A South Carolina man accused of helping attorney Alex Murdaugh with a failed suicide scheme to collect on a $10 million life insurance policy has been arrested again, authorities said.
Curtis Edwards Smith, 61, was taken into custody on Friday, according to the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement. The charges include four counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery and criminal conspiracy, NBC affiliate WCBD-TV of Charleston reported. It is unclear whether the new charges are related to the Murdaugh case.
Smith was previously arrested in September after investigators said Murdaugh gave him a gun and ordered Smith to kill him. Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault and aggravated assault, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and drug-related offences.
According to documents, Murdaugh admitted to law enforcement that the plan was for Smith to kill him so that Murdaugh’s son could collect a life insurance policy worth around $10 million. The Associated Press reported that Murdaugh served as Smith’s attorney in a 2013 speeding case.
Murdaugh survived the September 4 shooting, which occurred months after the unsolved murders of his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and his other son, Paul. The couple were found dead at their family home in rural Islandton, South Carolina, about 65 miles west of Charleston.
Alex Murdaugh reported the deaths to 911, telling a dispatcher he had returned home to find his wife and son on the ground and not breathing. Their deaths were ruled a double homicide.
Richard Harpootlian, a lawyer for Murdaugh, said his client had nothing to do with the murders. Murdaugh was never charged with the deaths.
Harpootlian previously told NBC’s “TODAY” show that Murdaugh became depressed after the death and started using opioids. The lawyer said Murdaugh believed there was a suicide clause in his insurance policy and enlisted a man to kill him in a “fake car breakdown”.
The scheme was an “attempt on her part to do something to protect her child,” Harpootlian said. In a written statement, Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, another attorney for Murdaugh, said their client “believed ending his life was his only option” but now “knows that’s not true.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.