A South Carolina man accused of assisting lawyer Alex Murdaugh with a failed suicide ploy to collect a $10 million life insurance policy was arrested again, authorities said.
Curtis Edwards Smith, 61, was taken into custody Friday, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The charges include four counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, and criminal conspiracy, NBC affiliate WCBD-TV of Charleston reported. It’s unclear if the new charges are connected to the Murdaugh case.
Smith was previously arrested in September after investigators said Murdaugh gave him a gun and directed Smith to kill him. Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and drug offenses.
According to documents, Murdaugh allegedly admitted to law enforcement that the plan was for Smith to kill him so that Murdaugh’s son could collect a life insurance policy worth about $10 million. The Associated Press reported that Murdaugh had been Smith’s lawyer in a 2013 speeding case.
Murdaugh survived the Sept. 4 shooting, which happened months after the unsolved killings of his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and his other son, Paul. The pair was found dead at the family’s home in rural Islandton, South Carolina, about 65 miles west of Charleston.
Alex Murdaugh reported the deaths to 911, telling a dispatcher that he had returned home and found his wife and son on the ground and not breathing. Their deaths were ruled a double homicide.
Richard Harpootlian, an attorney for Murdaugh, said his client had nothing to do with the murders. Murdaugh has never been charged in the deaths.
Harpootlian previously said on NBC’s “TODAY” show that Murdaugh became depressed after the deaths and started using opioids. The lawyer said Murdaugh believed there was a suicide clause in his insurance policy and enlisted a man to kill him during a “fake car breakdown.”
The ploy was an “attempt on his part to do something to protect his child,” Harpootlian said. In a written statement, Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, another attorney for Murdaugh, said their client “believed that ending his life was his only option” but now “knows that’s not true.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.