Alex Murdaugh jailed for life over ‘savage’ murder of wife and son

The scion of a prominent American legal family was called a “monster” by a judge as he was jailed for life without parole for murdering his wife and son.

Alex Murdaugh, 54, shot dead his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, who he called “Paw Paw” at their family estate in South Carolina on June 7 2021.

The six-week trial captivated America and Murdaugh, a disbarred lawyer and opioid addict, was convicted by a jury of two charges of murder.

Lawyers for Murdaugh said they would appeal his convictions, arguing that evidence of separate financial crimes should not have been allowed in the trial.

They said the inclusion had caused jurors to believe Murdaugh was a “despicable human being”.

Alex Murdaugh is led to the Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff’s deputies for sentencing on March 3 2023

Credit: Joshua Boucher

Judge Clifton Newman handed down two consecutive life sentences and said Murdaugh would serve the “rest of your natural life” behind bars.

The judge gave a deeply personal address, saying he had known the defendant for years, had presided over cases argued by Murdaugh, and seen him at “various occasions”.

Speaking directly to Murdaugh, Judge Newman said: “You had such a lovely family, such friendly people, including you. To go from that to this…”

‘It might have been the monster you become’“It might not have been you. It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person.”

The judge said Murdaugh had “savagely” murdered his son, who he “probably loved very much”, and “within your own soul you have to deal with that”.

He told Murdaugh: “I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the night time when you’re attempting to go to sleep. I’m sure they come and visit you. I’m sure.”

Murdaugh told the judge they did “all day and every night”.

Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of the murder of his wife Maggie (both right) and son Paul (left)

But he added: “I’m innocent. I would never hurt my wife Maggie, and I would never hurt my son Paw Paw.”

Murdaugh made millions of dollars as a lawyer suing companies on behalf of people who had been injured.

Prosecutors said he had cheated his legal partners and clients out of large sums of money to fund an addiction to painkillers.

They said the motive for the murders was that Murdaugh wanted to garner sympathy and distract attention from his financial crimes.

The key piece of evidence was a Snapchat video on his dead son’s mobile phone, which took a year for investigators to unlock.

It was taken minutes before the killings at the kennels on the family property where the bodies were found.

The voices of all three Murdaughs could be heard on the video.

Murdaugh had originally told police, and maintained for 20 months, that he had not been at the kennels.

Buster Murdaugh, the surviving son of Alex Murdaugh, listens as the verdict is read

Credit: Joshua Boucher

During the trial jurors heard how Murdaugh had staged a failed attempt to fake his own death in an insurance fraud scheme.

They also heard about a fatal boat crash in which his son was implicated, and a housekeeper who died in a fall in the Murdaugh home.

Murdaugh had worn a dress shirt and sport coat during the trial, but was brought to court for the sentencing in a prison jumpsuit.

The sentencing took place in a courtroom in Colleton County, South Carolina where Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases as prosecutors.

His grandfather’s portrait had hung in the back of the courtroom until the judge ordered it taken down for the trial.

The court heard that the Murdaugh family had “controlled justice in this community for over a century”.

The jury took less than three hours to find him guilty.

Juror Craig Moyer said Alex Murdaugh had been ‘a good liar, but not good enough. He never cried. All he did was blow snot’

Credit: Grace Beahm Alford

On the witness stand Murdaugh had appeared to cry as he repeatedly denied the murders.

But juror Craig Moyer later said he had been “a good liar, but not good enough”.

Mr Moyer said: “He never cried. All he did was blow snot. No tears. I saw his eyes.”

Outside court Alan Wilson, the South Carolina Attorney General, said: “The [Snapchat] video hung him. Murdaugh is someone who is a master manipulator and liar. He spent his career being very theatrical in front of juries.

“[But] the verdict proved that no one, no matter who you are in society, is above the law.”

Zaļā Josta - Reklāma
Zaļā Josta - Reklāma