HAMPTON, S.C. (NewsNation Now) — The lawyer for the man accused of shooting Alex Murdaugh in a failed insurance fraud scheme says his client is being used as the fall guy.
Jarrett Bouchette is representing Curtis Smith. The 61-year-old is being charged with a slew of crimes including assisted suicide and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. The charges stem from Smith allegedly shooting Murdaugh during Labor Day weekend in what investigators say was a ploy to get Murdaugh’s remaining son Buster a $10 million insurance payout.
Smith’s accounts of what happened differ greatly from what Murdaugh told South Carolina investigators. His lawyer says the accusations don’t make sense.
Smith says Murdaugh called him to bring him work, which he didn’t think was out of the ordinary because he had done odd mechanic work for Murdaugh before.
Smith told investigators when he got to that rural road Murdaugh was suicidal, agitated and waving a gun. They tussled with each other over the gun and it went off. Then, Smith took it with him and got rid of it.
Murdaugh’s lawyer told investigators Smith was Murdaugh’s drug dealer for at least a decade. Bouchette says based on his client’s financials, that doesn’t add up.
Riley Benson with NationNation’s South Carolina affiliate WCBD reports Smith said he had been “betrayed.”
“[Smith] called Alex a close friend, that was almost like a brother to him,” Benson said.
Murdaugh’s injuries have also been a point of confusion.
“The original report was that Alex was shot in the head, it grazed him. Then the police report came down from Hampton County Sheriff that there was no visible, major injury,” Benson said of a police report that “was changed just hours later to say there was a major injury.”
Murdaugh’s attorney’s told WCBD that there was an entry wound, an exit wound, minor brain bleeding and a skull fracture.
“Those injuries were not visible a week and a half later at Murdaugh’s court date,” Benson said. “There is conflicting information there.”
NewsNationNow.com reached out to the Attorney General’s Office. It had no comment.
Meanwhile, an outside judge has been assigned to oversea the Murdaugh criminal cases.
On Thursday, the $100,000 reward for tips leading to an arrest in the murder of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh is set to expire. It’s been three months and there have been no arrests.
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