Why California’s ‘Crazy’ Legislature Will Likely Stop Ed Shin from Ever Confessing the Truth About Chris Smith’s Death

Ed Shin is currently sitting in California state prison serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for the murder his business partner Chris Smith in June 2010. Smith’s body has never been found, but it has not been for lack of trying by prosecutors or journalists. 

Former Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy, who tried and won the case, believes Shin knows exactly where Smith’s body is. He does not, however, believe the convicted murderer will ever tell. 

In Tuesday’s installment of ‘Fraud Week’ on The Megyn Kelly Show, Murphy joined Megyn to discuss the case and why the soft-on-crime policies of the California state legislature will likely ensure Shin does not fess up to exactly what happened the night he killed Smith.

The Murder

Shin appeared to have it all. He was a successful, church-going businessman, who was married with three kids in Southern California. But he was also a degenerate gambler who was spending insane amounts of money on women and gambling sprees during lavish jaunts to Las Vegas.

He was caught embezzling money from the lead generation company he worked for prior to founding his own lead gen business, 800XChange, with Smith and agreed to repay some $800,000 in restitution to avoid jail time.

Not long after the settlement, Smith disappeared. He supposedly sent emails to his girlfriend and family saying he had decided to sell his share of the business to Shin and set sail on an around-the-world surfing trip with a Playboy model he met in Vegas. In reality, Smith was dead and Shin was behind the crime and the emails.

Law enforcement got involved by the spring of 2011 after Smith’s family became increasingly suspicious, and the walls started to close in on Shin once blood was found in the office the two men once shared.

Shin’s Story

Shin was arrested in August 2011 at Los Angeles International Airport while boarding a flight to Canada. While the violation of the parole terms in his embezzlement case allowed for the arrest, authorities wanted him for questioning in the Smith case before he fled the U.S.

During interrogation, he initially claimed to have nothing to do with Smith’s disappearance but his story changed once he was confronted with the evidence that had been gathered. Shin admitted Smith died on June 4, 2010, but he said the whole thing was an accident. 

His story – which he stuck to while testifying on trial – was that Smith fell and accidentally hit his head on a desk, causing a fatal injury. He also claimed that he paid a Russian man, whose name he does not know, thousands of dollars to dispose of Smith’s body because he was too afraid to call 911.

Murphy doesn’t buy it. “I’ve always believed he bludgeoned him to death,” he told Megyn. He also believes he got rid of the body himself.

The Missing Body

During cross-examination, Murphy offered Shin the chance to come clean by giving him a map of the Southern California desert region Smith’s body was believed to be. “We had a search team waiting, and… it was like, ‘Okay, here you go. Here’s his family. Here’s a Sharpie. Here’s the map. Do the right thing so they can bury their son,'” Murphy recalled. “It almost looked like he thought about it for a second, but he said, ‘I have no idea where the body is.’”

Many journalists, including Dateline’s Keith Morrison, have since tried to get the answer out of Shin in prison interviews, but he continues to refuse. “That’s not something that I can do, unfortunately,” Shin told Morrison in 2018. “There are just some secrets that a man is willing to give up his life for.”

California ‘Crazy

Considering Shin was sentenced to spending the rest of his life in prison, Megyn wondered what reason he has to keep quiet. Murphy believes the convict is playing the long game. “In the state of California, our legislature does something crazy just about every week on behalf of homicide defendants, for people serving life sentences,” he noted. “They have been after the death penalty for years, but they have openly said that LWOP – life without lifestyle possibility of parole – is next.”

As he explained, there is a movement on the left to “undo that sentence” and Shin likely views that as an opportunity. “I think that he sees it as being to his legal advantage not to cough it up because maybe someone down the line would go, ‘Hey, look, it’s possible that he hit his head,'” Murphy said. “You see some crazy stuff in the appellate process in California.”

Murphy believes this outside possibility is only open to Shin if Smith’s body remains unfound. “I hit him up on the stand with, ‘Dude, if he hit his head against the desk, there will be a forensic record of that. There will be one skull fracture if the body is found,'” he said. “But if Shin hit him in the head 10 times to kill him, then, if the body is found, it will reflect that. There will be multiple skull fractures inconsistent with him just falling and hitting his head.” 

In that case, Shin lied on the stand about Smith’s death being an accident and not a murder.

Ultimately, Murphy said Shin could very well be a free man one day. “Unfortunately, we see that all the time… We have a very activist group of people that have been elected and they have some ideas about crime and punishment that, in my view, is just madness and dangerous,” he concluded. “There is such an ideological bent to a lot of things that the California legislature is doing that – for a lot of really bad guys like Ed Shin – they are kind of their best hope.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Murphy by tuning in to episode 815 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.