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SLED opens investigation into death of Gloria Satterfield

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 8:11 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS/WCSC) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has opened an investigation into the death of Gloria Satterfield.

SLED says the investigation is based upon a request from the Hampton County Coroner’s Office.

SLED has also gathered new information in connection with an ongoing investigation involving Alex Murdaugh.

Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers also released a statement blaming Murdaugh’s most recent life insurance fraud attempt on his opioid addiction.

State authorities said Tuesday that the man arrested in connection with the shooting of Alex Murdaugh planned it with Murdaugh so that Murdaugh’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

In response, Murdaugh’s lawyers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian released a statement saying that Murdaugh was pushed to suicide by many people feeding his addiction to opioids.

They allege that people were taking advantage of Murdaugh’s drug addiction for over 20 years and that Curtis Smith was one of those people.

Investigators say that Murdaugh provided Smith with a gun and directed Smith to shoot him in the head for the purpose of causing Murdaugh’s death and allowing for the payment of a stated “death benefit beneficiary.” State investigators say Murdaugh provided a statement to SLED admitting to the scheme of having Smith murder him for the purpose of his son collecting a life insurance policy.

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.

The statement released by Griffin and Harpootlian said Murdaugh is no longer suicidal and he is fully cooperating with the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division. It explained that Murdaugh doesn’t want the investigation into his shooting and opioid use to inhibit the search to find the person or people responsible for the murder of his wife and son.

Here is the complete statement released by Murdaugh’s lawyers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian:

On September 4, it became clear Alex believed that ending his life was his only option. Today, he knows that’s not true. For the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids. During that time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs. One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex’s life, by shooting him in the head. Fortunately, Alex was not killed by the gunshot wound. Alex is fully cooperating with SLED in their investigations into his shooting, opioid use and the search to find the person or people responsible for the murder of his wife and son. Alex is not without fault but he is just one of many whose life has been devastated by opioid addiction.

Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52; and their son, Paul, 22, were shot to death at the family’s hunting property in the rural Islandton community of Colleton County on June 7. Murdaugh himself made the grisly discovery and called 911 to report the killings.

The SLED investigation was requested by the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office.

RELATED STORY | TIMELINE: Key dates in the Murdaugh family investigations

Attorney Alex Murdaugh (left) was shot on Sept. 4. Curtis Smith (right) has been charged in...
Attorney Alex Murdaugh (left) was shot on Sept. 4. Curtis Smith (right) has been charged in connection with that shooting, the State Law Enforcement Division said.(Live/Colleton County Sheriff's Office)

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