COLUMBIA -- A prominent South Carolina lawyer was charged Thursday with stealing insurance settlements meant to benefit the sons and daughters of his deceased housekeeper. The lawsuit claimed that the sum totalled more than $4million. State police announced this on Thursday.
Alex Murdaugh was taken into custody at a Orlando drug rehab facility. His attorneys claimed that he had been there for six weeks since he claimed he was shot in his head while driving on a lonely road close to his home.
This arrest is the latest in six state police investigations into Murdaugh.
The arrest of Murdaugh on Thursday for two felonies of obtaining property using false pretenses is related to Murdaugh's housekeeper over decades, Gloria Satterfield from the State Law Enforcement Division stated in a statement.
In a statement released to the media by their lawyers, Satterfield's family described it as a bittersweet day.
Lawyers Eric Bland, Ronald Richter stated that "avarice and betrayal to trust are at heart of this matter."
Murdaugh's family claimed that their mother fell over the dog, and she died from her injuries weeks later. The Hampton County coroner never reported the death. State police were asked to investigate why she wasn't called to look into what she would consider an accident death.
Murdaugh advised the sons to hire Cory Fleming, an attorney to handle their mother's estate. They didn't know Fleming was a friend, old college roommate, and godfather to at most one Murdaugh son.
As the investigation continues, both Murdaugh and Fleming have had their law licenses suspended .
Murdaugh's lawyers stated in a statement that Murdaugh "intends fully to cooperate with this investigation, just as he did with the investigation into his wife and son's murders." He regrets deeply that his actions have distracted them from solving their murders.
Murdaugh's wife and son died in June at their Colleton County home. The case remains unsolved. According to authorities, Murdaugh claimed that he found Maggie Murdaugh (52), and their son Paul (22), after returning home from visiting his father at the hospital.
Murdaugh was arrested in September for insurance fraud and other charges after reporting that his head had been grazed with a bullet by someone trying to shoot him.
Curtis Smith, also known as "Eddie", is accused of firing on Murdaugh. According to him, Murdaugh had asked him for his assistance on Sept. 4, but didn't tell Smith that he wanted Smith shooting him until he was at the side of the road.
Smith claimed that the gun went off because he was trying to stop Murdaugh shooting himself. Smith resisted the suggestion by Murdaugh's lawyers he was a drug dealer. He said he was friends with Murdaugh because he had helped him in a worker’s compensation case.
Smith said to an AP reporter, "With a friend such as that, who needs enemies?" He said as he limped about his property.
Smith stated last month that he was not sure if the bullet struck Murdaugh. He said that he grabbed his gun and drove off with it.
Smith stated, "There wasn't any blood on me; there wasn't blood on him."
Murdaugh's lawyers claim they have seen medical records that show Murdaugh was covered with blood after he was taken by helicopter to a hospital, but they have not made them available to the public.
Chief Mark Keel, State Law Enforcement Division, stated that Thursday's arrest was just one step in the long-running process of justice for all the investigations.
Keel stated, "As I've said before, we are committed following the facts wherever it may lead us and will not stop until justice has been served."