Barred Lawyer Found Guilty of Double Murder


The Exponent/Abigail Shimniok

Alex Murdaugh, 54, faces two life sentences after being found guilty on two counts of murder and two charges relating to weapons after the death of his wife and son on his South Carolina property in June 2021. Netflix released “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal” on Feb. 22 in response to the trial.

The trial became publicly famous due to the strange elements and past controversies that suggest that the Murdaugh family has powerful political ties to the society around them.

Maggie Murdaugh, 52 and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found shot and killed by Alex Murdaugh on June 7, 2021, after returning home from visiting his parents’ house. Alex Murdaugh stated that he found the bodies near dog kennels on his estate and called 911.

The New York Times provided evidence that Paul Murdaugh was receiving threats after being involved in a boating accident in which he was accused of driving and crashing a boat that resulted in the death of 19-year-old, Mallory Beach. He was found not guilty on multiple felonies after his death, but it is suggested that was the reason for his murder as mentioned by defense attorneys.

 Over a year later, Alex Murdaugh was accused of the murders on July 14, 2022. Alex Murdaugh had already been in jail since Oct. 2021 for stealing about $8.8 million from multiple clients at his law firm.

He had also been charged with other felonies after planning his own suicide in a plot for his oldest son, Buster Murdaugh, to take his life insurance. Edward Smith, Alex Murdaugh’s cousin, helped with the fake murder plot and received felonies relating to conspiracy.

Alex Murdaugh had also been arrested for not distributing funds to his housekeeper’s children after her death. Gloria Satterfield, who worked for the Murdaugh family, died from injuries suffered after an accident on the estate.

Prosecution did not seek the death penalty for the two deaths. According to the Death Penalty Information Center, “South Carolina has not carried out an execution since 2011, stating that it was too difficult to obtain lethal injection drugs.”

The murder trial started on Jan. 25 and ended with a guilty verdict on March 2 after three hours of jury deliberations. The sentencing was on March 3, with it ending in a life sentence for Alex Murdaugh.

During the trial, multiple problems arose, including a jury member having to be released due to them talking to outside sources during the trial, which violates an impartial jury. Another problem during the trial was that the judge had to remove a portrait of a Murdaugh family member that was previously hanging in the courtroom. This was due to the long history of influence they had in the court system.

CNN reports the defense attorneys are planning to appeal Alex Murdaugh’s conviction, saying evidence used for his financial crimes should not have been used as evidence in the murder trial.

Alex Murdaugh still upholds his innocent plea as he begins the evaluation process in the South Carolina Department of Corrections.