In the wake of Alex Murdaugh being found guilty of murdering his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and their son, Paul Murdaugh, attention now turned to Alex’s other son, Buster Murdaugh, and the mysterious 2015 death of his high school classmate, Stephen Smith. “I have tried my best to ignore the vicious rumors about my involvement in Stephen Smith’s tragic death that continue to be published in the media as I grieve over the brutal murders of my mother and brother,” Buster, 26, said in a statement published by his attorney, Jim Griffin, on Monday (Mar. 20).
— Jim Griffin (@lawyergriffin) March 20, 2023
“I haven’t spoken up until now because I want to live in private while I cope with their deaths and my father’s incarceration. Before, during, and since my father’s trial, I have been targeted and harassed by the media and followers of this story. This has gone on far too long. These baseless rumors of my involvement with Stephen and his death are false. I unequivocally deny any involvement in his death, and my heart goes out to the Smith family,” wrote Buster. “I am requesting that the media immediately stop publishing these defamatory comments and rumors about me.”
The body of 198-year-old Stephen Smith was found just miles from the Murdaugh family estate in July 2015, per The Daily Beast. A medical examiner concluded that Stephen died from a hit-and-run, and no one was ever charged. On Monday, Stephen’s mother and her new lawyers announced “a new investigation” into the teenager’s death, beginning with an exhumation and an independent autopsy. Ronnie Richter, one of the two lawyers representing Smith’s mother, said that this “fresh new look” into the death was NOT to ” “indulge in rumors and speculation,” but to give the family some final answers and, possibly, some closure.
“Sandy [Smith] has never accepted the results of the first investigation into his death,” Richter said, per TDB. “His loosely tied shoes were still on his feet.” Another lawyer, Eric Bland, said that Buster was a “victim in all of this” and that there is no new information that ties Murdaugh to the death.
“This is not about Buster Murdaugh. This is about Stephen Smith,” added Richter. “There is no comment to make back to Buster Murdaugh. We are going to find out… what was Stephen Smith’s true cause of death.”
On Mar. 2, Alex Murdaugh, 54, was convicted of killing his wife and youngest son in 2021. Prosecutors argued that Alex murdered his wife and son to appear as a sympathetic figure in the community and possibly draw attention away from the missing money he stole from clients at his law firm. He was given two life sentences in prison. In the first photo of the disgraced lawyer, Alex appeared with a shaved head.