Buster Murdaugh listens to his father, Alex Murdaugh’s, recorded interview where he describes a suicide attempt he planned during his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday, February 16, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool
MurdaughsUncategorized

Buster Murdaugh Files Defamation Lawsuit

Son of convicted killer accuses multiple defendants of “reckless indifference to the truth” for linking him to Stephen Smith’s death …

Richard Alexander “Buster” Murdaugh Jr. has filed a defamation lawsuit against several media companies for falsely accusing him in connection with the 2015 murder of Stephen Smith “with reckless indifference to the truth.” The complaint (.pdf) – filed in Hampton County last Friday (June 14, 2024) – seeks actual and punitive damages against these companies for damaging his reputation “irreparably.”

Smith was found dead in the middle of Sandy Run Road in the early morning hours of July 8, 2015 – a case that has confounded law enforcement for nearly a decade. Despite Smith’s exhumation, the conducting of a second autopsy and the convening of a statewide grand jury investigation within the last two years – no one has been criminally charged with his homicide.

Or with any crime related to his death, for that matter …

Murdaugh, 28, is the lone surviving son of disgraced attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh – whom a jury found guilty of murdering his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh on the evening of June 7, 2021. Buster Murdaugh was not questioned by law enforcement regarding Smith’s death – but his name appeared in multiple early reports – often as the subject of rumors about the crime.

The eight defendants named in the lawsuit included the creators and distributors of three documentary series, a local newspaper, and its editor – Blackfin, Inc., Warner Bros Discovery, Inc., Warner Media Entertainment Pages, Inc., Campfire Studios Inc., The Cinemart LLC, Netflix, Inc., Gannett Co. Inc. and Michael M. DeWitt, Jr – the editor of the Hampton County Guardian.

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According to the filing, Buster’s “reputation has been irreparably damaged, and he has suffered mental anguish” as a result of the narrative carried by the defendants. In particular, the filing points to the Discovery, Inc. series “Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty”, the HBO series “Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty”, and the Netflix series “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal” in which DeWitt appears and makes statements about the Guardian’s coverage of Smith’s death. 

“The false statements have been published to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of viewers who watched the show, including viewers in South Carolina, and the defamatory statements continue to be republished as of the filing of this action across a broad array of streaming platforms and channels,” the complaint said. 

Buster is being represented by attorney Shaun Kent – who recently made headlines as the defense attorney for Victor Lee “Buddy” Turner and Megan Renee Turner (f.k.a. Pamela Turner). The Turners were indicted in January 2024 for the murder of five-year-old Justin Turner in 1989.

Those charges were dismissed earlier this month.

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THE COMPLAINT …

(S.C. Fourteenth Circuit)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author. Her 2007 book ‘Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal’ was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities – a story later told in the movie ‘Dark Waters’. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in ‘Citizen Sleuth’ – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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9 comments

River Top fan June 17, 2024 at 9:07 pm

Any leads on the real killers?

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The Colonel Top fan June 18, 2024 at 9:25 am

Harpo’s gonna have a lot of time to look!

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VERITAS Top fan June 18, 2024 at 2:34 am

Bus Bus is looking for money to live on, since he got kicked out of law school and can only manage menial jobs.

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CongareeCatfish Top fan June 18, 2024 at 11:39 am

There are some spoiled little shits in this world that I actually take some level of pity upon….Kim Jong Un is one….this guy is another. People who came from generations of wealthy, corrupt and/or evil parents and grandparents; they are surrounded by it, raised in it- what else do you expect them to become? As much of a snotty douchebag this kid may have been at some point, did he deserve to have his mother and brother murdered and his entire life laid out on an international dissection table? I personally don’t think so.

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Katie Top fan June 18, 2024 at 1:37 pm

The mental anguish should’ve come from the murders of his brother and mother. He sure didn’t look like he had mental anguish during the trial or in his documentary.

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Busta Dimes June 19, 2024 at 10:36 am

Spare a coin for a family annihilator’s golden boy?

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SubZeroIQ June 19, 2024 at 6:55 pm

Why all this cruelty just because you can or because the young man Buster Murdaugh (“BM”) was able to control himself during a grueling three-month trial only to collapse at the end and in private?
Here is what I wrote on another site modified for this thread:
Some wonder why it took BM so long to sue. It probably was beyond his control as he was hoping SLED would do the right thing and release the results of the “re-opened” investigation into Stephen Smith’s (“SS”) death before the statute of limitations (two years from discovery of the defamatory statement) in South Carolina expires. But apparently, SLED was aware of that and is so much in the pocket of ever-bluffing Eric Bland (“EBEB”) that it keeps delaying releasing the results (which COMPLETELY refute those baseball-bat lies and confirm the initial autopsy results) until the statute of limitations expires. So, BM had no choice but to act now and to allege that bit of the truth which is now available to him: SLED never notified him that HE is being investigated in SS’s death or is a person of interest or even a witness in the matter.
What has been done to BM is even worse than what the media did. Remember the man who yelled at Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) as he was being led away after being sentenced: “Your son is next Alex! Justice for Stephen Smith!”? That man went to BM’s and his girlfriend’s residence and tried to look through the girlfriend’s car windows to the point Ms. Brooklynn had to file report(s) with law enforcement.
I think, not only BM, but also Dr. Erin Presnell, the forensic pathologist who did the first autopsy, should sue Katie Couric, who said in an interview with Sandi Smith that Dr. Presnell is incompetent and should be barred from practicing.
My informed opinion is that SS intentionally walked into on-coming traffic to commit suicide disguised as a traffic accident. That happens a lot; and we are told that the suicide rate among gay teens is high. All other indications are that SS was very unhappy in every aspect of his life: financial, academic, romantic, and even substance use. Just because SS was gay does not mean he was a genius millionaire saint. In reality, he was closer to a flunky who created around himself and in own mind a fantasy world where he is desired by “older powerful men” etc. etc. THAT shall, God willing, come out in the “brutal discovery” and embarrass EBEB’s client. THAT is why EBEB is mad about the lawsuit being filed and is trying to attack it from the get go.
God speed and God bless Shaun Kent. He is the next Thurgood Marshall.

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Lord Barfington June 24, 2024 at 11:17 am

Hey Buster! Find out what happened to Oscar Wilde.

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Kidd Top fan July 3, 2024 at 1:31 am

Who is Oscar Wilde?

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