WALTERBORO, SC—Alex Murdaugh, the prestigious lawyer who has been on trial since January for the murders of his wife and son who were found shot multiple times with a rifle at their rural hunting estate in June 2021, was found guilty on Thursday, March 2, by a South Carolina jury after just 3 hours of deliberation. He faces 30 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Murdaugh was convicted on four counts: the murder of his wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, the murder of his son Paul Murdaugh, 22, and two counts of possession of a weapon. He still faces another trial for numerous financial crimes.
Since the beginning of the trial, the jury has heard testimony from over 70 witnesses and saw about 800 pieces of evidence in the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina. Witnesses included testimony that described Murdaugh’s failed attempt to stage his own death for insurance money, and a fatal boat crash for which his son Paul was facing charges. The jury also heard about the death of the family’s housekeeper in a fall in the Murdaugh home and accusations that Murdaugh defrauded her family of the insurance settlement.
The prosecution spent weeks outlining how Murdaugh had the motive, means and opportunity to commit the murders. He was the first person to make the 911 call after the discovery of the crime.
During Murdaugh’s defense he denied that he was responsible for the murders. He admitted during questioning that he lied to investigators about being at his estate the night of the crime and then blamed his addiction to opiates for his deception. Murdaugh told detectives earlier in the investigation that he was not at the kennels the night of the murders where the bodies were found. He had said he was napping at the family house before visiting his mother, then found the bodies upon returning home.
Evidence found on his son’s cellphone before the murders helped to place Murdaugh at the scene. His son took a video on the phone which shows him attempting to wrangle a dog into a kennel just moments before he and his mother were murdered. Murdaugh’s voice along with his wife’s could be heard on the recording. Friends of the family positively identified them in court.
Eric Alan a local youtuber uploaded a video showing Murdaugh’s brother, John Marvin Murdaugh and his surviving son Buster removing eight 8 guns from the property the day after the crime. A murder weapon was never recovered.