Buster Murdaugh, the oldest son of a noted attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh, is seeking to have his name removed from press coverage of a young man’s death in 2015.
Buster Murdaugh, 26, has been cleared of any involvement in the killing of Stephen Smith, who was 19 at the time his corpse was discovered on a rural road in Hampton County, South Carolina.
The find was made around 15 miles from Murdaugh’s house and 2 to 3 miles from Smith’s car, which had obviously run out of gas.
“These slanderous claims about my participation with Stephen and his death are unfounded,” he claimed in a statement released Monday. “I categorically deny any participation in his death, and my heartfelt condolences go out to the Smith family.”
It has been widely believed that Murdaugh and Smith attended a South Carolina high school together, but NBC News has not confirmed this.
“I am demanding that the media cease broadcasting these defamatory statements and rumors against me immediately,” Murdaugh added.
Smith was hit by a car, according to an autopsy report issued by doctors at the University of South Carolina on July 8, 2015. It cited a stretched brain stem, uneven abrasions and contusions, and blood in his airways as support for that judgment.
The lack of bullets or gunshot pieces in his body further ruled out shooting, according to the study.
According to the Island Packet, a local newspaper, nonmedical investigators concluded Smith’s corpse had a defensive wound, which may have prompted police authorities to suspect murder.
WATCH: Stephen Smith’s Body was Found Near Murdaugh Hunting Lodge
The narrative was based on an early investigator’s report, according to the magazine. The statement also said that there seemed to be no indication of a car striking him at the site, such as shattered glass, debris, or fractured signal covers.
Physicians evidently disputed that Smith’s death was not the result of a hit-and-run. The driver of the allegedly involved car has not been located.
Sandy Smith, Smith’s mother, revealed on Friday that she would utilize money gathered via an internet crowdfunding campaign to exhume her son’s remains and undertake a private medical examination. She doesn’t trust the hit-and-run story, she says.
“We need a fresh, impartial examination of his remains and an accurate, fact-based judgment of his cause of death,” she said on her Fundraising page.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said in 2021 that it will broaden its investigation into the June 2021 shooting murders of Murdaugh’s mother, Margaret, 52, and younger brother, Paul, 22, in order to investigate Smith’s killing.
The killings shook the legal world in South Carolina since the family name was associated with a more than century-old law business, political politicians, and high-profile attorneys, including modern scion Alex Murdaugh, 54.
In connection with the shooting murders of his wife and son on family property, the older Murdaugh was convicted on two charges of murder and two counts of using a weapon during a crime on March 2.
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The following day, he was condemned to life in jail without the possibility of release. He has subsequently filed a notice of intent to appeal the convictions, and the former lawyer maintains his innocence.
Authorities claimed he committed the killings to arouse pity and divert attention away from an investigation into financial irregularities, including claims that he stole from customers.
According to incident records from the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office, Murdaugh reported on Monday that he has been harassed by members of the media who follow him on road trips, park outside his house, and take photographs of him while he is inside his Hilton Head Island home.
He said that he has attempted to disregard stories about the Smith investigation that reference his name.
“While I mourn over the horrible deaths of my mother and brother, I have done my best to disregard the malicious allegations about my role in Stephen Smith’s unfortunate death that continue to be publicized in the media,” Murdaugh said in a statement.
Buster Murdaugh Statements about the Stephen Smith Death
“I love them so much and miss them so badly,” he continued.
In response to a reporter’s query concerning Murdaugh’s comments, Ronnie Richter, a lawyer working on the case, said during a press conference Monday morning that the legal team had nothing to say about it.
“We haven’t uttered Buster’s name once. This isn’t about Buster Murdaugh; instead, it’s about Stephen Smith “Richter explained. “There is no need to address Buster Murdaugh, and there is no response to Buster Murdaugh.”
Eric Bland, Richter’s legal partner, added: “Buster is a victim today; he has lost a mother, and a sibling, and his father is in prison. Buster, as we know, has nothing to do with this, and whatever is said in the documents will be examined by investigators, but we have no information of Buster or the Murdaughs having anything to do with this right now. We’re beginning with a clean slate.”
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