VARNVILLE, SC – Prominent lawyer Alex Murdaugh surrendered Thursday after authorities said he attempted suicide so his son could collect a $ 10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh, 53, arrived at the Hampton County Law Enforcement Center, which houses both the sheriff’s office and the district court, around 11:30 a.m. local time before a scheduled bail hearing at 16.
Murdaugh has been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
“I can assure you that SLED officers will continue to work to bring justice to anyone involved in any criminal act associated with these ongoing investigations,” SLED Chief Mark Keel said in a statement shortly. after Murdaugh’s surrender. “The arrests in this case are only the first step in this process. “
Hours earlier, a judge had set bail at $ 55,000 for the man suspected of pulling the trigger in Murdaugh’s alleged suicide plot.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was in shackles and wearing a beige jail jumpsuit during his initial court appearance, as Hampton County Judge Tonja Alexander read the allegations against him.
He is charged with conspiracy, robbery and display of a firearm, assisting a person in a suicide, highly aggravated assault and battery, conspiracy and insurance fraud.
Smith answered basic questions and signed forms, saying he understood the proceedings against hm. Alexander asked Smith if he would ask to be represented by a public defender.
“I’ll probably pick one, yeah,” he replied.
Murdaugh was shot in the head on September 4, three months after the unsolved murders of his wife and adult son, but suffered a superficial wound. His lawyer said Murdaugh was depressed and enlisted a man to kill him, believing his life insurance had a suicide clause.
South Carolina’s law enforcement division also said it has opened a criminal investigation into the 2018 death of a longtime housekeeper and nanny for the Murdaugh family.
Catie Beck reported from Varnville, South Carolina, and David K. Li from New York
Erik Ortiz and Juliette Arcodie contributed.