Now Satterfield’s sons are suing Murdaugh, who was arrested Thursday on fraud charges for attempting to get himself killed. (The deaths of his wife and son remain unsolved and Murdaugh denies responsibility.)
An attorney for Satterfield’s estate told CNN the family trusted Murdaugh to help them file an unlawful death claim against him. The housekeeper died after what was described as a trip and fall accident in the Murdaugh house in 2018.
“Our clients had great confidence in Murdaugh. They considered him family, “attorney Eric Bland told CNN’s Erin Burnett on Thursday.
But according to the family’s lawsuit, Satterfield’s sons never received any money despite a civil settlement. On Thursday, Bland claimed Murdaugh embezzled millions of Satterfield family settlements.
“It’s a shame we’re going to get to the bottom of this and we have no pity or pity on Alex Murdaugh,” said Bland.
CNN has reached out to Murdaugh’s lawyers for comment.
South Carolina law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday that they are opening a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s death.
Satterfield, who worked for the family for more than two decades, died in a “trip and fall” accident at the Murdaugh home, according to Bland.
The investigation into Satterfield’s death has commenced, SLED said at the request of the Hampton County coroner, who highlighted inconsistencies with Satterfield’s reported manner of death as well as information gathered during SLED’s other investigations against Murdaugh.
“The death of the deceased was not reported to the coroner at this time, nor was an autopsy performed,” said the coroner’s request to SLED. “On the death certificate, the type of death was stated as ‘natural’, which is incompatible with injuries in a fall and fall accident.”
“He has fallen from grace”
Murdaugh was arrested Thursday on charges related to insurance fraud that court documents said Murdaugh arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect life insurance payments.
Murdaugh appeared in court Thursday, where Hampton County Magistrate Judge Tonja Alexander issued a $ 20,000 personal guarantee of recognition. Murdaugh had to give SLED his passport and sign an extradition waiver.
According to a statement from SLED, he is charged with insurance fraud, insurance fraud conspiracy and filing a false police report. The prosecution is pursuing the case.
His attorney Dick Harpootlian said Murdaugh would return to an out-of-state rehabilitation center where he is being treated for an opioid addiction, which the attorney said contributed to his financial troubles.
At one point Murdaugh seemed to wipe the tears from under his glasses while Harpootlian described the murders of his wife and son and the toll their deaths had on him.
“He’s fallen from grace,” said Harpootlian. “But before that fall, his wife and son were brutally murdered, and it had an extraordinary effect on him.
Bland dismissed Harpootlian’s comments, calling it “lawyer spin” and said Murdaugh’s lawyers would “throw a defense that doesn’t exist”.
Murdaugh was shot in the head on a street on September 4, but survived. A family spokesman had previously blamed an unknown man in a blue truck for the shooting. But Murdaugh admitted to authorities Monday that he had conspired with a man – identified by police as Curtis Edward Smith, a former Murdaugh client – to kill him under the scheme, according to an affidavit in support of the prosecution against Smith. After he was shot, Murdaugh called 911 to report that SLED said he had been shot on a street in Hampton County and was rushed to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia.
Authorities initially described Murdaugh’s injury as a “superficial gunshot wound to the head”, although Murdaugh’s lawyers said his skull was broken in the shooting.
Murdaugh reportedly provided Smith with a gun and ordered Smith to shoot him in the head. Smith admitted Tuesday that he was present at the shooting and then disposed of the gun, the affidavit said.
Murdaugh decided to end his own life, but believed his life insurance policy included a suicide ban, Harpootlian told NBC’s Today Show, and that the plan was “an attempt on his part to do something to protect his oldest and only living child “.
Smith, 61, was charged Wednesday on Wednesday with aiding and abetting suicide, assault and assault, shown and presented a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
On Thursday, Judge Alexander of Hampton County set Smith’s bond at $ 55,000. When asked if he was interested in a public defender, Smith replied, “I will probably look at one, yes,” adding that he would probably apply for one early next week.
Murdaugh had represented Smith as his attorney on at least two occasions since 2010, according to Colleton County’s 14th Judicial Record. He represented Smith for the first time in a personal injury lawsuit brought against a land management company. Murdaugh is also listed as Smith’s attorney for a 2013 traffic violation, court documents show.
Investigations into several deaths
Thursday’s arrest of Murdaugh is the latest in a sprawling, high-profile crime story set in the southern region of Palmetto State, where the Murdaugh family has been a powerful right-wing dynasty for decades.
For 87 consecutive years, three generations of Murdaughs served as the 14th Circuit Solicitor, an office that controls prosecutors in Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper.
The tragedy first occurred in early June when Alex Murdaugh’s wife Margaret and son Paul, 22, were shot dead in front of the family home in Islandton, about an hour north of Hilton Head Island, according to SLED. The Colleton County Sheriff’s deputies found that both victims were multiple gunshot wounds.
At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was charged with drinking boating, causing serious injury and causing death in connection with a boat crash in 2019 that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach, court records show. Paul pleaded not guilty and court records show the charges were dropped after his death.
About two weeks after the murders, SLED announced that, based on information gathered during the investigation, it was resuming its investigation into the death of Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old whose body was found on a road in Hampton County in 2015.
CNN’s Martin Savidge, Eric Levenson, Amanda Watts, Gregory Lemos, Melissa Alonso, Caroline Kenny and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.