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Murder trial begins for disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh accused of killing wife, son

COLUMBIA, S.C. (TCD) — A once-prominent attorney in South Carolina’s Lowcountry whose family ties to the region go back centuries is now on trial for allegedly killing his wife and one of his sons at their estate in June 2021.

WIS-TV reports opening statements began Wednesday, Jan. 25, as prosecutors argued Alex Murdaugh gunned down his wife and son, while his defense team said the state didn’t have any proof linking him to the killings.

Creighton Waters, a prosecutor with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, reportedly told jurors in his opening statement that Alex Murdaugh allegedly shot Paul Murdaugh at 8:50 p.m. on June 7, 2021, in the shoulder and chest with a 12-gauge shotgun. He then allegedly used an automatic rifle to kill his wife, Maggie Murdaugh.

Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were found dead in a dog kennel area on the family’s estate in Colleton County, and Waters alleged cellphone data put Alex Murdaugh near the kennels around the time his wife and son were killed.

Murdaugh’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, contradicted this during his statements, saying, “Alex was the loving father of Paul and the loving husband of Maggie. You’re not going to hear a single witness say that their relationship, Maggie and Alex’s relationship, was anything other than loving.”

On June 7, 2021, the day of the killings, Alex Murdaugh allegedly went to visit his mother nearby. When he returned home, he allegedly found Maggie and Paul fatally shot.

Paul Murdaugh was awaiting trial in connection with the 2019 boating death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach when he was killed, WIS reports. Paul was reportedly on the boat when it crashed and killed Beach, and his BAC was reportedly at .286%.

In September, four months after Maggie and Paul’s deaths, Alex Murdaugh was reportedly shot in the head as he changed a tire. Alex’s shooting occurred just days after he resigned from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick because he allegedly “misappropriated funds in violation of PMPED standards and policies,” according to Bluffton Today.

Murdaugh was disbarred and suspended by the Supreme Court of South Carolina in September 2021.

Prosecutors charged Murdaugh and Curtis Edward Smith for the September shooting and alleged they conspired to defraud insurance. Murdaugh allegedly hired Smith to kill him so Murdaugh’s other son, Buster, could cash in on his life insurance plan.

Following the September shooting, Murdaugh reportedly entered rehab for drug addiction.

Aside from the murder charges, prosecutors indicted Murdaugh on about 100 additional crimes, including money laundering, forgery, possession of a controlled substance, false statement or misrepresentation in connection with an insurance transction, and more.

The Associated Press reports prosecutors are seeking life in prison for Murdaugh if he is convicted of killing Maggie and Paul.


Attorneys deliver fiery opening statements in Murdaugh murder trial – WISAlex Murdaugh goes on trial in 2021 killings of wife, son – The Associated PressS.C. lawyer Alex Murdaugh charged with murder in wife, son’s death 1 year after mysterious killing, 7/14/2022 – TCDAttorney General Alan Wilson and SLED Chief Mark Keel announce Colleton County Grand Jury indicts Alex Murdaugh for two counts of murder, 7/14/2022 – South Carolina Attorney General’s OfficeTimeline of Murdaugh family murders, investigations, 7/14/2022 – WISS.C. lawyer whose wife, son were killed in June stole money from firm: report, 9/7/2021 – TCDAccused of misappropriation of funds, Alex Murdaugh resigns from law firm and enters rehab, 9/8/2021 – Bluffton Today

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