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Bond set at $20k for Alex Murdaugh in $10M insurance fraud scheme

Attorney Alex Murdaugh enters a Hampton County courtroom Thursday afternoon for his bond...
Attorney Alex Murdaugh enters a Hampton County courtroom Thursday afternoon for his bond hearing on three charges related to an alleged insurance scheme.(WTOC)
Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 11:35 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 16, 2021 at 11:38 PM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC/WTOC) - Alex Murdaugh was given a $20,000 personal recognizance bond during a court hearing on Thursday on charges in connection with a Sept. 4 shooting investigators say was an insurance fraud scheme.

Murdaugh, 53, was in court after being arrested earlier on Thursday on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, along with filing a false police report. The charges stem from an incident on Labor Day weekend in which state investigators say Murdaugh provided a man with a gun and directed him to fatally shoot him in the head so that Murdaugh’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

Murdaugh was given a $10,000 bond on the insurance fraud charge, $5,000 for filing a false police report charge, and $5,000 for the conspiracy to commit insurance fraud charge. He only has to pay the money if he fails to show up for his next court appearance.

As a condition of the bond he had to hand over his passport and willingly agree to return to rehab which is outside of the state. Officials with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, who are prosecuting the case, had requested a $100,000 surety bond and a GPS monitor, but the judge said as long as Murdaugh stays at rehab a monitor would not be required.

If Murdaugh leaves the rehab center, the judge said he would be arrested.

Murdaugh’s attorneys said the $100,000 bond amount was not needed as their client was not a danger to the community, and the only person who was in danger was Murdaugh. Dick Harpootlian, one of Murdaugh’s lawyers, said up until these charges, his client “had no blemish on his character,” and had a significant opioid addiction that led him into financial issues and this situation.

According to his lawyers, Murdaugh said he wanted to “tell the truth,” and called agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to tell them every element involving the charges he’s facing.

“He wants to cooperate with law enforcement,” Harpootlian said.

Alex Murdaugh was booked into the Hampton County Detention Center Thursday morning.
Alex Murdaugh was booked into the Hampton County Detention Center Thursday morning.(Hampton County Detention Center)

Affidavits allege Murdaugh conspired with Curtis Smith in the area of Old Salkehatchie Road to have Smith help Murdaugh commit suicide. Investigators say Murdaugh gave Smith a firearm and directed Smith to fatally shoot him in the head so that Murdaugh’s son could receive a life insurance death benefit of approximately $10 million.

Court documents state Murdaugh also admitted to deflating his own tire with a knife. After the shooting, Smith allegedly left the area and disposed of the gun, court documents state.

Murdaugh provided a statement to SLED admitting to the scene on Monday, the affidavit states, adding that Smith admitted the next day to being present during Murdaugh’s shooting and disposing of the gun.

Alex Murdaugh, second from right, is shown turning himself in on Thursday at the Hampton...
Alex Murdaugh, second from right, is shown turning himself in on Thursday at the Hampton County, S.C., jail.(Source: CNN)

Murdaugh arrived at the Hampton County Detention Center shortly after 11 a.m. Thursday.

Judge sets bond for man accused of shooting Murdaugh

Smith faced a bond court judge in Hampton County earlier Thursday morning on charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection with the Labor Day weekend shooting of Murdaugh.

A judge set bond for Smith at $55,000.

Murdaugh’s other son, Paul, 22; and his wife, Maggie, 52; were shot to death at the family’s property in the Islandton community of Colleton County on June 7. There have been no arrests in their deaths.

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