An lawyer for Sandy Smith, the mom of Stephen Smith whose loss of life was initially dominated a hit-and-run, mentioned Tuesday that the top of the South Carolina Regulation Enforcement Division (SLED) doesn’t consider the 19-year-old was killed by vehicular accident however as a substitute died by intentional murder.
Smith’s automobile broke down simply miles from the Murdaugh household’s South Carolina looking property, and he was a classmate of Buster Murdaugh.
South Carolina State Freeway Patrol mentioned the 19-year-old died by a hit-and-run, however Sandy Smith mentioned her son would have “walked via the woods” on his means house if his automobile was not working as a substitute of strolling alongside the aspect of the highway. She additionally mentioned her son wouldn’t have left his pockets within the broken-down car, as investigators decided in 2015.
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Sandy Smith was not the one skeptic.
Eric Bland, an lawyer from Bland Richter Regulation Agency who represents Sandy Smith introduced on Tuesday that he spoke with SLED chief Mark Keel and discovered the boy’s loss of life is now thought of a murder, eight years later.
Bland unveiled the revelation to hosts of the Murdaugh Murders Podcast, saying Keel instructed him he didn’t should exhume Smith’s physique to show to SLED that Smith died by murder and never by a vehicular accident.
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“He mentioned, ‘if you wish to exit in public and say SLED helps you, that Stephen Smith died by murder, that he was killed someplace else, or died in a means that was intentional and never simply hit by a automobile, you could have our permission to take action,’” Bland mentioned, including that the chief mentioned in the event that they determine to go ahead with exhuming the physique, SLED needs to associate up and be a part of the method to search out out what occurred to Stephen.
Bland doubled down on the statements in a press launch on Tuesday.
“We’ve got an opportunity to proper eight years of wrongs, and we intend to just do that,” he mentioned.
SLED didn’t instantly reply to inquiries about Bland’s statements on Tuesday night.
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The ruling that Smith’s loss of life was attributable to hit-and-run – nonetheless a type of murder – has been controversial.
In reality, former South Carolina State Trooper Todd Proctor, who led the preliminary investigation into Smith’s loss of life, instructed Fox Information that there was no proof pointing towards the loss of life being a hit-and-run, and even involving a car.
“It regarded prefer it was extra staged,” he mentioned in 2021. “Like presumably the physique had been positioned within the roadway.”
There have been no tire marks on the highway or damaged automobile elements on the scene of the crime, nor did Smith present any indicators that he slid throughout the asphalt after being hit.
On Tuesday, Proctor responded to the information.
“SLED has requested that I not converse concerning the case,” he mentioned. “That information is no surprise, although. I’ve mentioned that for years now.”
Questions concerning the loss of life arose after a jury discovered Alex Murdaugh responsible within the 2021 murders of his spouse, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul.
Buster Murdaugh, in an announcement shared on Monday by his household’s lawyer, Jim Griffin, mentioned he “unequivocally” denies any involvement in Smith’s loss of life.
“I haven’t spoken up till now as a result of I wish to stay in non-public whereas I address their deaths and my father’s incarceration,” he mentioned, including that he has been “focused and harassed” by members of the media and public.
Ronnie Richter, associate at Bland Richter LLP, mentioned in a Monday press convention that this was not about Buster Murdaugh.
“That is about Stephen Smith,” he mentioned. “It’s about attempting to get solutions to questions that his mom desperately wants solutions for. So, there’s no purpose to debate Buster in any respect, and there’s no remark to make again to Buster in any respect. We’re going to search out out, God prepared or prepared, what was Stephen Smith’s true reason behind loss of life?”
Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
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