, he grabbed it and tossed the weapon away.
"I wound up with the gun," Smith told the Post, adding that he was unsure if and where the bullet struck Murdaugh. "It was plain stupid, just plain stupid."
An email sent by Oxygen.com to a spokesperson for Murdaugh on Monday afternoon was not immediately returned.
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 supposed assisted suicide plot. Smith also admitted on Tuesday that he was present during the shooting and that he’d disposed of the weapon, authorities said.
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.
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. 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 their housekeeper, 57-year-old Gloria 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. Stephen Smith’s mother reportedly released a statement last week saying that she is of no relation to Curtis Smith.
Both the Satterfield and Smith cases are being reassessed by investigators in South Carolina as a result of information gained during the probe into the June double murder.
After the Sept. 4 shooting incident, Murdaugh resigned from the South Carolina firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltztoth & Detrick and announced plans to enter a drug rehab treatment program. The personal injury firm had announced that it planned to hire a forensic accounting firm to conduct a thorough investigation after allegations surfaced that Murdaugh had misappropriated potentially millions in funds. For decades the Murdaugh family, including Alex’s father and grandfather, ran the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office while maintaining the private firm.
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