(UnitedVoice.com) – For generations, the Murdaughs have been among the most powerful families in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. From 1920 to 2006, the family served consecutive terms as the area’s solicitors. They were in charge of prosecuting all criminal cases in the 14th Judicial Circuit. Their reach extended across five counties, Beaufort, Allendale, Hampton, Colleton, and Jasper.
The Murdaugh family became known as an untouchable force in the area. However, in recent years, they’ve been embroiled in one scandal after another. It all came to a head when the patriarch of one of the families was given two life sentences for murdering his wife and youngest son.
On June 7, 2021, Alex Murdaugh called 911 to report he’d found his wife and son dead on their rural property in Islandton, South Carolina. Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey, who later testified at trial, revealed that 52-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh died from multiple gunshot wounds. Their bodies were found near dog kennels on the family’s 1,800-acre property known as “Moselle.”
The Daily Beast reported Alex Murdaugh claimed he arrived home after visiting his mother to find the two dead. In the weeks after, he hired someone to shoot him in a staged robbery. He survived the incident, but it raised questions about why he would set up such an event. He later told a judge he hired someone to kill him because he wanted his surviving son, 26-year-old Buster Murdaugh, to receive the insurance payout.
Police investigated the murders of Paul and Maggie for more than a year. Then, in July 2022, a grand jury returned indictments against Alex Murdaugh for the murders.
At the end of January 2023, the murder trial against the family’s patriarch began. Prosecutors accused Alex of killing his wife and son in an attempt to deflect attention away from the financial crimes he was accused of committing. On the day of the murders, his law firm confronted him about missing funds, WJCL reported.
Later that evening, Alex asked his wife, who was staying at their beach home, and Paul to meet him at the Moselle property. Phone records show texts and calls between the three in the hours after, but many of them were manually deleted from Alex’s phone. He said he wasn’t at the house when the shooting occurred. However, Paul sent a Snapchat to his friend a short time before he died, and Alex is heard in the background.
#AlexMurdaugh Video of Paul’s Snapchat. #AlexMurdaughTrial Three voices. pic.twitter.com/A6nZgmbM1X
— Juliet (@JJ00702642478) February 1, 2023
Evidence showed Alex shot his son in the chest with a shotgun as Paul stood in the feed room of the dog kennels. He was still standing after that shot and walking toward the door. At that point, his father shot him again, hitting his neck, shoulder, and head.
During the closing remarks, State prosecutor Creighton Waters told the jury Maggie was shot five times. Three shots hit her while she was standing, and two others were to her head. Both of the shots to her head were described as being instantly fatal.
"She's running to her baby!" Prosecutor Creighton Waters describes to the jury what he says Maggie Murdaugh did when her son Paul was shot.
What do YOU think? ⚖️👇#CourtTV #MurdaughTrial SC v. Alex Murdaugh – Closing Arguments – https://t.co/U3sNLitQDQ pic.twitter.com/GkBJpsW7os
— Court TV (@CourtTV) March 1, 2023
The jury returned a guilty verdict in the case against Alex in less than three hours. A juror spoke to ABC News after the verdict, saying the Snapchat video sealed the disgraced lawyer’s fate.
On March 3, Judge Clifton Newman handed down two consecutive life sentences for the murders.
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