Alex Murdaugh: Prominent US Lawyer Sentenced to Life for Murdering Wife and Son

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On Friday, Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina lawyer, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife and son on their hunting estate, in a case that gained international notice due to its twists and turns.

Judge Clifton Newman sentenced Murdaugh, the scion of an elite family of judges and attorneys, to consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole for the murders of his son Paul and his wife Maggie on June 7, 2021.

Dismissing Murdaugh’s claims of innocence as “not credible,” the judge told the disgraced attorney he must “see Paul and Maggie during the night times when you’re attempting to go to sleep.”

“I’m sure they come and visit you,” the judge said.

“All day and every night,” replied the lanky red-haired Murdaugh, who was dressed in a tan prison jumpsuit and wearing handcuffs and ankle shackles.

A jury in Walterboro, South Carolina, deliberated for less than three hours before finding Murdaugh guilty on Thursday after a six-week televised trial that gripped the nation.

Before the case was even over, Netflix and HBO released documentaries on it.

Craig Moyer, a carpenter who served on the jury, told ABC News that Murdaugh appeared to be a “huge liar” who lacked “real sorrow or compassion.”

The prosecution claims Murdaugh shot his wife and kid after realizing his years of stealing millions of dollars from his law practice and customers to finance his hidden opiate addiction were likely to be revealed.

Murdaugh, 54, spoke briefly to the court during his sentence in front of a packed courtroom that included his surviving son, Buster, who spoke in his defense.

“I’m innocent. I would never hurt my wife Maggie. And I would never hurt my son Paw Paw,” he said, using his son’s nickname.

“It might not have been you,” the judge responded. “It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills.”

Prosecutor Creighton Waters urged the judge to impose the maximum of life in prison on a man he called a “cunning manipulator.”

“The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes, are stunning,” Waters said. “He violated the trust of so many, including his friends, his family, his partners, his profession, and most of all, Maggie and Paul.”

During the sentencing, the judge noted that Murdaugh’s family had “controlled justice in this community for over a century” and “many have received the death penalty — probably for lesser conduct” than in this case.

Key video on victim’s phone 

Murdaugh’s 22-year-old son Paul was shot with a shotgun, and his 52-year-old wife Maggie was shot with an assault weapon intended to hunt wild pigs on their extensive farm.

While evidence placed Murdaugh to the area just before the murders, the guns were never located, and there was no bloodstained clothes or any direct evidence linking him to the crime.

But, the jury decided that the evidence was sufficient to convict Murdaugh on two counts of murder and two counts of possessing a handgun.

Murdaugh testified in his own defense, describing discovering his wife and son’s deaths at the dog kennels on their farm known as Moselle.

Murdaugh acknowledged to stealing and embezzling, as well as lying about his drug habit, which his attorneys claimed cost $50,000 per week. Yet, he stated that he would never lie about killing his family.

Murdaugh’s counsel suggested that investigators had failed to follow other possible suspects, such as Murdaugh’s drug suppliers and those upset over Paul’s role in the death of a teenage girl on a boat in February 2019.

Murdaugh, according to Waters, was a “master liar” who stole money from a disabled client, the family of a former Murdaugh maid who died in a fall years ago, and his legal partners.

Waters emphasized Murdaugh’s deception to police on the night of the crime that he had not been at the kennels before discovering the deaths.

A video found on Paul’s cell phone showed Murdaugh was there an estimated five minutes before the shootings.

“Everyone who thought they knew who he was, he’s fooled them,” said Waters. “He fooled Maggie and Paul too, and they paid with their lives.”

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