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This is the shocking moment Alex Murdaugh admitted to cops he had asked his drug dealer cousin to shoot him in the head ‘as a favor’ in a botched suicide life insurance scam to net his surviving son Buster $10 million.

The disgraced legal scion, 54, is accused of shooting dead his wife Maggie and son Paul at their sprawling hunting estate at Moselle in South Carolina’s Lowcountry on June 7, 2021.

Three months later, on September 4, Murdaugh was shot in the head on a rural Hampton County road by Curtis Smith – known as Cousin Eddie. He initially told cops he had got a flat tire and someone stopped to offer help before shooting him.

But a week later he called police from a rehab facility in Atlanta, Georgia, and confessed to the elaborate scheme, even desperately apologizing to cops for lying, claiming he had been ‘in a very bad place.’ Murdaugh said he was in the grips of a 20-year opioid addiction and had been paying Smith up to $60,000 a week for pills, including Oxycontin.

‘When withdrawals begin, you’ll do just about anything to make ’em quit,’ he told the cops.

Murdaugh suffered a surface wound and was loaded into an ambulance at the scene where cops joined him inside the vehicle. Murdaugh told the police that 'a nice-looking man' approached him offering help with the flat before shooting him

Murdaugh suffered a surface wound and was loaded into an ambulance at the scene where cops joined him inside the vehicle. Murdaugh told the police that ‘a nice-looking man’ approached him offering help with the flat before shooting him

Alex Murdaugh looks to defense attorney Dick Harpootlian during Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday

Alex Murdaugh looks to defense attorney Dick Harpootlian during Murdaugh’s double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday

Curtis Smith

Curtis Smith

Murdaugh later told authorities he hired Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, 61,(pictured)  to shoot him. But the 911 call reveals he had initially described his alleged shooter as a ‘younger’, ‘white fella’ with ‘really, really short hair’

The defense has battled to keep the evidence of the roadside shooting out of court throughout the trial. But yesterday defense attorney Jim Griffin ‘opened the door’ for the prosecution when he questioned a police officer about how Murdaugh was paying $50,000 a week to Smith to fund his opioid addiction. 

Prosecutors argue the evidence is vital to proving why Murdaugh killed his wife and son as his life was spiraling out of control after he was fired for embezzling millions from his firm and clients.

The State was expected to rest its case on Wednesday but the introduction of the roadside shooting means that may not do so before next week.  

Following the roadside shooting, cops discovered Smith was the driver after spotting the pick up truck used in the crime at his home in Walterboro.

Investigators obtained a search warrant and found narcotics as well as a ledger detailing numbers, payments and pills. A probe of Smith’s bank accounts also revealed numerous payments worth hundreds of thousands from Murdaugh.

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After establishing the ties with Smith, the police requested another interview with Murdaugh but his defense attorney Dick Harpootlian said the legal scion was going to a rehab facility in Atlanta, Georgia. 

To the dissatisfaction of cops, they were instead offered a phone interview during which Harpootlian – who is now Murdaugh’s lead trial lawyer – asked him to explain the scheme with Smith. 

Murdaugh said on the day of the roadside shooting he met with his long-time friend and lawyer colleague Chris Wilson to discuss ‘everything I had done … Finances, pills, lies.’

He told cops he was ‘suffering from withdrawals’ and believed ‘it would make it easier on my family for me to be dead’.

Following the meeting with Wilson, he called Smith, who he described ‘as the premier person I purchased pills from’, and they met at a gas station. Murdaugh told cops he knew Smith got the drugs ‘from a black guy in Walterboro,’ but that was the extent of his knowledge.

‘I told him that things was getting ready to get really bad and things would be better off if I wasn’t here. And I asked him to shoot me,’ Murdaugh said.

‘At first he was a little surprised, but then he said okay,’ he added.

Murdaugh said he handed Eddie a .38 revolver pistol at the gas station. 

He told the cops: ‘I told him follow me out and I would make a flat tire and that he would come pass me and then turn around and then go do it.’

A composite sketch of the man Murdaugh described to cops had shot him on the roadside, bearing no resemblance to Curtis Smith

A composite sketch of the man Murdaugh described to cops had shot him on the roadside, bearing no resemblance to Curtis Smith

CCTV footage shows Eddie Smith's pick-up truck. Murdaugh initially told cops it was a newer model Chevy or GMC, fitted with sporty off-road tires

CCTV footage shows Eddie Smith’s pick-up truck. Murdaugh initially told cops it was a newer model Chevy or GMC, fitted with sporty off-road tires

Murdaugh listens as his 911 call from the September 4 roadside shooting was played to jurors Thursday

Murdaugh listens as his 911 call from the September 4 roadside shooting was played to jurors Thursday

He admitted slashing his own tire with a knife, on the rear driver’s side wheel before tossing the blade across the road.

Murdaugh said: ‘I stood close to his car and he shot me. He missed and hit me in the back of the head. I lost my vision for a little bit, I’m not sure if it knocked me to the ground but I was disorientated and it took me a few minutes to recover.’

He broke down during the call as he admitted that the scheme was designed to provide money for Buster. He knew his life was insured for between $10 to $12million.

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The disbarred attorney said Smith never tried to get him to reconsider or stop the plan from going ahead. Murdaugh said he made no payment to Smith to shoot him.

The cops then took over the call from Harpootlian, with Murdaugh prefacing his answers by saying: ‘Before we start I just wanna tell you I apologize to you for lying to you when I was in the hospital, I was in a very bad place.’

On September 4, the day of the roadside shooting, Murdaugh called 911 shortly after 2pm, telling the dispatcher: ‘I got a flat tire and I stopped, and somebody stopped to help me and when I turned my back they tried to shoot me.’ 

Murdaugh suffered a surface wound and was loaded into an ambulance at the scene. Cops joined him inside the vehicle and he told them that ‘a nice-looking man’ approached him offering help with the flat before shooting him. 

Despite his injury, he seemed lucid in the ambulance and gave details about how he believed he was hit with a shotgun, noting the firearm sounded ‘very loud,’ despite them telling him he was struck by a small caliber bullet.

Murdaugh said the shooter was in a blue Chevy or GMC and mentioned he had briefly lost his vision afterward.

He was interviewed again after being airlifted to a hospital in Savannah.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigator Ryan Kelly told jurors how the disbarred attorney told him he was driving on Old Salkahatchie Road when he ‘hit something significant, causing his tire to go flat’.

He told cops the shooter was in a dark-colored, blue, newer model Chevy pick-up truck with sport tires which passed around and came back to his location.

He again described the suspect as a ‘very nice looking male’, between 30 and 40 years of age, with close cropped hair.

A composite sketch of the man Murdaugh described was later produced, bearing no resemblance to Smith.

Kelly told the court Murdaugh initially told them he was shot with a shotgun in the ambulance but in hospital told them it was possibly a .22 rifle.

Cops were unable to find any trace on the road of what Murdaugh said caused the blow out. The tire also appeared to have been slashed with a knife. 

Old Salkehatchie Rd in Hampton, SC South Carolina, where Alex Murdaugh was shot by Curtis Eddie Smith

Old Salkehatchie Rd in Hampton, SC South Carolina, where Alex Murdaugh was shot by Curtis Eddie Smith

Paul, Margaret, Alex and Buster (from left to right). The legal scion has admitted to stealing millions from his housekeeper's sons and his law firm, but denies any involvement in the murders of his wife and son

Paul, Margaret, Alex and Buster (from left to right). The legal scion has admitted to stealing millions from his housekeeper’s sons and his law firm, but denies any involvement in the murders of his wife and son

A folding knife was recovered across the road from where Murdaugh’s vehicle was recovered.

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Forensic analysis of the knife showed it contained DNA from Alex Murdaugh and Eddie Smith. 

In a subsequent police interview, Murdaugh admitted he and Smith were behind the scheme in order to earn a life insurance payout, saying he believed it would just be ‘easier for everyone’.

Murdaugh said the knife recovered from the scene was his and that he had tossed it over the road.

The evidence comes before jurors today after defense attorney Griffin on Wednesday asked SLED agent David Owen about whether he was aware that Murdaugh had been paying up to $50,000 a week to Smith to fetch drugs and supply his opioid addiction.

Griffin suggested the money was being paid to the ‘Cowboy’ drug gang in Walterboro, but that Smith had been skimming funds off the top.

The defense attorney insinuated one of the Cowboys could be a suspect in Paul and Maggie’s murders, and asked why their cell phones and DNA were never evaluated.

Judge Clifton Newman ruled on the side of the State that this had opened the door for the prosecution to put the September shooting before the jury.

Prosecutors argue the evidence helps to prove why Murdaugh was motivated to kill his wife and son – to distract from his financial crimes which had come to a head ‘like a gathering storm’.

TIMELINE: NIGHT OF THE KILLINGS 

Alex Murdaugh, 54, is accused of shooting his wife, Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, at the family’s hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of June 7, 2021. 

Here are the key events in the timeline laid out by prosecutors:

At 7.56pm, Paul sent a Snapchat video to friends showing the 22-year-old riding around the estate with his father.

At 8.15pm, Murdaugh’s wife Maggie arrived home and the trio ate dinner together. Autopsies showed similar stomach contents in Maggie and Paul.

About 8.30pm, Paul’s phone starts moving towards the kennels. 

Then at 8.44pm, a second video taken by Paul at the kennels – soon to become a murder scene – allegedly proves that Maggie, Paul and Alex were together.

At 8.49pm the prosecution say Paul’s phone locked and went silent forever, never to send another text or make another call.

Between 9pm and 9.30pm, Paul and Maggie were killed – according to the coroner.

At 9.06pm, Murdaugh’s car is fired up.

The alleged killer said he went to go visit his mother, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in Almeda – around a 15-minute drive. 

At 10.07pm, Murdaugh called 911 claiming he had arrived home a to find his wife and son shot dead.

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