Murdaugh Boat Crash, Long Island Serial Killer, Fentanyl Epidemic – Week In Review 7/22/2023

Recapping another big week of headlines …

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It was another big week of headlines at our news outlet as the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga continued to generate attention – this time on the civil side of the ledger. The $20 million settlement reached in the wrongful death action brought by the late Mallory Beach’s family closed a central chapter in this saga – delivering some long-awaited justice to Beach’s family.

The settlement also delivered some controversy, though … which we dove into headfirst on this week’s edition of the ‘Week in Review.’

Looking beyond the Murdaughs, our Jenn Wood and Callie Lyons explored the South Carolina connections to the suspected Long Island Serial Killer – whose arrest last week is renewing public attention on hundreds of cold cases and missing persons mysteries across the country.



Finally, we included an excerpt from an emotional interview earlier this week with Janet Smoak. Janet is a patient accounts director at West Columbia’s Lexington Medical Center who lost her son – 24-year-old Justin Smoak – to an accidental fentanyl overdose two years ago.

Listening to Janet tell her story – and Justin’s story – puts an indelible perspective on America’s worsening fentanyl epidemic. We’ve covered this crisis on so many fronts (see here and here), but until you listen to someone who has lived through the tragic consequences of it … it doesn’t fully sink in.

While this post was being written, our founding editor Will Folks was trading texts with Janet. She sent him this picture of Justin’s gravesite, which she and her husband were preparing ahead of the two-year anniversary of his death (next Tuesday) …

(Click to View)

Flowers adorn the gravesite of Justin Smoak. (Janet Smoak)

“It helped for me to take care of him a little,” Janet told me.

And the flowers placed over the headstone?

“Twenty-four white roses for the years he lived,” she said. “Two purple roses for the years he’s been gone. And lavender because he liked the way it smells.”

Janet also reminded me that purple is the color for fentanyl overdose awareness … a cause to which she is devoting herself in honor of her son’s memory.

Thanks again to Janet for her willingness to sit down with me and share her family’s story …

By the way, last week’s show is officially the most-watched episode of the ‘Week in Review‘ ever – so thanks to everyone who tuned in! We hope all those new viewers will keep watching and remember, if you want to help us out please subscribe to our channel – and to this news outlet!




Suspected Serial Killer Has Ties To South Carolina


Boat Crash Settles


Interview With Janet Smoak



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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1 comment

stephen henry Top fan July 22, 2023 at 8:18 pm

When you proudly proclaim you present “the truth”, what you mean is “the truth according to Will Folks’s libertarian-laced interpretations”.


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