Alex Murdaugh: Disgraced South Carolina lawyer handed life sentence for murdering wife and son | US News
Alex Murdaugh, the disgraced South Carolina lawyer who murdered his wife and son, has been given two consecutive life sentences.
The jury deliberated for less than three hours on Thursday before finding him guilty of fatally shooting his wife, Margaret, 52, with a rifle outside dog kennels on their rural Colleton County property in South Carolina on 7 June 2021.
On the same day, he shot his 22-year-old son Paul twice with a shotgun.
Prosecutors had said the lawyer carried out the killings in an effort to distract from the fact he had been stealing millions of dollars from the family firm and clients to feed his drug habit.
During the trial, the jury heard from more than 75 witnesses and were shown almost 800 pieces of evidence.
The court was told about the clients, friends and family members he had betrayed, as well as his failed attempt to fake his own death as part of an insurance fraud.
The Murdaugh family have featured in a popular Netflix docuseries – Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal – which details a number of the controversies linked to them.
Before his murder charge, he was in prison awaiting trail on 100 or so other charges, which ranged from fraud, to tax evasion.
In sentencing, the judge said: “You have turned from lawyer to witness, and now have an opportunity to make your final appeal as an ex-lawyer”.
Murdaugh, as he has done throughout the trial, maintained his innocence, saying he “would never under any circumstances” hurt his wife and son.
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The judge said: “it might not have been you, it might be the monster you become when you take… opioids”.
Creighton Waters, the prosecutor, said: “The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes are stunning.
“The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he is, including here, sitting right over there in this witness stand – your honour, a man like that, a man like this man, should never be allowed to be among free, law-abiding citizens.”
The Murdaugh family was part of the state’s legal scene for more than a century, with his brother running the firm that was set up more than 100 years ago.
Murdaugh was sentenced in the same courtroom that his father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases in as the elected prosecutor for more than 80 years.
A portrait of his grandfather which hung at the back of the building was removed.