HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – A Colleton County Grand Jury on Thursday indicted embattled former attorney Alex Murdaugh in connection with the June 2021 murders of his wife Margaret, 52, and youngest son Paul, 22.
Murdaugh was indicted on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime, according to South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel.
The indictments show Murdaugh shot his wife with a rifle and his son with a shotgun.
“Over the last 13 months, SLED agents and our partners have worked day in and day out to build a case against the person responsible for the murders of Maggie and Paul and to exclude those who were not. At no point did agents lose focus on this investigation. From the beginning I have been clear, the priority was to ensure justice was served. Today is one more step in a long process for justice for Maggie and Paul,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel.
Murdaugh attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin provided a statement after receiving the indictment.
“Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul,” the statement reads. “He loved them more than anything in the world.”
“It was very clear from day one that law enforcement and the Attorney General prematurely concluded that Alex was responsible for the murder of his wife and son,” the statement continues. “But we know that Alex did not have any motive whatsoever to murder them. We are immediately filing a motion for a speedy trial, we are requesting that the Attorney General turn over all evidence within 30 days as required by law and we demand to have a trial within 60 days of receiving that evidence.”
The pair was found shot to death at their Colleton County property, known as Moselle, on the night of June 7, 2021. An audibly shaken Murdaugh made the initial 911 call, describing a grizzly scene.
“I need the police and an ambulance immediately. My wife and child have been shot badly,” he said. “I’ve been up to it now, it’s bad.”
SLED was called in to lead the investigation. Days after the murders, SLED released a statement confirming that they had no suspects, but did not believe that there was an ongoing threat to the community.
In the months after the murders, Alex was the only person of interest publicly identified in the investigation.
As speculation swirled about Alex’s involvement, his lawyers shot down rumors about problems in his marriage, and Murdaugh maintained the appearance of mourning husband and father. He and his living son, Buster, put up a cash reward for information leading to an arrest and SLED established a dedicated tip line.
Murdaugh’s web of crime began to unravel when he orchestrated his own botched hit job in a scheme to secure a $10 million life insurance policy for Buster. His arrest led investigators to uncover a decades-long drug addiction, which Murdaugh claimed compelled him to steal millions of dollars from clients with the help of alleged accomplices, including fellow lawyers and bank executives.
As of Wednesday, Murdaugh has been indicted by a South Carolina Grand Jury on 81 charges for schemes to defraud victims of over $8 million.
In addition to his financial crimes and the deaths of his wife and son, Murdaugh is also connected to three other death investigations.
The 2015 death of Stephen Smith, who was found along a rural Hampton County highway with a traumatic head injury, was attributed to him being hit by a car. But investigators in the case were skeptical, and evidence at the scene allegedly did not provide strong support for the theory.
In 2018, the family’s longtime housekeeper allegedly tripped and fell down the stairs at the Murdaugh’s home. Murdaugh admitted to scamming her family out of over $4 million in death settlement money. The Satterfield family has since agreed to exhume the body, noting that the cause of death was listed as “natural” and no autopsy was performed. SLED hopes further analysis can provide insight into the moments leading up to, as well as the cause of, her fall.
Murdaugh is also implicated in the death 2019 death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who died after being thrown from a boat allegedly driven by a grossly intoxicated Paul. Paul and the four other passengers were injured and taken to the hospital, at which point Alex allegedly began a whisper-campaign to shift the blame away from his youngest son. The four living passengers from the crash have all filed suits against Alex for his actions allegedly enabling Paul’s reckless behavior as well as what they say was an attempted coverup.