Don’t call him a hillbilly hitman.
Just 24 hours after Curtis “Fast Eddie” Smith, 61, shuffled into a Hampton County courtroom, wild-eyed with matted hair — for a hearing on charges he was Alex Murdaugh’s longtime drug dealer and tried to shoot him in a bizarre assisted-suicide scheme — he was back at home with his rescue dogs, looking like a different person and insisting he was innocent.
“I know what they’re trying to say about me and it ain’t true,” Curtis told The Post during a porch-side interview Friday.
“It was the craziest situation I ever been involved with. I was set up to be the fall guy. And those damn pictures of me in the newspaper! I was looking at them this morning. They didn’t let me take a damn shower!”
Smith, who is both a distant cousin of Alex Murdaugh and a former client, is the latest person to be implicated in a twisted Southern Gothic murder mystery that has captivated the world. It began June 7, when the pretty, college-sweetheart wife and son of Alex Murdaugh, a prominent and powerful lawyer who knows everyone in town, were brutally gunned down at their hunting lodge in Islandton.
The murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh have not been solved. Alex Murdaugh, who was for a time named as a “person of interest” in the murders, made headlines again Sept. 4 when he told police he’d been shot in the head by someone he didn’t know on a rural road outside Hampton and suffered a head wound.
Two days later he resigned from his law firm, a company his family has run since 1910, amid reports that he allegedly embezzled millions. Murdaugh said he had an opioid addiction and was entering rehab.
According to his lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, Murdaugh admitted to them sometime around Sept. 13 that he hired Smith to kill him — but the planned fatal shot only ended up grazing his head. He allegedly hatched the plan to have himself killed so his surviving son, Buster, could collect on a $10 million insurance policy. His lawyers notified the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which is handling the case.
Murdaugh surrendered Thursday on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report in the case. He was released on a personal recognizance bond of $20,000 and his lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, said he was going to an out-of-state rehab.
Smith, who used to work in logging, was also arrested and charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He was released on $20,000 bail.
But Smith told The Post he did not collude with Murdaugh in an assisted-suicide attempt.
Smith said he was set up by Alex to make it look as if he shot him.
“I get a call from Alex that Saturday afternoon to come to where he was and I thought it was maybe to fix something,” Smith said, gesturing to a silver Chevy pickup he said was his work truck. “I had no idea what he wanted, I just went over there.”
Smith said he then drove over to the stretch of rural Old Salkehatchie Road and found Murdaugh in his car. He said Murdaugh then got out of his car brandishing a gun, and waving it around as if he might be about to shoot himself.
“I run over and we wrestled a minute together, me trying to get the gun away from him,” Smith said. “Then the gun kind of went off above his head and I got scared to death and I ran to my truck and took off.”
Smith said he took Murdaugh’s gun and threw it away. He did not say where.
“I wound up with the gun,” Smith said. “It was plain stupid, just plain stupid.”
When asked if any bullet actually struck or grazed Alex’s head, Smith shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just got out of there.”