(NewsNation) — Aimee Zmroczek, the attorney representing Curtis “Cousin Eddie” Smith, said Alex Murdaugh’s guilty verdict is “the best outcome” for her client.
The jury in the double murder trial reached a verdict at 6:41 p.m. ET, just hours after they began deliberations.
Smith was arrested in connection with an insurance fraud scheme involving Murdaugh. He allegedly shot Murdaugh last September, so Murdaugh’s remaining son Buster could collect $11 million in insurance money. Murdaugh’s attorneys have previously said that Smith, who is known as “Cousin Eddie” to many, failed a lie detector test when asked if he killed Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
“When Alex called him out to the road. … People always say he was paid. He wasn’t paid. He was doing what he always did, being manipulated by Alex,” Zmroczek said. “I think that Alex fully intended to shoot Eddie and make him the killer, and all of these problems would have gone away.”
As a defense attorney, Zmroczek said it’s hard to “be glad” when people are convicted, but in this case she truly believes it’s a “game changer” for her client.
Prosecutors took more than a year to charge Murdaugh with murder, but they ultimately decided not to pursue the death penalty.
Authorities said Paul Murdaugh, 22, was shot twice with a shotgun, each round loaded with a different size shot, while Maggie Murdaugh, 52, was struck with four or five bullets from a rifle. A crime scene report suggested both victims were shot in the head after initially being wounded near dog kennels on the Murdaughs’ sprawling rural property.
A sentencing hearing was set for 9:30 a.m. ET Friday. He faces 30 years to life in prison without parole for each murder charge.