Alex Murdaugh, a fourth-generation lawyer whose family has long held power and influence in a rural section of South Carolina, was charged on Thursday with the murder of his wife and one of his sons at the family’s remote hunting estate in a baffling murder case that remained unsolved for more than a year. The investigation into the deaths of Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son began after the bodies of Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son were discovered at the family’s hunting
On June 7, 2021, Mr. Murdaugh, who is now 54 years old, was accused on two charges of murder after prosecutors said that he fatally shot his wife Maggie Murdaugh, who was 52 at the time, with a rifle and then murdered his son Paul Murdaugh, who was 22 at the time, with a shotgun. Alex Murdaugh had placed a call to 911 that evening from the family’s estate in Islandton, which is about 65 miles west of Charleston. He said that he had come home to discover his wife and son dead beside his dog kennel.
The state police and the attorney general of South Carolina, who have been investigating the case, did not provide any new facts about the killings, which shocked the legal community in the state and captured the interest of amateur detectives throughout the nation. Mr. Murdaugh, who has been incarcerated since October because he was unable to post bail after being indicted on dozens of financial and fraud crimes, is scheduled to appear in front of a judge on Wednesday morning for a bond hearing on the murder charges. The judge will decide whether or not to release Mr. Murdaugh on bond.
The attorneys for Mr. Murdaugh said in a statement that they released on Thursday that their client was innocent of the crimes and loved his wife and kid “more than anything else in the world.”
The murders quickly brought the Murdaugh family, the deaths of numerous others affiliated with them, and the influence the family wielded in the area under the microscope. Mr. Murdaugh’s father, grandpa, and great-grandfather had all held the position of chief prosecutor in the South Carolina Lowcountry, which is a wide territory located in the state’s southeastern corner.
Both the death of Gloria Satterfield in 2018, a housekeeper who worked for the Murdaugh family and died after falling on their house’s front steps, and the death of Stephen Smith in 2015, a 19-year-old man who was found along a road about 10 miles from the Murdaugh home and who was thought to have been hit by a truck, have been reexamined by the police. Both deaths have occurred since the Murdaugh family moved into their current home. A statement made by the police department the previous month indicated that they intended to exhume Ms. Satterfield’s corpse. They have not implicated anybody else in either of the two fatal incidents in any way.
The deaths have also brought fresh attention to a fatal boat accident that happened in 2019, one that the prosecution had stated took place while Paul Murdaugh was behind the wheel of the vessel. Paul Murdaugh was still facing the allegations that he was drunkenly driving the boat into a bridge in 2019, which caused the death of one of the passengers, Mallory Beach, when he was slain. The charges were still pending against him when he was killed.
This month, Mr. Murdaugh and Mr. Smith, his distant cousin, were accused on conspiracy charges for what the prosecutors said was years of money laundering tied to the distribution of oxycodone. The allegations were brought against them in this month. Mr. Murdaugh claimed the previous year that he was addicted to drugs and checked himself into a drug rehab clinic in Florida. However, in October of that year, he was detained at the centre for financial offences relating to the settlement payments in the case of Ms. Satterfield.
This week, shortly after it was reported that he was likely to be charged with the murders of his wife and son, the Supreme Court of South Carolina issued an order that he be disbarred based on his admissions that he owed money to Ms. Satterfield’s family, that he stole from his law firm, and that he tried to fake his own murder. The order came shortly after it was reported that he was likely to be charged with the murders of his wife and son.
As a result of the killings, Hampton County, Virginia, a rural area with approximately 18,000 people and the location of the Murdaugh family’s legal dynasty since 1910, has received a significant amount of media attention and has become the focus of a number of true crime podcasts and documentaries that are still in production.
In a statement released on Thursday, the Chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Mark Keel, stated that agents had maintained their concentration on the case for the previous thirteen months and that they were committed to locate a criminal.