Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina lawyer at the center of multiple state investigations, is expected to surrender to police on Thursday, according to his attorney.
It was unclear what charges Murdaugh was or would face, but state police this week named him as a co-defendant in a botched scheme to arrange his murder so that his life insurance policy would be paid out to his son. Multiple death investigations, including those into the deaths of his wife and youngest son, continue to swirl around the case.
Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, said his client would be in Hampton County on Thursday to surrender to police and have a bond hearing related to the insurance fraud scheme.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, a former client of Murdaugh’s, was arrested on Tuesday and faces multiple charges, including assisted suicide and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. In an affidavit, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division stated that Murdaugh arranged for Smith to be shot on the side of the road so that his $10 million life insurance policy would go to his son. Smith’s bullet, however, only grazed Murdaugh’s head, and the embattled attorney survived.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division also announced Wednesday that it would launch an investigation into the death of a former housekeeper who died at Murdaugh’s home in 2018 and whose family is now suing Murdaugh.
Murdaugh had been in a drug rehab facility. His other attorney, Dick Harpootlian, stated that Murdaugh had recently developed an opioid addiction.
According to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Curtis Edward Smith was arrested after Murdaugh and Smith both told police about their alleged insurance fraud plot.
Smith is charged with assisted suicide, high-level aggravated assault and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
According to Harpootlian, Murdaugh believed that if he died by suicide, his insurance policy would not pay out to his son, Buster, so he contacted Smith to arrange the killing. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced Wednesday that it had launched a criminal investigation into Gloria Satterfield’s death. According to the agency, the decision is “based on a request from the Hampton County Coroner earlier today, as well as information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.”
The county coroner’s office sent a letter to state police on Wednesday indicating that Satterfield’s death at Murdaugh’s home was never reported to the coroner’s office, nor was an autopsy performed, despite the fact that her cause of death was listed as “natural” from injuries she sustained from tripping and falling.
According to Coroner Angie Topper, “the manner of death was ruled ‘natural,’ which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident.” According to WYFF-4, Satterfield, of Furman, South Carolina, worked as the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper for more than two decades before her death.
In addition to the investigation, a new lawsuit was filed in Satterfield’s death. Chad Westendorf, a banker at Palmetto State Bank, initially filed a wrongful death lawsuit in 2018, and according to court documents, a settlement of $500,000 was reached. Following Satterfield’s death, Murdaugh admitted his fault and introduced her family to his “good friend, Corey Fleming, so that Fleming could assist the sons in filing legal claims against Murdaugh for the wrongful death of their mother, with the assistance of a banker friend, Chad Westendorf,” according to the suit.
However, Satterfield’s heirs filed a second civil lawsuit against Murdaugh, Westendorf, and other attorneys on Wednesday, claiming they had not received any money from the settlement.
During the course of the double homicide investigation, state police also announced the launch of an investigation into Stephen Smith’s unsolved 2015 death. Smith was killed in what was initially ruled a hit-and-run, but his mother claimed at the time that her son was targeted because he was gay.
Mallory Beach, a 19-year-old who died in a boating accident in 2019, also has an open case. Paul Murdaugh was scheduled to stand trial on three boating under the influence charges stemming from the incident. Beach’s family has also filed a lawsuit against the Murdaughs.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is also looking into whether Alex Murdaugh stole money from his law firm.