Lawyer hired hitman to kill him 'so son could collect $10m life insurance'
He hired the hitman to kill him during a 'fake car breakdown.'
A man in South Carolina arranged for someone to kill him so that his son could claim on his life insurance, it has been claimed.
But he managed to survive the shooting on September 4 and was left with only a "superficial wound."
Alex Murdaugh had been suffering from depression following the death of his wife Margaret and son Paul earlier this summer and was trying to get off opioids, according to his lawyer, Richard Harpootlian.
Murdaugh had believed that his life insurance contained a suicide clause, so he hired a hitman to kill him during a "fake car breakdown," in the hope that his remaining son would be able to collect on his $10 million policy.
In a statement, the 53-year-old's legal team said Murdaugh "believed that ending his life was his only option," but that he now understands this is "not true."
It read: "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."
South Carolina Police have confirmed that a man, Curtis Edward Smith, has been arrested on a number of charges related to the attempted killing, including assisted suicide, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Smith, 61, was represented by Murdaugh in a 2013 speeding case.
Documents claim that he gave Smith a gun, and admitted that the plan was for him to be killed and for his son to then collect the money on his death.
Harpootlian told NBC News his client is cooperating with police and that it was in fact Murdaugh who reported the incident to the authorities as he didn't want them wasting time investigating fake crimes. He added that his client regrets his actions and now expects him to be charged with attempting to fake his own death.
He said: "It was an attempt, on his part, to do something to protect his child.
"He didn't want law enforcement spending more time on this fake crime instead of focusing on solving the murders of Maggie and Paul."
Margaret and Paul were found dead near dog kennels on the family's hunting property in Colleton County, west of Charleston, earlier this summer.