Lawyer is accused of killing his wife and son : NPR

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The murder trial of prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is now underway, with Murdaugh facing a possible life sentence if convicted of killing his wife and son.


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The murder trial of prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is now underway, with Murdaugh facing a possible life sentence if convicted of killing his wife and son.


The murder trial of Alex Murdaugh is now underway in South Carolina, with the scion of a well-connected family facing charges that he shot and killed his wife and son in June 2021.

Murdaugh, 54, is being tried at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, SC, where the jury selection process began Monday. A throng of journalists and true crime followers descended on the small town for the trial.

The trial is being held in what for decades was the seat of power of the Murdaugh family, which ran the prosecutor’s office for the fifth county. Fourteenth Circuit. After Murdaugh’s great-grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh Sr., was elected to that position in 1920, the family controlled it for 86 years. In addition, the Murdaughs also ran a profitable private practice.

“Murdaugh will not be arraigned during the trial, which begins Monday in Colleton County,” as South Carolina Public Radio reports. “He faces life behind bars if he is found guilty. In the meantime, a photo of his grandfather that hangs in the courtroom will be removed.”

Judge Clifton Newman is overseeing the trial, which prosecutors expect to end around February 10.

In the early hours of jury selection, at least one potential juror was excused after the judge asked if anyone had been represented by Murdaugh’s former law firm, subpoenaed by the firm, or gone to a party. , hunting or other gatherings of the Murdaughs. . A man identified as juror 203 was excused after telling Newman that he could not be impartial, since Murdaugh had sued his father.

The investigation into the tragic deaths of Maggie Murdaugh and the couple’s son Paul pulled back the veil on a privileged family, revealing dozens of financial crimes that Alex is accused of. It has also renewed interest in other recent deaths linked to the family that have not been fully explained.

Here’s a brief history of the shocking and sad events that led to Murdaugh being charged with murder:

February 24, 2019

The thriving Murdaugh family was thrust into the news when 19-year-old Mallory Beach died following a late-night boating accident in South Carolina’s Low Country with then-19-year-old Paul Murdaugh. the year, in its center.

The authorities said Murdaugh was very drunk and driving a boat carrying five friends after an oyster roast when it hit a channel marker and the pilings of the RC Berkeley Bridge, aground in Beaufort County, near Parris Island. No alcohol was served at the party, but the boat kept a cooler with drinks, and Paul and a friend briefly visited a bar on the sea after the oyster roast.

After the crash, Paul and others were taken to a local hospital, where witnesses say Alex Murdaugh also appeared. The nurse in charge described the elder Murdaugh trying to talk to every passenger on the boat, instructing at least one of them not to tell authorities about the incident.

Mallory Beach’s body was found a week later, about 5 miles from the bridge.

May 6, 2019

More than 70 days after the boating incident, Paul Murdaugh was arraigned and released on bond after a brief court appearance, where he pleaded not guilty to felony charges that include boating under the influence and causing the -death of Beach.

A grand jury had indicted Murdaugh more than two weeks earlier, on April 18.

The local community he immediately criticized the slow pacewho called it a sign of deference to the Murdaugh family that raised generations of lawyers in the area, including prosecutors.

7 June 2021

Alex Murdaugh called 911 shortly after 10 p.m., saying he had just discovered the bodies of Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22. They died on the property of a widespread hunting family known as Moselle, in Islandton, part of Colleton County.

“My wife and child were badly shot!” Alex Murdaugh told the dispatcher. He reportedly told investigators he had been visiting his own parents that night.

Two different weapons were used in the murder: an assault-style rifle for Maggie, and a shotgun for Paul. The coroner said they died between 9 and 9:30 pm

23 June 2021

Reports have surfaced that the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement will conduct its own investigation into the 2015 death of Stephen Smith19, whose body was found on a rural road miles from the Murdaughs’ hunting property.

Smith’s death from a traumatic head injury was initially ruled an unsolved hit-and-run, but his mother rejected that explanation. She said that her son, who was openly gay, was killed after his car ran out of gas, forcing him to walk on the street and possibly exposing him to an attack.

Smith had attended high school with Alex Murdaugh’s older son, Buster.

“SC Highway Patrol case notes from 2015 include Buster Murdaugh’s name nine times,” according to the Hilton Head newspaper The Island Package.

September 3, 2021

The law firm founded by Alex Murdaugh’s family has fired him after determining that he illegally siphoned millions of dollars from the firm and its clients.

September 4, 2021

Alex Murdaugh made another call to 911, saying he had been shot in the head while changing a tire on the side of the road. But state investigators say he orchestrated the incident, even providing Curtis Edward Smith, 61, with a gun to help him commit assisted suicide and insurance fraud.

Nine days later, Murdaugh admitted to the scheme, which he said was an attempt to get his son Buster to receive a $10 million insurance payout.

September 6, 2021

Alex Murdaugh resigned from his law firm and traveled to a Florida rehab center for opioid addiction.

October 14, 2021

Alex Murdaugh was arrested on felony charges of obtaining property by false pretenses, accused of siphoning millions of dollars away from the estate of Gloria Satterfield, his family’s longtime housekeeper who died after falling -stairs in the Moselle property in February 2018.

Murdaugh was taken into custody in Orlando, Fla., where he had checked into a rehabilitation facility.

Prosecutors say Murdaugh convinced Satterfield’s sons that he would help them recover some $2.7 million in an insurance settlement, but that Murdaugh and a longtime friend sent most of the money to themselves instead. The alleged offenses range from money laundering to fraud and breach of trust.

May 4, 2022

Prosecutors said a state grand jury indicted Alex Murdaugh on further payments, including fraud and forgery, bringing the total to 79 state charges on 15 counts. Attorney General Alan Wilson said Murdaugh ran schemes that defrauded victims of $8,492,888.31.

July 12, 2022

The Supreme Court of South Carolina formally Murdaugh snapped, notes the lawyer “admissions of unethical conduct in the context of his numerous criminal charges.” Murdaugh, who had been suspended from practicing law since the previous September, did not contest the decision.

July 14, 2022

A Colleton County grand jury indicted Murdaugh on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime

Alex Murdaugh was indicted on murder charges.

“In the last 13 months, SLED agents and our partners have worked day after day to build a case against the person responsible for the murders of Maggie and Paul and rule out those who were not,” he said. SLED Head Mark Keel. He added, “Today is another step in a long process for justice for Maggie and Paul.”

July 20, 2022

Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to killing his wife and son, as his defense team said Murdaugh “believes the killer or killers are still at large.”

In the court hearing, the prosecutors said that the evidence is “substantial”. But they did not provide details about the case they built, apart from saying that the financial documents touch a motive for the murder. Murdaugh was again denied bond, and the judge said he would consider a motion to limit the amount of evidence that can be publicly disclosed.

January 23, 2023

The murder trial for Murdaugh begins.

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