From the moment he was subpoenaed a month ago to testify in the double homicide trial of disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, speculation has swirled as to what accused drug dealer/ Murdaugh check casher Curtis “Eddie” Smith would tell a jury in the event he were called to the witness stand.
Now we know …
According to multiple sources familiar with the contents of his envisioned testimony, Smith will tell jurors that Murdaugh confessed to him that he murdered his wife and younger son at the family’s hunting compound on June 7, 2021.
Murdaugh stands accused of killing his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, on that fateful evening. He has pleaded not guilty and is currently standing trial at the Colleton County courthouse – one of the many Lowcountry halls of justice where his powerful family, a regional legal dynasty, once ruled with impunity.
Murdaugh’s alleged confession to Smith was reportedly made 89 days after the killings during a bizarre roadside shooting incident that took place on the Old Salkehatchie Road.
For those of you unfamiliar with this incident, Smith stands accused of conspiring with Murdaugh on a botched suicide attempt – one ostensibly intended to help his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, collect on a $10 million life insurance policy.
Both Smith and Murdaugh have been criminally charged in connection with the roadside shooting. In fact, those charges – which were filed shortly after the incident– were the first criminal charges filed in connection with the still-expanding web of alleged criminality surrounding this Lowcountry lawyer.
Smith’s original statement to law enforcement was that he asked Murdaugh on the roadside what happened at Moselle three months earlier.
“It all got fucked up,” Murdaugh allegedly told Smith.
In recent weeks, Smith has reportedly expanded on this statement – affirming that Murdaugh did, in fact, expressly confess to the murders of Maggie and Paul.
At some point before or after this exchange, Smith is alleged to have fired at Murdaugh’s head – giving him what law enforcement sources described at the time as a “superficial head wound.”
And it turns out that yes, there actually was a head wound …
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Smith has long-maintained that “if I wanted to kill Alex, he’d be dead,” referring to the allegation that he shot Murdaugh in the head.
Coming so soon after the double homicide the roadside shooting propelled this saga onto the national stage – prompting much of the feeding frenzy to come (including many of the documentaries and other series either already released or soon to come out).
“We are on Salkehatchie Road and there is a male on the side of the road with blood all over him and he’s waving his hands,” a female witness told a dispatcher on one of the 9-1-1 calls released related to this incident. “He’s fine – he looks fine but it kinda looks like a set-up so we didn’t stop.”
Talk about a prophetic assessment of the situation …
Murdaugh told first responders and law enforcement he was shot by a passerby.
“I’m on Salkehatchie Road,” Murdaugh told a dispatcher. “I’m by the church.”
“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 continued.
“Were you shot?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes, but I mean I’m okay,” Murdaugh responded.
“You need EMS?” the dispatcher asked.
“Well, I mean, yes … I can’t drive,” Murdaugh “And I’m bleeding a lot.”
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It did not take long for the narrative advanced by Murdaugh to collapse. For starters, the Mercedes-Benz SUV driven by the 54-year-old attorney was equipped with run-flat tires – immediately debunking the lynchpin of his lie. Murdaugh’s attorney Griffin further alleged that his client’s tire “appeared to have been slashed,” even though the knife allegedly used to inflict this damage was quickly linked to Murdaugh.
Things went downhill from there …
Smith has been a fixture in the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga ever since the roadside shooting.
In addition to the charges relating to the roadside shooting, Smith has been accused of cashing more than 400 checks totaling at least $2.4 million at the behest of Murdaugh – funds which prosecutors allege supported “a myriad (of) unlawful activities” from 2013 through 2021. He is also staring down a slew of charges relating to drug trafficking with Murdaugh which were filed in an indictment in June.
Last October, Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, dropped a bombshell motion to compel asking the state to “produce all polygraph data, examiner notes, and quality control notes related to the polygraph examination of Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith on May 5, 2022”
Smith failed a polygraph related to the double homicide on that date, Harpootlian and Griffin asserted. In fact, they took it one step further …
“The state is turning a blind eye to the obvious, that the reason Smith failed the polygraph when asked if he murdered Maggie and Paul is because he in fact did commit these heinous crimes,” the attorneys wrote.
The motion also sought all evidence collected in search warrants executed at Smith’s home on September 7, 2021 and regarding Smith’s phone in September 2021 along with any records of interviews conducted with his girlfriend, Donna Eason. Additionally, the motion requested that the state disclose the results of all DNA testing done on Smith and if not, provide information explaining why testing wasn’t conducted.
Smith’s attorney Zmroczek has previously said she welcomed any DNA testing.
“We welcome any DNA testing,” she told me last fall. “(Smith) voluntarily gave his DNA over a year ago. They’ve had his DNA and they can test it … it can only help our case.”
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Smith has been detained at the Lexington County detention center for the past two months after his bond on multiple charges related to this saga was revoked by S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman, who is presiding over the Murdaugh trial.
The man known as “Cousin Eddie” has previously called Murdaugh “one of my best friends.”
“He’s like a brother to me,” he told WCIV TV-4 (ABC – Charleston, S.C.) last September.
Will the prosecution call Smith to the stand? It’s a gamble …
Clearly, testimony related to a confession from Murdaugh could be a key piece of evidence for jurors – but Smith’s credibility is likely to face withering scrutiny upon cross-examination from Murdaugh’s attorneys.
If he is called to testify, sources familiar with the case said Smith could be transported to Colleton County sometime “mid-to-late next week.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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