VARNVILLE, SC — The 61-year-old Hampton County man charged with the allegedly staged attempted suicide shooting of Alex Murdaugh appeared at a bail hearing Thursday alternately shaking, sobbing and rocking as he sat before the judge.
“This is all crap,” Curtis Edward Smith said at one point. The brief morning hearing was held in a courtroom at the Hampton County Sheriff’s Department in rural Varnville, South Carolina, about 70 miles from Charleston.
Smith is a former client of Murdaugh’s law firm and an alleged drug dealer. Murdaugh recently said a 20-year addiction to opioids drove him to hatch his own killing.
His wife, Maggie, and 22-year-old son, Paul, were shot dead at a family home in June.
Smith’s involvement in the bizarre saga of the Murdaugh case, so far at least, is confined to the shooting incident Sept. 4 on a rural road near Hampton, South Carolina, where Alex Murdaugh told police someone shot him while he was stopped to fix a tire.
Murdaugh surrendered to authorities Thursday and will be arraigned later in the day for allegedly trying to commit insurance fraud in collusion with Smith.
Smith arrived in foot and wrist shackles, his blond hair matted to his head. He was unsteady on his feet and had to be helped to his seat by two sheriff’s deputies. He rocked back in his chair and continually tapped his feet, clad in black sandals and dirty white socks, throughout the hearing, occasionally making grunting noises.
Smith has been charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, distribution of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
His bond was set at $55,000.
Earlier this week, Murdaugh told cops that he told Smith to kill him so his surviving son, Buster, would collect his $10 million life insurance policy.
Alex Murdaugh is a part of at least two other state investigations.
Shortly after he resigned from Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick on Sept. 6, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division announced it was investigating allegations that Murdaugh stole money from his high-powered law firm.
Earlier Wednesday, the same agency opened a probe into the death of the Murdaughs’ longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.
Satterfield, 57, died in February 2018 after “a trip and fall accident” in the family’s home, according to a new lawsuit filed by the housekeeper’s children.
More than three years later, “the exact details of the fall remain unclear,” even to the housekeeper’s sons and heirs, a Hampton County lawsuit seeking unspecified damages said.