Alex Murdaugh should be charged with killing his wife and son, lawyer says

A long-running mystery over who killed the wife and son of Alex Murdaugh, heir to a powerful legal dynasty in South Carolina, could be heading for resolution this week as police say they plan to charge Mr Murdaugh in the murders, one of his lawyers said on Tuesday.

Mr Murdaugh had previously faced a series of fraud and theft charges which culminated in his arrest in September 2021 and a wave of subsequent indictments. But no one had been formally charged in the deaths of 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, who were shot and killed at the family’s rural hunting estate in Islandton, about 65 miles east. west of Charleston.

One of Mr. Murdaugh’s attorneys, Jim Griffin, said state police investigators had informed some of Mr. Murdaugh’s relatives that they planned to seek an indictment against Mr. Murdaugh for the charges. killings this week. A spokeswoman for the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement, which investigated the case, did not confirm the attorney’s account.

It was Mr Murdaugh, appearing deeply shaken, who called 911 on the night of June 7, 2021 and told a dispatcher he had returned home to find the bodies of his wife and son lying near a kennel on the family’s secluded estate. , which sits away from the road at the end of a winding driveway.

Mr Murdaugh, 54, is a fourth-generation lawyer whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather each served as the lead prosecutor in a district that spans a wide swath of the region. South Carolina lowcountry.

But in the months following the double murder, Mr Murdaugh’s life fell apart drastically.

The law firm founded by his ancestors reported that Mr Murdaugh stole money from the firm and fired him, after which police say he concocted a bizarre scheme to get one of his cousins ​​​​shoots him on a deserted road. The cousin, Curtis Edward Smith, fired a shot that did not hit Mr. Murdaugh, and Mr. Murdaugh was later charged with fraud while Mr. Smith was charged with assisted suicide and other crimes.

Last month, prosecutors filed additional charges against Mr. Murdaugh and Mr. Smith, accusing them of laundering millions of dollars over several years as part of a distribution ring for the painkiller oxycodone.

Mr Murdaugh has also been accused of stealing millions of dollars from clients and others, including the family of a Murdaugh housekeeper who died after falling on the steps of their home early one morning in 2018. Mr Murdaugh admitted last month that he wrongly pocketed the settlement money and owed $4.3 million to the sons of housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. After being briefly released following his initial arrest, Mr Murdaugh returned to prison in October on charges related to the settlement with the housekeeper’s family.

On Tuesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court issued an order expunging Mr. Murdaugh for his theft from the Satterfield family.

Mr Griffin said Mr Murdaugh continued to maintain his innocence in the deaths of his wife and son.

At the time he was killed, Paul Murdaugh was facing charges of boating under the influence after he was accused of driving a boat into a bridge, killing 19-year-old passenger Mallory Beach after a night of drinking . Ms Beach’s family had sued the Murdaughs and their lawyer had tried to force Alex Murdaugh to provide details of his finances before his wife and son were killed.

The murders have returned scrutiny to the boating accident – including whether Paul Murdaugh received favorable treatment from police – and raised new questions about the Murdaugh family.

State police have opened an investigation into Ms Satterfield’s death and last month said they planned to exhume her body. Investigators have also re-examined the death of a 19-year-old man, Stephen Smith, who was found dead along a road about 10 miles from the Murdaugh home in 2015. No one has been charged in those deaths, which were both considered accidents.

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