Alex Murdaugh claims he stole over $10m to fund 60-a-day pill habit triggered by college football knee injury – and would blow through $60,000 a WEEK on oxycodone
- ‘It made everything better,’ Murdaugh said. ‘Opiates gave me energy. Whatever I was doing, it made it more interesting. It made me want to do it longer.’
- He even admitted, ‘I had a pocket full of pills on June 8 when I was sitting in David Owen’s patrol car,’ the day after he is accused of killing his wife and son
- He told cops he was paying up to $60,000 a week to his drug dealer cousin, Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, for oxycodone pills for personal consumption
Alex Murdaugh has claimed he stole more than $10m from his law firm to feed his opioid habit as he revealed he was taking more than 60 oxycodone pills a day.
The disgraced legal scion, 54, said he got hooked on pain pills after surgery for a lingering college football injury in the early 2000s. Murdaugh told cops he was paying $60,000 a week to his drug dealer cousin, Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, for pills.
‘It made everything better,’ Murdaugh told jurors in his double murder trial Friday. ‘Opiates gave me energy. Whatever I was doing, it made it more interesting. It made me want to do it longer.’
He even admitted, ‘I had a pocket full of pills on June 8 when I was sitting in David Owen’s patrol car,’ the day after he is accused of shooting dead his wife and son.
Experts told DailyMail.com that it is possible to take more than 60 pills per day without it being toxic, provided the user has a high tolerance.
Paul, Alex, Maggie and Buster at a Gamecocks basketball game in January 2019. Murdaugh is accused of shooting Paul and Maggie dead on the night of June 7, 2021
Murdaugh is fed a drink by his son’s underage girlfriend Morgan Doughty. She claims that the father-of-two would allow Paul to drink to excess
Dr Tildabeth Doscher, an addiction medicine specialists at the University at Buffalo, said: ‘Doses mean nothing, literally nothing, when we look at someone with opioid use disorder. This could have killed him at five years ago but not at this point. What he was taking it sounds like to maintain function…
‘So if he always take 50 pills and then one day takes 70, he’s going to feel differently. There’s a stabilizing dose versus an excessive dose.’
The legal heir was grilled about how many pills he was taking under cross examination.
He said he would take up to 2,000mg of oxycodone every day – around 67 pills of the 30mg doses he said he would take.
Murdaugh admitted he would take the drugs as soon as he woke up to stave off feelings of agitation as a result of withdrawals.
‘Agitation is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to opiate withdrawal,’ he told jurors. ‘It’s like having the flu when you and your joints hurt.’
He was asked by prosecutor Creighton Waters about being confronted by his son Paul over his drug abuse.
The court heard previously that in May, 2021, a month before the murders, Paul left his father a voicemail, saying: ‘I am still in EB (Edisto Beach) because when you get here we have to talk. Mom found several bags of pills in your computer bag.’
Indeed, Maggie referred to her younger son as her ‘little detective’ because he would find his father’s stash.
Murdaugh said: ‘On this particular occasion, I think that PawPaw (Paul) convinced Maggie that I got these pills in anticipation of the eye surgery.’
He said his son helped to reassure his mother so she ‘would not worry.’
Murdaugh said he had promised his son he was going to stop abusing pills after the boat case was finished. He was being sued after his son crashed his boat while under the influence, killing 19-year-old Mallory Beach in February 2019.
‘I promised Paul that as soon as finished with his criminal case that I was going to rehab,’ he told the court.
The court has heard previously that he made hundreds of payments to his drug dealer cousin Smith, most in checks of less than $10,000 – making it unlikely they would be flagged by the bank.
He told jurors Thursday that he first became hooked on oxycodone in the early 2000s after undergoing knee surgery for an ongoing issue related to a college football injury.
‘It just escalates and escalates,’ he told the court. He said he visited a detox facility three times, the first in December 2017.
‘Opiate withdrawal is, whew, it’s hard,’ Murdaugh said. He described how ‘you throw up. You have terrible diarrhea. You sweat like you’re running a marathon. You can’t hold your legs still.’
Alex Murdaugh sits with his attorneys before he takes the stand in his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday
Alex’s cousin, Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, left, and Cowboys gang leader Khiry Broughton. Murdaugh’s lawyers have suggested the Cowboys could have been behind Maggie and Paul’s deaths
Is it possible to take 67 pills of oxycodone per day like Murdaugh claims?
Dr Tildabeth Doscher, an addiction medicine specialists at the University at Buffalo, said: ‘Tolerance develops. There’s opioid receptors in the brain. Opioids hit that. You or I would die if I took ten of those because my opioid receptors have no experience. Tolerance is more important than quantity
‘It takes more and more and more to counter the withdrawal because once those opioid receptors are full, they start emptying out and cause withdrawal symptoms.
‘People continue to use and use and use because they’re trying to avoid the pains of withdrawal’
I’t sounds like what happened with this individual is that they were using more and more and more that would kill someone who is opioid naïve. And when someone is using that much, they’re not very impaired. They use it to feel normal’
‘Doses mean nothing, literally nothing, when we look at someone with opioid use disorder. This could have killed him at five years ago but not at this point. What he was taking it sounds like to maintain function.
‘I would say to that client ‘oh my god that’s a lot’. But again someone who develops tolerance, I’m never surprised to hear they took that and felt normal. I imagine when you take that much you’re still trying to get the euphoria, the dissociative effects.
‘So if he always take 50 pills and then one day takes 70, he’s going to feel differently. There’s a stabilizing dose versus an excessive dose.’
Regarding its effects, Dr Doscher said: ‘Certainly it’s a depressant so just like people with chronic alcohol use or chronic cannabis use, develop depression, get withdrawal and anxiety. As far as violence goes, no. People will do things that they would have never done otherwise but murdering someone? No. It’s not like PCP or other drugs that make people more prone to violence.’
On September 4, three months after Maggie and Paul’s deaths, Murdaugh claims he arranged for his drug dealer cousin Smith to shoot him on a rural road in Hampton County.
‘I knew all this was coming to a head, I knew how humiliating it was going to be for my son (Buster). I had been through so much,’ he sobbed as he described his suicide attempt. Murdaugh hoped it would earn Buster, 26, a $12m life insurance payout.
Maggie found handfuls of pills in the disbarred attorney’s laptop bag in the months before the brutal slayings. Indeed, the trial has heard she referred to Paul as her ‘little detective’ because he would find his father’s stash.
The new Netflix series released Wednesday also revealed that the family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, found ‘baggies of pills’ hidden under the legal scion’s bed and told Paul about it in the year that she died. The Murdaugh family claim Satterfield tripped over their dogs and fell down the stairs at their property, later dying in hospital in 2015.
But despite evidence Alex was addicted to opioids, the court has not heard evidence that Alex was in possession of industrial quantities of narcotics.
In a Netflix documentary released Wednesday it was revealed it would take 114 years to consume $10m worth of pills. Murdaugh, 54, told cops he was spending $60,000 a week on drugs – that would buy 750 of the best pills at $80 each.
It is physically impossible for even the most seasoned-addict to consume that many pills. So where did all the money go?
Mark Tinsley, the attorney for Mallory Beach’s family, told DailyMail.com he has no idea where all of Murdaugh’s assets went. ‘I wish I knew!’ he said. ‘He was converting everything into cash.’
The court has heard Murdaugh earned a seven-figure salary and owned lavish properties from Hampton County to Edisto Beach, the family drove top of the range vehicles, wore designer clothes and hunted with rifles worth $10,000.
He made large donations to the Democrat Party, $2,700 each for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden to support their respective campaigns in 2015 and 2020. At state level, records show some $140,000 in donations made between Murdaugh, his family and law firm over the past decade.
Murdaugh also made philanthropic donations to local foundations.
The legal scion’s hunting lodge at Moselle is due to be sold next month for more than $4million, while a judge approved the sale of his Edisto Beach home for $955,000 last summer.
The vast majority of Maggie’s estate was tied up in Moselle, the remote Islandton home where Maggie and son Paul died on June 7, 2021
A a judge approved the sale of his Edisto Beach home for $955,000 last summer
The Murdaugh properties in South Carolina’s Lowcountry and significant places in the saga
Jurors in the double murder trial have heard that Alex earned lucrative settlements and would take home a seven-figure pay packet some years while working for his family firm Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED).
Under cross examination Thursday, Murdaugh conceded that as well as his drugs he was probably spending too much generally – though stopped short of admitting he lived a ‘wealthy lifestyle’.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters asked: ‘The money you were stealing was not just to pay for drugs, right?’
Murdaugh agreed: ‘Sure.’
Earlier, Waters told the trial Murdaugh was ‘living in a velocity of money that is really quite stunning and he constantly needed to achieve more money to avoid the reckoning that was coming.’
In some cases, he was stealing millions from clients in order to pay back the clients he had stolen from.
Prosecutors have said that his finances took a turn for the worse following a ‘series of bad land deals exacerbated by the recession’ in 2008. This sent him down ‘incessant financial roller coaster.’
At the time of his wife and son’s murders, Murdaugh was being sued by Tinsley over Paul Murdaugh’s drunken boat crash which killed 19-year-old Mallory in February 2019.
Murdaugh is accused of killing his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, at the family’s estate in Moselle, South Carolina, on the night of June 7, 2021.
The State says he had racked up millions in debt and ‘he was out of time and out of options.’
As well as the boat wreck case, he had been confronted on the day of the murders over $792,000 that had gone ‘missing’ from his law firm. His chief financial officer would soon discover he had stolen far more over a decade of malfeasance.
Murdaugh said he was no longer suicidal, saying that he had been clean for 535 days. He smiled at the jury, adding: ‘I am very proud of that’
Maggie, Paul and Alex are pictured at the younger son’s high school graduation
Following his murder trial, Murdaugh faces judgment for two conspiracy counts relating to the alleged supply of opioids alongside Smith.
The indictment unsealed in June last year states that between October 2013 and September 2021, Murdaugh and Smith along with ‘persons known and unknown’ conspired to buy and distribute oxycodone.
During that time, Murdaugh is accused of providing Smith with at least 437 checks totaling more than $2.4million.
His defense team have suggested that a local gang, the Walterboro Cowboys, could have been behind Maggie and Paul’s deaths.
Defense attorney Jim Griffin suggested to jurors last week that Murdaugh’s cousin Eddie was skimming money off the top of payments meant for the Cowboys for narcotics – and suggested they were out for revenge.
Murdaugh claimed he had no idea where his pills came from, but a Cowboys gangster last year said the legal heir was ‘running half the drugs in Colleton County’.
Self-professed leader Khiry Broughton and his associate William Cox (aka Wataz). The pair were jailed for their role in gang-related crimes in 2017
Self-professed leader Khiry Broughton (center), a wannabe rapper who calls himself K Blacka, appeared in a 2013 rap video for his song ‘Can’t Let You Take Me’. He rapped: ‘I’ve been f*****g with them killas and my n****s clappin’ / You run up on me I’m gone’ leave the scene nasty’
William Cox (aka Wataz) poses with a pile of white powder while smoking a blunt in his music video for Bricks Bands. He was jailed alongside gang leader Broughton in November 2017
He grilled lead investigator David Owen over why none of the DNA from the murder scene was cross-referenced with that of Cowboy gang members.
The Cowboys have been operating in Colleton County since around 2012 and are described as ‘the most violent gang’ in the area.
They are instantly recognizable for the signature Stars and Stripes bandanas they wear over their faces.
Armed with automatic rifles, pistols and shotguns, the Cowboys are extremely territorial, even trying to intimidate cops who show up on ‘their turf’.
They are a branch of the Bloods, a primarily black street gang founded in Los Angeles in the 1970s which has proliferated throughout the United States.
The Cowboys operate just off the I-95, a rich vein of criminality through which guns, drugs and moonshine have been running since the days of the Prohibition.
Self-professed leader Khiry Broughton, a wannabe rapper who calls himself K Blacka, appeared in a 2013 rap video for his song ‘Can’t Let You Take Me’ with an American flag bandana over his face making trigger pulling gestures at the camera.
He rapped: ‘I’ve been f*****g with them killas and my n****s clappin’ / You run up on me I’m gone’ leave the scene nasty.’
In August 2022, on the same day Murdaugh was indicted for the murders of his wife and son, two high-ranking Cowboys, Jerry Rivers (pictured) and Spencer Roberts, were charged with drug smuggling. At the time, South Carolina Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters, now the lead prosecutor in the double-murder trial, said that Murdaugh was laundering money through Smith and his Cowboy accomplices
Spencer Roberts was tied by prosecutors to Murdaugh through his drug dealer cousin Smith
Paul, Margaret, Alex and Buster (from left to right). The legal scion has admitted to stealing millions from his housekeeper’s sons and his law firm, but denies any involvement in the murders of his wife and son
Broughton was jailed for nine years on organized crime conspiracy charges in 2017 along with seven other gang members. Prosecutors said the gang leader had participated in an attempted murder in November, 2015, among other charges.
Alongside Broughton, US District Judge David Norton sent down Bryant Jameek Davis (aka, ‘Savo’), Zaquann Ernest Hampton (aka, ‘TOB’), Christopher Sean Brown (aka, ‘Roughish’) and Quintin Fishburne on charges of attempted murder in aid of racketeering.
Also jailed on organized crime charges were Clyde Naquan Hampton (aka, ‘One Loyal Shooter’), Matthew Rashuan Jones (aka, ‘Boogie Mac’) and William Lamont Cox (aka, ‘Wataz’).
In August 2022, on the same day Murdaugh was indicted for the murders of his wife and son, two high-ranking Cowboys, Jerry Rivers and Spencer Roberts, were charged with drug smuggling.
At the time, South Carolina Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters, now the lead prosecutor in the double-murder trial, said Murdaugh was laundering money through Smith and his Cowboy accomplices.
‘Misappropriated money flowed from Alex Murdaugh out various ways,’ Waters stated. ‘A lot of that went through Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, and then they continued downstream to other accomplices who helped cash and launder that money. And that would go through Spencer Roberts, and Mr. Rivers was one of those.’
One Cowboys gang member speaking outside Rivers’ house told the New York Post last year: ‘I’m going to tell you something. Alex Murdaugh is running half the drugs in this county.’
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