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Alex Murdaugh alleged shooter appears for South Carolina bond hearing over assisted suicide charges

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The man allegedly responsible for the botched suicide of prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is expected to appear for a bond hearing Thursday morning. Murdaugh himself, who allegedly organized the plot to arrange his own death so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy, might turn himself in to authorities, his attorney claims.  

At a bond hearing Thursday morning inside the Hampton County Law Enforcement Center, a judge set bail for 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith at $55,000, WCSC reported. He is charged with several counts including assisted suicide and insurance fraud. 

An affidavit says 53-year-old Murdaugh provided Smith with a firearm and asked the previous client who Murdaugh was buying drugs from to shoot him in the head – the shooting on Sept. 4 ended with what was intended to be the fatal shot only grazing Murdaugh. 

Meanwhile, one of Murdaugh’s attorneys, Jim Griffin, said Wednesday that Murdaugh plans to be in Hampton County to surrender to police Thursday and have a bond hearing. The State Law Enforcement Division did not confirm any arrest warrants against Murdaugh late Wednesday. Murdaugh’s lawyers said he has been in drug rehab for about 10 days after his law firm fired him over missing money that could total millions of dollars. 

ALEX MURDAUGH TO SURRENDER TO AUTHORITIES AFTER WARRANT ISSUED, LAWYER SAYS 

“We have been informed that there is a warrant for his arrest for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He plans to voluntarily surrender tomorrow and the arraignment and bond hearing will be held at 4 p.m. at the Hampton Country magistrate court,” Griffin told Fox News. 

This comes as the State Law Enforcement Division on Wednesday opened a sixth investigation into Murdaugh and his family — this time over the death of housekeeper and nanny, Gloria Satterfield, who died in his home. The woman’s death certificate said she died from natural causes and it wasn’t reported to the Hampton County coroner. But a wrongful death settlement for $500,000 said she was killed in a slip-and-fall at Murdaugh’s home.

Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather all held the office of solicitor in the area for more than 80 years and other family members were prominent civil attorneys in the region. Murdaugh himself was an authorized volunteer prosecutor supporting his father’s cases, a relationship the office severed this month as Murdaugh said he was seeking rehabilitation for an oxycodone addiction.

This photo provided by the Colleton County sheriff's office shows Curtis Edward Smith. State police say a prominent South Carolina lawyer tried to arrange his own death this month so his son would get $10 million in life insurance. But authorities say the planned fatal shot only grazed Alex Murdaugh's head on Sept. 4. The State Law Enforcement Division says it charged the shooter, 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith, with assisted suicide, insurance fraud and several other counts. 

This photo provided by the Colleton County sheriff’s office shows Curtis Edward Smith. State police say a prominent South Carolina lawyer tried to arrange his own death this month so his son would get $10 million in life insurance. But authorities say the planned fatal shot only grazed Alex Murdaugh’s head on Sept. 4. The State Law Enforcement Division says it charged the shooter, 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith, with assisted suicide, insurance fraud and several other counts. 
((Colleton County Sheriffs Office via AP))

It all started June 7, when Murdaugh found the bodies of his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, and their 22-year-old son Paul shot multiple times after returning to their Colleton County home after visiting his sick father. Those killings remain unsolved, and Murdaugh’s lawyers have said he is adamant he had nothing to do with their deaths.

On Sept. 3, Murdaugh was fired by the PMPED Law Firm which was founded by his grandfather after the firm determined he stole money. The next day, Murdaugh’s lawyers said he decided to kill himself but have someone else shoot him. Murdaugh gave Curtis Edward Smith a gun and they headed to lonely Old Salkehatchie Road. Smith fired one shot that only grazed Murdaugh’s head, a State Law Enforcement Division agent said in a sworn statement.

Alex Murdaugh, right, is shown here with his family. 

Alex Murdaugh, right, is shown here with his family. 

Murdaugh was able to call 911 and his initial story was someone passing in a pickup truck shot at him as he checked a tire that was low on pressure. His lawyers said a week later he told them about the insurance scheme and they told state police.

Smith, 61, was arrested late Tuesday and charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana. He remains in jail and it wasn’t known if he had a lawyer to speak on his behalf.

Along with the killings of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh and the shooting of Alex Murdaugh, the State Law Enforcement Division is also investigating the missing money, whether anyone tried to obstruct an investigation into a 2019 boat crash for which Paul Murdaugh was eventually charged and a July 2015 hit-and-run death in Hampton County.

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The agency announced Wednesday that they are now investigating Gloria Satterfield’s death. Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper asked for the state investigation, saying Satterfield’s death certificate lists she died of natural causes, which is inconsistent with a trip-and-fall accidental death. She said her office was not informed so it could perform an autopsy.

Satterfield’s two sons filed a lawsuit Wednesday saying they haven’t seen any of the $500,000 wrongful death settlement that Murdaugh had friends arrange.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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