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US lawyer plotted own shooting in $10 mln insurance scheme: Police

Published: Updated:

A prominent South Carolina attorney whose wife and son were murdered in June conspired with a man to shoot him to death so that a surviving son could collect a $10 million insurance payout, a state police agency said.

Alex Murdaugh, a 53-year-old attorney who survived the Sept. 4 shooting, has admitted to plotting with Curtis Edward Smith, 61, to cause his own death, according to a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division affidavit made public on Tuesday.

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“Mr. Murdaugh provided Mr. Smith with a firearm and directed Mr. Smith to shoot him in the head for the purpose of causing Mr. Murdaugh’s death and allowing for the payment of a stated death benefit,” the affidavit said. Murdaugh’s lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

Murdaugh was listed as a co-defendant in the case involving Smith, who faces charges including assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, the state police said.

The state police’s announcement is the latest twist in a saga involving the prominent lawyer, whose family members have for decades served as local prosecutors in Hampton, South Carolina.

On June 7, Murdaugh’s wife Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22, were shot and killed outside of the family’s hunting estate. Murdaugh reported their deaths to 911, which remain under investigation by state police.

The insurance payout was to benefit his surviving son, Buster.

Earlier this week, the state police announced that they were investigating Murdaugh after his former employer, local law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick, alleged that he had misappropriated funds.

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