Alex Murdaugh's Alleged Shooter Curtis Smith Says He Never Shot Him: 'There Was No Blood'
South Carolina Judge Clifton Newman denied Alex Murdaugh bail in a Tuesday morning hearing on charges of misappropriation of insurance money in connection with former housekeeper Gloria Satterfield's death.
The man Alex Murdaugh allegedly hired to kill him for a $10 million life insurance payout is saying he never shot him at all. “I didn’t shoot him,” 61-year-old Curtis Smith told the “Today" show. “If I’d have shot him, he’d be dead. He lied.”
Smith continued, “There was no blood on me. There was no blood on him.”
Murdaugh’s lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, said on the “Today” show shortly after the shooting that Murdaugh was seeking to end his own life in order for his remaining son Buster to claim his $10 million life insurance policy without realizing that the suicide exclusion cause had expired. “He arranged to have this guy shoot him,” Harpootlian said.
But Smith said he didn’t even know why he was called to meet Murdaugh on the side of the rural road, and it was Murdaugh who allegedly presented Smith with the gun.
“He said, ‘You gotta shoot me,’ I said, ‘No,’” Smith recalled. “He said, ‘You just gotta do it, man.’ He made his move. I grabbed his arm, he put it between his eyes.”
The gun went off, but the bullet never hit Murdaugh, said Smith, who is currently out on bond set for $55,000.
Smith has pleaded not guilty to charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated assault, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and attempt to commit insurance fraud in the shooting.
Even though Murdaugh appeared in court a few weeks later without any head bandages, his lawyer Jim Griffin, however, maintained that he suffered a head injury, and said there was so much blood matted to Murdaugh’s head and hair that emergency responders couldn’t reach the wound, according to Fox Carolina News. Griffin, however, agreed in that interview that Smith was not aware why he was called to meet Murdaugh on the rural road.
Griffin and Harpootlian have not responded to Smith's allegations.
Murdaugh turned himself in following the incident and was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.
He was out on bond and newly released from a Florida drug rehabilitation facility when he was arrested on charges stemming from the alleged misappropriation of millions of dollars in connection with the wrongful death settlement of the family’s former housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.
During a hearing in South Carollina Tuesday morning related to those charges, Murdaugh was denied bond.
South Carolina Judge Clifton Newman is ordering him to remain in Richland County Detention Center and will also require the disgraced attorney to undergo a psychiatric evaluation before the decision is reconsidered.
"No amount of bond court can be set to satisfy protections to Mr. Murdaugh and the community," Newman said during the Tuesday bond hearing.
Murdaugh is facing two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretense after the Satterfield’s sons Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriot alleged they never received any payout from their mom’s wrongful death settlement. Satterfield slipped and fell while working on Murdaugh's property in 2018, which ultimately led to her death.
Newman’s decision not to set an amount for bond went beyond the prosecutor’s request that Murdaugh be held on a $200,000 bond and a GPS monitor.
“Murdaugh is a danger,” Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters said at the Tuesday bond hearing in Richland County Court. “This is the tip of the iceberg. There is far more we will reveal soon.”
Waters went on to describe how Murdaugh had allegedly taken $3.4 million in insurance money meant for the sons of Satterfield and used it to pay off his and his own family’s credit card debt.
“He is a liar and he is a cheat,” Satterfield’s son’s attorney Eric Bland said. “He is a financial risk to the victims of his crimes as well as the citizens of this state.”
The defense’s request for a personal recognizance bond so Murdaugh can return to the Florida drug rehabilitation center was rejected entirely.
“He’s not going to run,” Harpootlian said. “That’s not where he is now. He’s been through six weeks of addiction treatment. He needs more.” Harpootlian continued to explain that Murdaugh has been addicted to opioids for more than a decade, and needs more treatment.
Griffin added, “He is not a danger to the community. The Alex Murdaugh who is not hooked on drugs has lived a good, fruitful life — a law-abiding life. Only when he got hooked on opioids did things turn south and he truly regrets his conduct.”
In addition to the charges related to the September incident and Satterfield’s insurance payout, Murdaugh is named in a couple of lawsuits in the months since the double homicide of his 22-year-old son Paul and wife Maggie at their Colleton County hunting lodge, for which he has also been named a person-of-interest, his lawyer Jim Griffin said.
Griffin denied that Murdaugh killed his wife or son.
He is accused in a lawsuit of having allegedly attempted to shift blame onto his son’s friend Connor Cook after a 2019 boat crash that ended in the death of their 19-year-old friend, Mallory Beach. Paul, who had been intoxicated and driving the boat at the time of the accident, had been facing felony charges when he was murdered.
Murdaugh was also pushed out of the law firm founded by his great-grandfather before his Labor Day shooting for allegedly siphoning tens of millions of dollars of the firm’s money into personal accounts, PMPED alleged in a lawsuit filed shortly after his resignation.
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