Stephen Smith Grand Jury, Murdaugh Drama, Thornblade, Etc. – Week In Review 6/10/2023

A dramatic week …

Yesterday morning, our news outlet confirmed something which had been speculated about intently over the past few weeks: The existence of a South Carolina statewide grand jury investigation into the unsolved 2015 homicide of Stephen Smith of Hampton, S.C.

Smith’s death garnered international attention via its purported proximity to the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga – although at this point there is no evidence to suggest the Murdaugh family had anything to do with it. Indeed, investigators are chasing down other leads.

Two weeks ago, Lexington, S.C. attorney Eric Bland – one of the attorneys representing Smith’s mother, Sandy Smith – said he believed a grand jury had been empaneled in the case based on his conversations with chief Mark Keel of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

“(Keel) told me subpoenas are being issued – as well as warrants – and I believe there is a grand jury empaneled,” Bland said during a May 25, 2023 panel discussion on CourtTV.

Bland was right about that … but his recent statements to The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper claiming Smith’s case “has never been about the Murdaughs” are laughable. Readers of this news outlet know for a fact that’s not true.




The bombastic lawyer also missed the mark when he engaged in a juvenile tit-for-tat with rival attorneys (and this news outlet) over a bizarre motion filed in connection with a civil case tied to the Murdaugh saga. I address that drama in this week’s episode – along with the latest on an increasingly acrimonious “prosecutorial pissing contest” on the criminal side of this case.

In other news, we dug into a big corporate intrigue story out of Greenville, S.C. that could have a nexus to another unsolved mystery we previously covered – the 2020 Thornblade scandal. And last but not least, there was a metric ton of political news this past week … including the (latest) indictment of former U.S. president (and 2024 GOP frontrunner) Donald Trump.

As always, thanks to special projects director Dylan Nolan, research director Jenn Wood, and the rest of our team who strive every day to bring our audience the very best coverage of every story we feature.

Thank you for making those efforts possible with your subscriptions and support!




Stephen Smith Grand Jury Calling Witnesses, Reviewing Evidence


Lawyer Battle Rages On


Executive’s Resignation Draws Scrutiny


Donald Trump Hit With Federal Indictment
Ratings Blues For Nikki Haley, Mike Pence
Tim Scott: Conscience Of The GOP



Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

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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