Curtis “Cousin Eddie” Smith has claimed that Alex Murdaugh made a bombshell confession about his wife and son’s murders before orchestrating the now-infamous botched hitman plot.
Mr Smith – a former law firm client, distant cousin and alleged drug dealer of Murdaugh – is facing a string of charges over the 4 September 2021 incident where he allegedly shot the double murderer in the head along the side of a road in Hampton County.
Now, in the new series of Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, released on Wednesday, the 62-year-old revealed never-before-heard details about the bizarre encounter.
Mr Smith claimed that Murdaugh begged him to shoot him in an assisted suicide scheme – a shocking request that he said he refused.
When he asked Murdaugh why he wanted him to kill him, Mr Smith revealed that Murdaugh had given a chilling response where he all but confessed to murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul three months earlier.
“Because they’re going to be able to prove that I’m responsible for Maggie and Paul,” Murdaugh allegedly said.
Murdaugh was convicted of Maggie and Paul’s murders this March and sentenced to life in prison but continues to insist his innocence. He is currently in the midst of a legal fight to be granted a new trial.
Mr Smith’s account comes as both he and Murdaugh are facing charges over the bizarre botched hitman plot – three months on from the 7 June 2021 double murders and one day after Murdaugh was ousted from his law firm for stealing millions of dollars in funds from clients.
Mr Smith said in the show that he had known Murdaugh since the late 80s or early 90s as he knew the legal dynasty heir’s father Randolph.
“I’m half Murdaugh – dont tell them that,” he said, laughing.
Mr Smith said that he was friends with Murdaugh and he had also done “a bit of work” for him over the years such as running errands or “general land clearing work”.
That morning on 4 September 2021, Mr Smith said Murdaugh had called him about 10am or 10.30am and asked what he was doing.
“He said can you run over this way in a minute. He told me to meet him at the funeral home in Varnville,” he said.
Mr Smith said that he drove to meet Murdaugh and looked up and saw the now-convicted killer driving down the road towards him. He had his sun visor pulled round his windshield and windows rolled up so as to keep his face hidden, Mr Smith said.
When Mr Smith asked him what he was doing, he said Murdaugh replied that “I don’t need to be seen in town”.
Murdaugh told him that he believed he was being watched by SLED.
“And I said ‘why they watching you?’” said Mr Smith.
Murdaugh allegedly replied: “Well he said, ‘well you know about what happened.’”
“I said ‘what out in Moselle?’” said Mr Smith, about the family home where Maggie and Paul had been gunned down.
When Murdaugh confirmed that was what he was referring to, Mr Smith said he asked him “what did happen” that fateful night.
Murdaugh is said to have given the damning response: “Things just got all f***ed up.”
After that, Mr Smith said Murdaugh asked him if he loved him.
“Yeah, I love you like a brother you know that, do ’most anything for you,” said Mr Smith.
It was at that moment that Mr Smith said Murdaugh asked him to shoot and kill him.
Mr Smith said he refused, insisting that he told him that “ain’t happening, not today, not tomorrow”.
When he refused, Murdaugh allegedly told him that he would have to “do it myself” and “took off”.
Mr Smith said he went after him in his vehicle out of “pure concern” – not just for Murdaugh but for the family who had just lost Maggie and Paul and Murdaugh’s father (who died just three days after the murders).
After catching up with him, Mr Smith said Murdaugh confronted him with a gun – prompting him to try to “scare some sense into him”.
“When I pulled up there and I rolled the window down he’s coming up to my window with a gun. I figured I’d scare some sense into him,” he said.
Mr Smith claimed he fired his own gun up into the air and Murdaugh threw himself onto the ground.
The alleged co-conspirator insisted that he didn’t shoot Murdaugh and that there was “no blood on him” so he just “went home”.
But Murdaugh called 911, claiming he was ambushed in a drive-by shooting while changing a tire on his vehicle.
He was taken to hospital where he was treated for what police called a “superficial gunshot wound to the head”.
Mr Smith said in the Netflix show that the scratches on Murdaugh’s head came “not from a bullet” but from rocks at the side of the road from when Murdaugh leaped onto the ground when he fired his gun.
For several days on from the incident, Murdaugh kept up the lie about being ambushed, and even spent hours constructing an imaginary assailant with a police sketch artist.
But, Murdaugh’s story quickly unravelled.
One week later on 13 September, he confessed to law enforcement that he had orchestrated the whole saga, claiming that he asked Mr Smith to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $12m life insurance windfall.
Both he and Mr Smith were arrested and charged over the incident.
Mr Smith said that he was surprised and “didn’t take it seriously” when police began asking him questions about what happened.
“I didn’t ask for an attorney – I had nothing to hide from them,” he said in the Netflix show.
“I really didn’t take it seriously to be honest with you. I knew I hadn’t shot his ass but he damn sure tried to tell everybody I did or he told everybody I did.”
The roadside shooting incident propelled Mr Smith into Murdaugh’s sprawling crime saga, with the 62-year-old soon facing rumours of his involvement in the convicted killer’s financial crimes, drug dealing – and even in Maggie and Paul’s murders.
Murdaugh’s legal team pushed the allegation that Mr Smith may have been responsible for the killings.
In the Netflix show, Mr Smith strongly denied any part in the murders, saying “there’s nobody that deserves that”.
He also denied being Murdaugh’s drug dealer.
But, Mr Smith has been hit with a string of charges in connection to Murdaugh’s financial fraud schemes and is accused of helping him with a drug and $2.4m money laundering ring.
In “Murdaugh Murders”, Mr Smith admitted that he cashed a lot of checks for Murdaugh over around an eight to 10 year period but suggested that he was not aware of any criminal activity.
“I asked several times ‘this isn’t money laundering is it?’” he said, to which he claimed Murdaugh told him he was just doing him a favour.
He also claimed that he was doing “nothing other than me running errands for him” – including delivering packages for him, such as to and from small airports.
On at least one occasion, he said he heard the rattling of a pill bottle inside a package.
At some point, Mr Smith said he “wanted out” of the arrangement but Murdaugh then “implied” that his daughter would be in danger if he did – pointing to the power the Murdaugh family wielded in the Lowcountry.
But, despite suggesting he was also fooled by Murdaugh, others in the show are less sure.
“Eddie smith was called the fourth Murdaugh. He helped clean up whatever the Murdaughs needed cleaning up,” said Colleton County Clerk of Court Becky Hill.
The release of the new Netflix series comes as Murdaugh is headed to court on Thursday to face federal financial charges.
In that case, he has reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors – admitting that he stole millions of dollars from law firm clients for his own personal benefit.
In the agreement, signed and filed in South Carolina US District Court on Monday, the double murderer confirmed he will plead guilty to 22 federal charges including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
While Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from clients during bombshell courtroom testimony at his murder trial, this marks the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime.