Alex Murdaugh waived handling of his son’s estate days before botched suicide, fraud scheme, records show

Alex Murdaugh, scion of South Carolina‘s prominent law dynasty, renounced his right to personally represent the estate of his younger son, Paul, just eight days before he called 911 to report that he had been shot in the head in what his defense attorney has since claimed was part of a botched scheme to organize his own death so that his surviving son, Buster, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. 

On Aug. 27, Murdaugh, 53, signed away the right to personally represent the estate for his deceased son Paul, who at age 22 was found murdered at the family’s hunting estate in June, according to court records recently obtained by The State, a newspaper based in Columbia, S.C. Alex Murdaugh requested that his brother, Randolph Murdaugh IV, take over the handling of the estate after it went to probate. 

Meanwhile, the estate for Maggie Murdaugh remains closed. 


The move came just days after 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone recused himself from the investigation into Paul and Maggie Murdaugh’s murders, instead deferring to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. The Murdaugh family have held the elected office previously for three generations. 

Alex Murdaugh dialed 911 on June 7, telling dispatchers that he came home to find his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, shot and lying on the ground outside of kennels on the family’s property in Islandton, located in Colleton County. No arrests have been made in connection to the double murder. 

Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C. Murdaugh surrendered Thursday to face insurance fraud and other charges after state police said he arranged to have himself shot in the head so that his son would get a $10 million life insurance payout. 
(AP Photo/Mic Smith)

Records show that Colleton County Probate Court Judge Ashley H. Amundson then certified Randolph Murdaugh IV’s application to represent the estate on Sept. 2. Randolph Murdaugh IV, who is Paul’s uncle, is still listed as an attorney on the website for the law firm, PMPED, in Hampton, South Carolina. 

PMPED confronted Alex Murdaugh on Sept. 3 about him allegedly misappropriating funds. Reports claim Murdaugh embezzled at least over $1 million, but the firm has not publicly given a number.  

Murdaugh dialed 911 himself at 1:34 p.m. on Sept. 4 after suffering what authorities said was a superficial gunshot wound to the head. He was transported to a hospital and survived. 

By Sept. 6, Alex Murdaugh resigned from the law firm, releasing a statement that he “made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” and was entering a drug rehabilitation facility. The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said that Murdaugh later admitted to conspiring to organize his own death so that his 26-year-old son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. 

Murdaugh said he provided, 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith, a former legal client and his alleged longtime drug dealer, with a firearm, and they both headed to Old Salkehatchie Road in Varnille located in Hampton County on Sept. 4. Smith allegedly fired once, grazing Murdaugh, before driving off.


Smith was charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. His bond was set at $55,000 on Thursday and he was later released from custody, claiming in a subsequent interview from his porch that he had been framed by Murdaugh. 

Murdaugh turned himself in later Thursday morning. SLED confirmed he was arrested and charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, along with filing a false police report. Hampton County Magistrate Judge Tonja Alexander set his bond at $20,000, and he was released on his own recognizance. He was allowed to return to an out-of-state rehabilitation facility without GPS monitoring.

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