Murphy Hokey Law

February 23, 2024

Stephen Smith, A Student Of Buster Murdaugh’s, Died In A Hit-And-Run Accident: Know More Here

Stephen Smith, A Student Of Buster Murdaugh's, Died In A Hit-And-Run Accident: Know More Here

Stephen Smith, a classmate of Buster Murdaugh’s in high school, was killed in a hit-and-run in 2015, according to the pathologist who conducted his second autopsy. The public has just lately learned some aspects of the autopsy.

Smith, who was 19 years old when he passed away on July 8, 2015, was discovered dead with a 7½-inch fracture to his skull on a remote South Carolina road not far from the Murdaugh estate in Hampton County.

Stephen Smith, A Student Of Buster Murdaugh

“Scientifically, medically and forensically, we know what happened, but we don’t know who did it,” pathologist and former investigator Dr. Michelle DuPre told Fox News Digital. “And that’s the investigation. That’s where law enforcement comes in. And they are working on the case.”

Since South Carolina police started looking into the shooting deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh in 2021, speculation from the public and Smith’s loved ones has surrounded Smith’s death, which was declared a homicide. Earlier this year, a jury in Colleton County found Alex Murdaugh guilty of both murders.

Smith’s family was able to gather enough funds earlier this year to have his body dug up and have a second autopsy performed. DuPre claimed that the new findings mostly agreed with the conclusions of the initial autopsy.

“We found that the only injury that Stephen had was the skull fracture. There was … what we call road rash on his forearms, which you would expect. But there were no other injuries at all on his body. None,” DuPre said.

Smith was struck by a high-speed item while walking in the middle of Sandy Run Road after his automobile broke down, as evidenced by the shape of the fractures on the right side of his head and a secondary fracture on the back of his skull.

According to DuPre, he was also heading towards a curve in the road that might have made it harder for passing cars to notice him in the dark.

“We believe that a vehicle came around the curve, going fast probably, and may have seen something in the road. I’m not even sure that they knew it was a person. We don’t know,” the pathologist said.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) had named Shawn Connelly and Patrick Wilson as persons of interest in Smith’s death, according to a story published by the South Carolina news outlet FITSNews in March, which cited information on the deceased. Wilson and Connelly have not been verified by SLED as persons of interest.

After conducting a second autopsy, the medical examiners concluded that Smith was struck by “something on that vehicle,” maybe a ladder or an extended mirror, which was “about 65-or-so inches off the ground and at least a foot to 18 inches, laterally” when its impact occurred.

To ascertain what evidence was and was not left behind, experts also examined the crime scene. For instance, there might have been glass or other car debris at the site if Smith had been struck by a car directly, but there was none. No tyre prints were seen. Furthermore, no firearms were dropped.

DuPre disregarded the rumour based on two pieces of evidence, despite rumours that Smith, an openly gay man, had been struck by a baseball bat while being driven past.

Initially, his wounds did not match the description of someone who had been struck by a bat or other weapon that caused a depressed fracture. Secondly, the bat would have been dropped by the person using it, yet no such weapon was discovered at the scene.

DuPre stated that while her research makes “a lot of sense,” it will be “very hard to convince” the public that Smith was hit by an object that was fastened to an automobile.

“People have been thinking for almost nine years that this was something nefarious, and … I just, I don’t think it’s impossible to manoeuvre a vehicle or something in such a way to do this intentionally. I just don’t think that would be possible,” she said.

Stephen’s mother Sandy Smith recently revealed to “48 Hours” that the day she learned her son had passed away, Randy Murdaugh, the brother of Alex Murdaugh, got in touch with Joel Smith, Stephen’s father, and offered to assist their family on a pro gratis basis. Sandy claimed to have seen Randy and Alex standing close to the homicide scene later that morning; Randy refuted this claim in a statement sent to “48 Hours” by his legal representative.

“I was not aware of Stephen’s death until Joel told me. … They wanted my involvement, and I contacted law enforcement on their behalf,” Randy said in the statement, adding that he went to the scene with a private investigator, not his brother. “Claims that I visited the scene of Stephen’s death with my brother, Alex, are false.”

In the days preceding his passing, Sandy also remembered that her son had been “scared” for his safety.

“Well, the longer it went on, the more I was asking myself questions,” Sandy told “48 Hours” of the years-long investigation into her son’s death, which eventually went cold. “But I just couldn’t find the connection … a powerful family, and then you got Stephen, who was just Stephen.”

In exchange for a 27-year jail sentence, Alex Murdaugh entered a guilty plea earlier this year to 22 counts, including breach of trust, money laundering, forgery, and tax evasion, out of about 100 counts totalling as much as $10 million.

The discredited personal injury attorney plotted to steal hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, from his friends and clients.

“There were so many individuals that were trusting of Alex Murdaugh, and that is how this decade-long scheme was able to take place,” South Carolina prosecutor Creighton Waters said during the sentencing Tuesday.

“And, ultimately, we had people who came to Mr Murdaugh for help — people that he told he was going to help — and, in many instances, there were significant funds that Mr Murdaugh paid to those individuals, but that was how the scheme usually worked. It was a sleight of hand.”

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