Alex Murdaugh grimaces as the trial hears his bizarre 911 call after being shot in the head in a failed assassin plot

A visibly uncomfortable Alex Murdaugh grimaced as prosecutors made the 911 call in which he reported being shot in the head – in what turned out to be a failed plot by the assassin.

On the nineteenth day of Murdaugh’s trial, juries heard a bizarre call he made to 911 dispatchers moments after he was shot on the side of a road in Hampton County in September 2021. The shooting took place nearly three months after the murders of Murdaugh’s son, Paul. and wife Maggie, whom prosecutors say he executed to distract himself from his many financial and legal problems.

Murdaugh initially claimed that he was ambushed in the shootout while changing a tire on his vehicle, but soon after admitted to conspiring to pay a hitman to shoot him dead so that his surviving son, Buster, would inherit a $10 million life insurance policy.

“I have a flat tire. Someone stopped to help me, and when I turned my back, they tried to shoot me,” Murdaugh can be heard saying in 911 audio played in court on Thursday.

The disgraced legal heir said he was “bleeding profusely” but remained alert and even managed to describe the weapon he believed was used in his attack and the alleged make of vehicle his assailant was driving. His wound was ultimately described as a “superficial gunshot wound to the head”.

“It looked like a shotgun. It was so loud. It didn’t look like a .22,” Murdaugh told a dispatcher.

The 911 audio was played in the courtroom during the prosecution’s cross-examination of South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement (SLED) Senior Special Agent Ryan Kelly.

Kelly described how Murdaugh helped an artist create a sketch of the alleged shooter in his hospital bed. He described the suspect as a white male, aged 30 to 40, with short hair and a beard.

Just a week later, Murdaugh confessed to police that he had orchestrated the whole saga – and the real shooter was a 60-year-old man.

He told investigators that he paid Curtis “Eddie” Smith – a former law firm client, distant cousin and alleged drug dealer – to carry out the shooting. Mr. Murdaugh said he supplied the gun used by Mr. Smith.

The court heard Murdaugh’s confession, recorded in a call with SLED agents and their lawyers, where Murdaugh said he masterminded the plot because he believed his family would be “better off without him.”

Alex Murdaugh worked with an artist to create this sketch of the non-existent man he claimed shot him in a failed murder plot

(Colleton County Courthouse)

Mr. Kelly testified that he did not find any debris that could have caused Mr. Murdaugh. Instead, investigators responding to the scene found a knife across the street and noticed that the car’s rear tire had been slashed.

The now-resigned attorney allegedly contacted Mr. Smith from the hospital, while his accounts were linked to deposits made to the alleged roadside shooter, testified that Mr. Kelly.

During the confession with Mr. Kelly and other SLED agents, Mr. Murdaugh made it clear that they did not want to discuss the shooting of Paul and Maggie or Mr. Murdaugh.

Mr. Murdaugh told agents the Hampton County shooting was not linked to the murders of his son and wife in his Islandton hunting state before admitting to the roadside shooting plot, Mr. Kelly to court.

This photo provided by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office shows Curtis Edward Smith

(Colleton County Sheriff’s Office)

Murdaugh also offered no explanation as to why he wasn’t forthcoming with his motivations when he was first interviewed.

“I was in a really bad place. I thought it better not to be here anymore. I thought it would be easier for my family that I was dead,” he said in a taped interview with Kelly. “…I don’t have a good reason. I was in a bad, bad, bad place.”

Murdaugh was also heard telling Mr. Kelly that his initial version of the story was more accurate, except for the all-important detail “which was arranged by me”.

Murdaugh claimed he didn’t kill Paul and Maggie and pleaded not guilty last June.

The trial for the double murders is now in its fourth week in Walterboro, South Carolina. It’s far from Murdaugh’s only legal problem. In addition to the case, Murdaugh faces at least 100 other criminal charges over a range of financial fraud allegations.

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