South Carolina authorities said that Stephen Smith’s death in 2015, which was linked to Murdaugh, is now thought to be a murder. This came before the gay teen’s body was set to be dug up.
Bland Richter Law Firm said on Tuesday that the state’s law enforcement division had been waiting to drop the bombshell news until after the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial was over and the drama that followed had died down.
“SLED officials have said that they didn’t need to dig up Stephen Smith’s body to prove that he was killed,” said Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter of Charleston, who were hired by Smith’s mother.
The law enforcement agency didn’t make the announcement because they were afraid that witnesses wouldn’t talk as much if Murdaugh was in charge.
SLED revisited Smith’s case — originally investigated as a hit-and-run — following the 2021 murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, for which father and husband Alex was convicted on March 3.
During the investigation into the double murder, officials said they found “new evidence” linking the well-known legal family to Smith’s death, but they haven’t said more.
Smith was a gay teen who had a relationship with Buster Murdaugh. In July 2015, his body was found three miles away from his car on a road near the Murdaughs’ huge estate.
He had a big cut on the right side of his head, his shoulder was out of place, and his left hand was cut.
Police said at first that the death “looked like a murder,” but an autopsy done the same day he was found dead showed that he had been hit by a car and left there.
“I really don’t know why they did what they did,” Smith’s mother, Sandy, told News Nation Tuesday about the death ruling.
“I just knew in my heart that they weren’t telling the truth… I think he was killed by beating.”
Sandy has been questioning the official cause of death for a long time, and she has raised more than $80,000 to dig up her son’s body.
Sandy Smith, Smith’s mother, said Tuesday about the death sentence, “I really don’t know why they did what they did.”
“I just knew in my heart that they weren’t telling the truth. I think he was killed by being beaten.”
Sandy has been doubting the official cause of death for a long time, and she has raised more than $80,000 to dig up her son’s body.
“These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false,” Buster said in a statement.
SLED officials have agreed to participate in the exhumation to gather more evidence as part of the murder investigation.
“We have a chance to right eight years of wrongs, and we intend to do just that,” Bland said.