The ‘Murdaugh Murders’: What To Know Nigh The Case Inward Due South Carolina

Alex Murdaugh, one time a prominent lawyer, is on trial for murder, charged alongside killing his married woman as well as boy every bit his finances and legal career vicious into ruin.

Alex Murdaugh at his bond hearing in September 2021 after surrendering to face insurance fraud and other charges.
Credit…Mic Smith/Associated Press

Follow for the latest updates on the Alex Murdaugh murder instance.

WALTERBORO, S.C. — The killing of a mother as well as boy. Millions of dollars inwards stolen funds. Fresh investigations into a fatal boat crash and a housekeeper’s deadly autumn.

The tragic circumstances swirling around a lawyer too his family inwards SouthCarolina became only more perplexing over fourth dimension, leading to several arrests, stunning twists — in addition to right away, 1 of the most closely-watched trials inward the land.

At its center is Alex Murdaugh, 54, whose family unit dominated the legal landscape inwards the southern constituent of the province for 100 years, and who straight off faces trial on 2 counts of murder. Prosecutors have got accused him of killing his wife too boy in a failed attempt to conceal his ain financial crimes.

It all began on the nighttime of June 7,2021, when Alex Murdaugh, whose father, grandfather too nifty-grandpa all served every bit the top prosecutors across a broad expanse of the state, called 911 to study that his wife too ane of their ii sons had been shot to decease.

A sense of mystery enveloped the killings equally more than than a year passed without a suspect or motive identified. Then, on July xiv,2022, Mr. Murdaugh, was indicted on two counts of murder, with the regime proverb he fatally shot his wife amongst a rifle too his son alongside a shotgun.

Mr. Murdaugh has been in jail since Oct 2021, when he was kickoff charged alongside stealing from a one-time client, in addition to prosecutors have since brought a moving ridge of financial charges against him, proverb he defrauded victims — many of whom were clients — out of almost $8.8 one thousand thousand.

Mr. Murdaugh has maintained his innocence inward the killing of hiswife as well as boy, as well as his lawyers said earlier trial that he “looks forwards to this opportunity to clear his refer.”

The trial began on Monday with jury option, as well as was expected to final almost iii weeks.

The scrutiny on Mr. Murdaugh has spawned several more investigations into 3 previous deaths inward proximity to the family, in addition to Mr. Murdaugh has also been charged alongside concocting abizarre system to stage his ain suicide to expression like a murder after existence pushed out of his law business firm. That case volition get to trial afterward.

If Mr. Murdaugh is convicted of murder, province law mandates that he live sentenced to at to the lowest degree xxx years inward prison, too prosecutors hold said they will seek a life sentence; they have got chosen non to seek the decease penalty. Jurors volition also hear testimony on 2 charges that Mr. Murdaugh possessed a weapon during the commission of a trigger-happy criminal offense.

Here’s what to know.

What happened inward the original ‘Murdaugh murders’?

The fatal shooting of Mr. Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, together with their boy Paul, a 22-twelvemonth-old junior at the University of South Carolina, rocked the province’s Lowcountry region, where the family unit had established a legal dynasty. The killings began to be known every bit the Murdaugh murders.

Few details were released nigh the onrush, too no arrests were made for more than a twelvemonth.

Mr.Murdaugh had told the authorities that he discovered their bodies when he returned to the family’s isolated dwelling house in Islandton, a rural village well-nigh 65 miles westward of Charleston.

In sound of his telephone call to 911, which he placed only after 10 p.m., a seemingly distraught Mr. Murdaugh said he had arrived dwelling house as well as found their bodies on the ground “out at my kennel.”

“I’ve been up to it now, it’s bad,” Mr. Murdaugh told the dispatcher. He said that neither his wife nor his son wasbreathing, and he implored the emergency responders to hurry. “Are they close, ma’am?”

Officers with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office wrote inwards reports that they had discovered several beat out casings too had called a tow truck companionship to the scene. They also said they had looked for surveillance cameras from neighboring homes and businesses, though the heavily redacted police reports did not indicate whether they found whatsoever.

When was Alex Murdaugh shot, together withwhy?

Prosecutors tell that nearly iii months after Mr. Murdaugh’s wife together with boy were killed, an employee at his law firm — which was founded by his keen-grandad more than than a century ago — discovered a bank check that was supposed to live addressed to the firm but was instead made out to Mr. Murdaugh. That finding led the house to investigate further as well as, when they discovered evidence of financial wrongdoing, toinquire for his resignation, which he gave.

The adjacent solar day, Sept. 4, 2021, inwards another bizarre twist, Mr. Murdaugh claimed that he had been shot inward the head on the side of a rural road past individual who drove by patch he was changing a flat tire. He was taken to a infirmary, but his floor soon began to fall apart. It turned out that he had not been alone on the side of the road,as he had claimed, but was with a friend too distant cousin, Curtis Edward Smith.

Mr. Murdaugh presently admitted that he had asked Mr. Smith to shoot him inward the head. Mr. Murdaugh’s lawyers said he had come upwards with a plan to make his suicide facial expression like a murder because he believed it would aid his older son, Buster Murdaugh, collect on his life insurance policy.

Medical recordsshowed that Mr. Murdaugh had been shot inwards the dorsum of the head, but he had been able to telephone call for aid afterward. Two days afterward, Mr. Murdaugh issued a statement apologizing to his “family unit, friends as well as colleagues” as well as said he was entering rehab for an addiction to painkillers.

The incident ended inward the arrest of both Mr. Murdaugh as well as his cousin. Mr. Smith was charged amongstaggravated set on, assisting in a suicide endeavor as well as insurance fraud. He told The New York Times that he did not shoot Mr. Murdaugh as well as that the gun had gone off equally he grabbed Mr. Murdaugh’s arm to stop him from shooting himself.

Mr. Murdaugh turned himself inwards to the police force on Sept. 16 toowas charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud too filing a imitation law study — all felonies.

In July 2022, Mr. Murdaugh in addition to Mr. Smith were indicted on conspiracy charges for what prosecutors said was years of coin laundering related to distributing oxycodone.

How did a housekeeper go at the Murdaugh home inward 2018?

In Feb2018, Gloria Satterfield, who had worked every bit a nanny and housekeeper for Mr. Murdaugh as well as his family unit for more than than 20 years, cruel at their abode as well as died from her injuries several weeks later.

After her funeral, Mr. Murdaugh introduced her two adult sons to a lawyer who he said would assist them resolve the issues around their female parent’s decease, but the sons said inwards a recent lawsuit that they did not know that the lawyer, Cory Fleming, was a shut friend of Mr. Murdaugh’s. Mr. Flemingreached a $4.3 million settlement amongst Mr. Murdaugh too his insurers that was supposed to transport nearly $2.8 meg to Ms. Satterfield’s sons after lawyer’s fees, but the sons said in September 2021 that they had learned about the deal only late together with never got whatever money.

In October, the police arrested Mr. Murdaugh on charges stemming from the missing settlement funds — this fourth dimension apprehending him at a detox eye inwards Orlando, Fla. He wascharged amongst two counts of obtaining holding past imitation pretenses, a felony alongside a maximum penalisation of 10 years inward prison.

Mr. Murdaugh admitted inwards June 2022 that he owed her sons the full settlement addition lawyers’ fees, $4.3 million inwards all.

The police force are also looking into the effort of Ms. Satterfield’s death. Her family unit had long presumed, based on the Murdaughfamily’s accounts, that she had tripped over their dogs together with fallen down the front steps of their dwelling house. But the coroner was not notified almost her decease in addition to no autopsy was done. Her expiry is also listed every bit “natural” on her expiry certificate, which is at odds alongside an accidental fall.

The constabulary said in June 2022 that they planned to exhume Ms. Satterfield’s body after receiving permission from her family.

What virtually the fatal boat crash?

At the time of hisexpiry, Paul Murdaugh was out on bail after existence charged in 2019 amongst drunkenly crashing a boat inwards an accident that killed 1 of his passengers, nineteen-year-old Mallory Beach, and injured several others.

Documents as well as videos released since his decease hold raisedquestions most whether the police force were sloppy inward their investigation or gave him favorable treatment. One of the boat’s 6 passengers told a Department of Natural Resources officer shortly after the crash that Paul Murdaugh had been driving the boat, but the officeholder wrote inwards a study that the passenger had said he was non sure who was driving.

The South Carolina attorney general is all the same investigating the crash, inwards which Paul Murdaugh faced a accuse of boating under theinfluence causing expiry together with two charges of boating nether the influence causing nifty bodily injury — all felonies.

A lawsuit was filed against Alex Murdaugh too several others whom the plaintiffs sought to concur liable inwards the crash, together with at the time of the killings, a lawyer for Ms. Beach’s family was pressuring Mr. Murdaugh, equally Paul Murdaugh’s father, to liberate an account of his finances. A hearing inwards the matter was scheduled for 3 days after the killings, together with prosecutors havesuggested that Mr. Murdaugh’s motive for the killings was to gain sympathy as well as go along his fiscal misdealings concealed.

And the swain found along a road in 2015?

The housekeeper’s decease is not the only one to receive fresh scrutiny.

In June 2021, a few weeks after the deaths of Maggie too Paul Murdaugh, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced that it was opening a novel inquiry into the death of Stephen Smith, a nineteen-twelvemonth-old homo whose trunkwas found on a route near 10 miles from the Murdaugh domicile.

His decease has never been fully explained, together with no arrests were made. It was initially investigated every bit a possible shooting, and then it was considered to be a hitting and run. Police files have got suggested that Mr. Smith ran out of gas on the side of the road several miles away from where his torso was found.

The police hold not accused the Murdaugh family of wrongdoing inwards the instance, together with they have got not said what — during their Murdaughinvestigation — led them to open an investigation into Mr. Smith’s decease.

How powerful is the Murdaugh family?

The Murdaugh legal dynasty goes dorsum to Randolph Murdaugh, who ran a i-human law part earlier he was elected, inward 1920, as the outset principal prosecutor for a five-county part that covers 3,200 foursquare miles.

He served inward the position for ii decades before he was killed inward a develop crash. Then his boy, Randolph Murdaugh Jr., who was known every bit Buster,took over his father’s role inwards the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The younger Murdaugh was in the place for 46 years together with, when he retired, his boy, Randolph Murdaugh III, who was Alex Murdaugh’s father, was elected, serving until 2006.

Alex Murdaugh never ran for the prosecutor task, but he did serve every bit a volunteer prosecutor and sometimes helped his father with cases. He was officially removed from that volunteer role in September,The Island Packet newspaper reported.