‘Buster is in a very difficult spot’: Calls for fresh probe into Murdaugh family’s ‘long-rumored involvement’ in death of 19-year-old gay man eight years ago
- Stephen Smith, 19, was found dead in the middle of a country road in 2015
- There is a ‘big public outcry’ to found out what happened to Smith, lawyer says
The public are now demanding answers over the Murdaugh family’s alleged ‘long-rumoured involvement’ in the suspicious death of Buster’s former classmate who was found dead on a road close to their South Carolina estate.
Stephen Smith, 19, was found dead in the middle of a country road 15 miles from the Murdaugh family’s Islandton hunting lodge on July 8, 2015.
And now that patriarch Alex Murdaugh has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22, there is a ‘big public outcry’ to found out what happened to Smith.
Smith’s death was ruled a hit-and-run, but his mother Sandy has always maintained that her son, who was gay and a classmate of Murdaugh’s son Buster, was murdered and there was a cover-up.
Attorney Eric Bland told Fox News: ‘There’s a long rumored involvement of a Murdaugh – whether it’s Buster or somebody else in the family – that has knowledge at least of the death of Stephen Smith.’
Attorney Eric Bland told Fox News : ‘There’s a long rumored involvement of a Murdaugh – whether it’s Buster or somebody else in the family – that has knowledge at least of the death of Stephen Smith’
The public are now demanding answers over the Murdaugh family’s alleged ‘long-rumoured involvement’ in the suspicious death of Buster’s former classmate who was found dead on a road close to their South Carolina estate. Pictured: Buster at his father’s trial
Stephen Smith, 19, (pictured with his mother Sandy) was found dead in the middle of a country road 15 miles from the Murdaugh family’s Islandton hunting lodge on July 8, 2015
Bland, who represented the two sons of the Murdaugh’s late housekeeper Gloria Satterfield who died inside the family’s home in 2018, said investigators had initially said Smith had been hit by a car.
He said: ‘Stephen was found in the middle of a country road in Hampton County and the Highway Department said he was hit by a car.
‘But there was no broken glass, there was no car parts, his clothes were in tact, his shoes were on and he had a clear head trauma injury that looked like it was done by something other than a car.’
Bland said Stephen was gay and a good student, who wanted to go to college to study becoming a nurse.
He added that investigators reopened Stephen’s case – as well as an investigation into the death of the family’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield – in 2021 following the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
Investigators at the time said they had reopened the cases after discovering information in their investigation into Maggie and Paul’s murders. Detectives have not revealed what information they have uncovered.
Bland said that now Buster’s father Alex Murdaugh has been convicted for double-murder, there is a public outcry to find out the truth behind Stephen’s death.
‘There’s a big cry in South Carolina to find out what actually happened to Stephen Smith,’ Bland said.
Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh at the Moselle estate in a picture uploaded on Maggie’s Facebook to mark Father’s Day 2020
Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences on Friday for the 2021 murders of his wife Maggie, 52 and youngest son Paul, 22
Sandy has claimed that Murdaugh’s brother Randolph, who is an attorney, attended the scene of Stephen’s accident, Bland said.
‘According to Sandy Smith, she received a telephone call from him where he offered to represent her and she was very confused by this about why she would need representation,’ Bland said.
Meanwhile, Bland said Buster is in a ‘very difficult’ situation after his father was convicted of double murder.
Bland added: ‘Buster is in a very difficult spot. He’s a true victim here as far as the murders of his mother and brother are concerned. And he just lost his father essentially on Friday when he was sentenced to double life in prison.
‘Buster himself is going to have to come to grips with: ‘Is my father capable of murdering my mother and brother?’ The jury said so and he’s going to have to look at his future in this family.’
And following Murdaugh’s conviction, the family’s connection between suspicious deaths in the area and questions over Smith’s death remain unclear.
‘It’s peeling the onion… you keep peeling it, you find more,’ Bland said.
On Friday, Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murders of his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, in Moselle on June 7, 2021.
He will spend the next few weeks at the R&E facility where he faces rigorous testing before he will be assigned to a permanent state prison. As he is a double murderer, he will be housed with the state’s most brutal and violent inmates.
The life he faces is a far cry from the privileged world of multi-million dollar homes from the coast to the hunting lands of the Lowcountry to which he has grown accustomed in his 54 years.
Through more than 75 witnesses and nearly 800 pieces of evidence, jurors heard about betrayed friends and clients and Murdaugh’s failed attempt to stage his own death in an insurance fraud scheme.
Other scandals discussed in the trial include a 2019 boat crash involving his late son Paul which killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Paul was facing criminal charges after being accused of driving the boat while drunk before he was shot dead. The girl’s family were suing Murdaugh for a reported $30m at the time of Paul and Maggie’s murders.
Alex Murdaugh was led out of the courthouse to a waiting prison van to begin his life sentence on Friday
The death of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield – who the Murdaugh family claimed tripped over the dogs and fell down the stairs while working at their hunting lodge – was also raised during the case. Her son Tony called to give testimony on the stand about the $4 million wrongful death payout Murdaugh allegedly stole.
Meanwhile, prosecutors didn’t have the weapons used to kill Paul and Maggie or other direct evidence like confessions or blood spatter.
But they had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, including the video putting Murdaugh at the scene of the killings five minutes before his wife and son stopped using their cellphones forever.
The now-disbarred attorney admitted stealing millions of dollars from the family firm and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug habit.
Before he was charged with murder, Murdaugh was in jail awaiting trial on about 100 other charges ranging from insurance fraud to tax evasion.
Defense attorneys said they will appeal, based largely on the judge allowing the evidence of crimes that Murdaugh has not been convicted of, which they say smeared his reputation.
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