Murdaugh double murders: 2019 boat crash survivor feared crossing spouse and children of lawyers

Stephen Smith was 19 a long time old in 2015 when he was observed dead on a rural South Carolina road in what was formally ruled a hit-and-operate, even with the incident report stating there was “no proof to counsel the victim was struck by a car or truck.”

Then point out investigators reopened the situation earlier this calendar year immediately after they observed new info although on the lookout into a double murder that left a mother and son dead.

Now court docket documents have uncovered Smith’s death seems to have been briefly described very last calendar year in an unrelated lawsuit involving one of the murder victims – a member of a well-connected lawful family members in South Carolina’s coastal Lowcountry area.


The 2020 deposition of Connor Cook was publicly unveiled this week as element of court docket proceedings towards condition and nearby investigators associated in the 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach front in a river close to Parris Island.

Surveillance online video demonstrates Paul Murdaugh (suitable) going for walks to his father’s boat in downtown Beaufort soon just before he allegedly crashed a boat close to Parris Island. S.C. Division of Natural Means/Provided 
(Office of All-natural Assets/Furnished)

Paul Murdaugh, 22, was awaiting trial on drunken boating expenses in link with the crash when he and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, have been located shot to demise on loved ones property in Colleton County.

Cook’s attorneys had submitted a petition in July trying to get to depose officers who responded to the crash, alleging they might have conspired with “not known others” to established him up as the tumble dude in the lethal boating incident – even though he was never ever charged.

SCDNR legal professionals submitted a reaction Wednesday, inquiring the choose to reject Cook’s request as “perhaps frivolous” and arguing that investigators could not have brought about him any damages considering the fact that they under no circumstances billed him in connection with the incident. The only individual billed in the crash was Murdaugh, with three felonies, on April 19, 2019.

Anything they get in, they get out of. I have generally been instructed that.

— Connor Prepare dinner

In the filing, the SCDNR asked the court docket to dismiss the make any difference.


“As Connor Cook’s testimony reveals, he lied early and usually to investigators, refusing, even to this day, to supply a statement to SCDNR indicating he understood Paul Murdaugh was driving,” a filing from the SCDNR’s lawyers reads. “For these factors and as described additional completely herein, the Petition should really be denied.”

But Cook, in the freshly unveiled deposition, said that he didn’t cooperate with investigators at the urging of Murdaugh’s father, Alex Murdaugh, a large-run lawyer with longstanding familial ties to the nearby prosecutor’s office environment.

“I hardly envisioned either police agency to mail us a thank you be aware for willingness to assess their performance in the investigation,” Joe McCulloch, an attorney for Prepare dinner, informed Fox News Friday. “We are examining their posture and will react in court docket.”

Beach front died in the crash, and the other passengers were being hurt, such as Cook dinner, who broke his jaw. Whilst he was in the healthcare facility that night time, he alleged that the elder Murdaugh approached him and informed him not to notify investigators who was driving the boat, according to the deposition, which was recorded as section of a wrongful loss of life lawsuit brought by Beach’s loved ones.

“Why were being you not upfront with the officers?” lawyer E. Mitchell Griffith questioned Cook dinner during the deposition.

“Nicely, I was told for 1 by Alex Murdaugh that I did not need to notify any one who was driving,” Prepare dinner replied.

Later on in the deposition, he claimed that the elder Murdaugh pulled him aside in the medical center hallway and advised him “that every little thing was likely to be all appropriate. I just wanted to retain my mouth shut and convey to them I failed to know who was driving, and that he is got me.”

Alex Murdaugh did not straight away reply to Fox News’ ask for for comment.


At yet another issue in the deposition, Griffith questioned all over again: “Why are you — why were being you fearful to tell the reality?”

“Perfectly, I was advised not to, and being who they are, I was carrying out what I was told,” Cook dinner replied.

Paul Murdaugh was awaiting trial over the boat crash when he and his mother were shot to death on June 7, 2021.

Paul Murdaugh was awaiting trial in excess of the boat crash when he and his mom had been shot to demise on June 7, 2021.
(South Carolina Legal professional General’s Workplace)

The Murdaugh household has a prominent law organization in the location and long ties to the local prosecutor’s place of work – controlling it for a few generations just before being succeeded in 2006 by a spouse and children buddy and colleague, Duffie Stone, who however retains the task.

“Anything at all they get in, they get out of,” Cook dinner stated in the deposition. “I’ve constantly been instructed that.”

But when requested yet again why he was frightened of the family, Prepare dinner introduced up two unsubstantiated rumors.

“Just one was explained that Paul experienced pushed his housemate down the stairs, and she died, and nothing ever occurred,” Prepare dinner claimed. “And a different one particular, there was a little something that Paul was supposedly included with a man, obtained found defeat up in the center of the street, that they received out of.”

The deposition was recorded on Jan. 13, 2020. Paul Murdaugh and his mom were being shot to demise on June 7, 2021.

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For the duration of the murder investigation, condition authorities reported that they found data that led them to reopen the probe into the 2015 death of Stephen Smith, 19. He was identified with significant head trauma in the middle of a rural road close to a Murdaugh assets – and his dying was formally ruled a hit-and-operate accident even though point out troopers at the scene wrote they observed “no proof to advise the victim was struck by a car” in the incident report.

The felony boating whilst intoxicated rates towards Paul Murdaugh were dropped earlier this thirty day period as a formality following his demise.

The family members is offering a $100,000 reward for information major to an arrest and conviction in the double murder.

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