A man arranged for someone to have him killed so that his son could collect on his $10 million life insurance policy, it has been claimed.
According to the 53-year-old's attorney, Richard Harpootlian, he had begun suffering from depression following the death of his son and wife earlier this year and was trying to get off opioids at the time, too.
He allegedly believed that his insurance policy had a suicide clause, which led him to hire a hitman to kill him during a 'fake car breakdown'.
Mr Harpootlian said his client was trying to protect his child.
In a statement, Mr Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, who is also representing Murdaugh, said he felt that suicide was the 'only option'.
However, they said he now understands that this is 'not true' and is cooperating with police.
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 confirmed that Curtis Edward Smith had been arrested on a number of charges, including assisted suicide, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
According to reports, the 61-year-old was represented by Murdaugh in a 2013 speeding case.
Documents claim that Murdaugh furnished Smith with the gun, with him admitting that the plan was for him to be killed and for his son to collect the money on his death.
Mr Harpootlian told NBC News his client is cooperating with police and that it was he who contacted them because he didn't want to waste police resources on this when they could be investigating the murders of his wife and son.
Margaret and Paul were found dead near dog kennels on the family's hunting property in Colleton County, west of Charleston, earlier this summer.
According to reports, state investigators believe the pair were murdered.
Mr Harpootlian said his client regrets his actions and now expects him to be charged by police for 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."
Mr Harpootlian also stated that Murdaugh had nothing to do with the deaths of his wife and son, adding that "he is totally distraught."
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