Alex Murdaugh’s lawyer says he may know who killed the South Carolina legal scion’s wife and son earlier this year though he does expect his client to be arrested for embezzling funds from a law firm to fuel an addiction to painkillers.
Attorney Dick Harpootlian says that Murdaugh, 53, was addicted to opioids and fell into depression after the deaths of his wife and son when he allegedly hired a hitman to kill him so that his surviving child could collect a $10million life insurance policy.
‘He was in a dark, dark, dark place and he wanted to help his remaining son, Buster, in any way he could,’ Harpootlian says.
‘He thought this was the only way he could leave him with anything.’
Harpootlian says that his client, who suffered a gunshot wound to the head while changing a tire on a rural highway on September 4, hatched the scheme ‘to protect his child’ – 25-year-old Buster Murdaugh.
He also says that the motive for the June 7 murder of his wife, Maggie, 52, and son, Paul, 22, was ‘personal’ and that the identity of the suspect could be revealed sometime this week.
Harpootlian acknowledged that Murdaugh is likely to be arrested for allegedly misappropriating millions from his own law firm.
Alex Murdaugh’s lawyer, Dick Harpootlian (left), says he knows who killed the South Carolina legal scion’s wife and son earlier this year though he does expect his client to be arrested for embezzling funds from a law firm to fuel an addiction to painkillers. Murdaugh is seen right with his late wife, Maggie
Paul and Maggie (together left) were shot dead on June 7. Police say Alex Murdaugh (center) orchestrated a separate shooting to kill himself with the help of a hitman, in a scheme to deliver a $10 million life insurance payout to his other son Buster (right) as the elder Murdaugh faced investigation over misallocated funds
Harpootlian told TODAY that he and another lawyer visited Murdaugh at an out-of-state detox facility on Monday.
He said it was the first time he and the other lawyer, Jim Griffin, spoke to Murdaugh ‘when he wasn’t on opioids of Oxy (oxycodone).’
‘He clearly knew that what he had done was wrong,’ Harpootlian told NBC’s TODAY on Wednesday.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on Tuesday on charges of assisted suicide in the alleged insurance fraud scheme
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on Tuesday charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Smith, from Walterboro, South Carolina, is a former client of Murdaugh, 53, who represented him in minor traffic matters as well as a 2015 lawsuit that Smith filed against a forest management company.
According to police, Murdaugh paid him to shoot him in the head and kill him, making it look like a random, drive-by attack.
But the plan failed as the shot only grazed his head, according to state police.
On June 7, the bodies of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found by Alex Murdaugh at their South Carolina home.
Alex Murdaugh immediately identified himself on the 911 call and told the operator his ‘wife and child have been shot’ near dog kennels on his property.
‘I’ve been up to it now. It’s bad,’ Murdaugh said.
Exclusive DailyMail.com photos show Richard Alexander ‘Buster’ Murdaugh Jr. at the family’s Edisto Island property in South Carolina on Monday. Buster is Alex Murdaugh’s sole surviving heir after the murder of his brother Paul in June
Investigators work the scene where Alex Murdaugh was shot in the head and injured on Sept. 4, 2021 after he had car trouble on a rural road in in Hampton County, S.C.
During the 911 call, dogs could be heard barking in the background and Murdaugh sounded deeply upset and agitated.
He told the operator several times that neither his son or wife was breathing.
No arrests have been made.
Harpootlian adds ‘The murder of his wife and son 90 days ago took a tremendous toll on him.’
The lawyer denied that Alex Murdaugh had anything to do with the deaths of his wife and son.
‘He did not murder them. He is totally distraught about their deaths,’ Harpootlian tells NBC’s TODAY.
The lawyer says that in the time he has spent with the family, they were ‘affectionate’ with each other and that there was no indication Alex Murdaugh wanted to do them harm.
Harpootlian also claims that he and Griffin are pursuing leads and have gathered information that may implicate a suspect in the June killings of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
The attorney says that he and Griffin have zeroed in on ‘an individual or individuals we believe – may – have some culpability’ or had carried out the murder.
‘We think we’ll know this week whether the one suspect we’re looking at bears further scrutiny and we’ll make that information available to law enforcement,’ Harpootlian says.
When asked what motive this individual may have had in killing Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, Harpootlian says: ‘Well, that would reveal who that person is, but it’s personal.’
‘The motive would be personal.’
Harpootlian says that his client used ‘the vast majority’ of the funds that he is alleged to have embezzled from his law firm ‘to buy drugs.’
The attorney says that he made Alex Murdaugh available for interviews with South Carolina law enforcement.
According to Harpootlian, Alex Murdaugh told investigators that he wrote personal checks to ‘drug dealers’ to obtain the painkillers.
The lawyer says that he left a paper trail that law enforcement officials are now looking at.
When asked if he expects Alex Murdaugh to be arrested, Harpootlian replies: ‘Yes, I think he will be charged.
‘But what he doesn’t want – and we don’t want – is an effort to deal with these issues [which] distract from law enforcement resources that could be used to solve the murders of Maggie and Paul.’
At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was awaiting trial on a charge of boating under the influence causing death in a February 2019 crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Whether local law enforcement agencies tried to obstruct the investigation into the boating death is also being reviewed by state officials.
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