(NewsNation Now) — Former logger and handyman Curtis Smith is telling his side of a botched suicide-for-hire scheme that officials say involved prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh.
In a new report by The New York Times, Smith pits himself against Alex Murdaugh. He said Murdaugh called him out to the side of a rural road, handed him a loaded gun and told him to shoot him in the back of the head.
Smith says when he refused, Murdaugh tried to do it himself, but the wound wasn’t fatal. He claims it was part of a scheme to get Murdaugh’s oldest son a $10 million insurance payoff.
Smith, 61, is being charged with a slew of crimes including assisted suicide and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud — all of the charges stemming from Smith allegedly shooting Murdaugh over Labor Day weekend. However, Smith’s lawyer says the accusations don’t make sense.
The Murdaugh family has dominated headlines in South Carolina since June, when Alex Murdaugh’s wife and younger son were both found dead. Since then, the case has had many twists and turns, including claims of drug use, embezzlement, unexplained deaths and the latest development: the suicide-for-hire insurance scheme.
Reporter Riley Benson from NewsNation affiliate WCBD in Charleston, South Carolina, says there have been questions as to whether or not Alex Murdaugh was even injured the night of the shooting.
“Law enforcement’s not clearing this up. Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys aren’t clearing this up,” Benson said. “There’s a lot of questions. This has been a mess really from the very beginning.”
Even Murdaugh’s whereabouts right now is uncertain.
“We know Alex Murdaugh is still in a rehab facility, a rehab facility that’s out of state. The best guess, and the information we have at this point, is that Alex is being held or is staying at a rehab facility somewhere in Georgia out of state,” Benson said.