Alex Murdaugh Hired a Hitman to Kill Him for Insurance Money

Attorneys for the South Carolina lawyer say he’ll turn himself in after allegedly putting out a hit on himself so his son could claim the insurance money.
September 16, 2021, 5:35pm
Alex Murdaugh
This photo provided by Hampton County Detention Center shows Alex Murdaugh.(Hampton County Detention Center via AP)

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A lawyer in South Carolina is turning himself into authorities after allegedly hiring a shooter to kill him so his son would receive a $10 million life insurance policy, according to multiple reports.

A warrant was issued for 53-year-old Alex Murdaugh’s arrest in Hampton County, South Carolina on Wednesday and he plans to turn himself in on Thursday, attorney Jim Griffin, told Greenville TV station WSPA. Murdaugh has been charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, Griffin told WSPA. 

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Dick Harpootlian, a state senator and prominent South Carolina Democrat who’s also representing Murdaugh, told the Today Show earlier this week that Murdaugh was depressed following the double homicide deaths of his wife and son in June, a case that remains unsolved. Harpootlian said his client did not murder his family. 

Murdaugh’s father, former local prosecutor Randolph Murdaugh, died just days after the homicide.

Murdaugh was also trying to beat an opioid addiction when he decided to kill himself by hiring a man to kill him during a “fake car breakdown” so his surviving son would be able to claim a $10 million life insurance policy, Harpootlian said.

Murdaugh was shot three times on September 4 but suffered only a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” state law enforcement said a few days later. The man who allegedly shot him, 61-year-old Curtis Smith, is one of Murdaugh’s former clients; Smith has been charged with assisted suicide, aggravated assault, and battery related to the shooting. 

Prior to the shooting, Murdaugh resigned from the law firm started by his great-grandfather, where he served as a partner. The firm later said Murdaugh misappropriated money from the office, according to the New York Times. Harpootlian described it in the Today Show interview as “converting some client and law firm money to his own use and spent most of that on opioids.” 

Murdaugh, whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served as the top prosecutor in a district in the Lowcountry for nearly a century, “believed ending his life was his only option,” Harpootlian and co-counsel Griffin said in a statement.

“For the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids. During that time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs,” the statement said. "One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex's life, by shooting him in the head.”