Alex Murdaugh found guilty of murdering his wife and son
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Featured Image Credit: Law & Crime Network/Maggie Murdaugh/Facebook
South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been found guilty of murdering his wife and son following a near-six week trial.
Murdaugh, 54, was convicted on Thursday (2 March) on two counts of murder and two weapons-related charges after his wife, Maggie, 52, and their son, Paul, 22, were fatally shot on the family’s South Carolina estate in June 2021.
The lawyer had previously pleaded not guilty to the murders after he was accused of carrying out the killings to distract from allegations that he had been stealing from the family firm.
Last summer, Murdaugh was disbarred following charges of multiple financial crimes including the theft of about $8.8 million (£7.3m). At the time, the lawyer claimed he had used the money to fuel an opioid addiction.
He was found guilty yesterday by a jury of seven men and five women who had been shown footage filmed by Paul in his last moments, with Murdaugh's voice audible in the background.
Prosecutors said Murdaugh had killed his son with a shotgun, then turned a rifle to his wife when she ran to see what had happened.
He is then described as having sought to come up with an alibi for the killings by texting and calling his wife and going to visit his mother a short drive away.
Murdaugh was the one who alerted authorities to the deaths when he called 911 after returning from the trip to see his mother, and his older son, Buster, testified in court about how distraught Murdaugh had been following the killings.
Bodycam footage from the scene showed the lawyer talking on the phone while asking an officer: "They are dead aren't they?"
During the trial, defense lawyer Jim Griffin argued the state had no direct evidence that Murdaugh had pulled the trigger that evening, though both the video and data from Maggie and Paul's phones helped prosecutors prove Murdaugh was the only one with the motive, means and opportunity to carry out the killings.
Following the guilty verdict, Murdaugh's lawyers for Murdaugh moved for a mistrial but were denied by the judge, who said there was enough evidence to find Murdaugh guilty.
Speaking to the jurors, the judge said: "All of the evidence pointed to only one conclusion. That's the conclusion that you all reached."
Murdaugh's sentencing is set to take place today (3 March). He faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison, though prosecutors have expressed plans to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Alan Wilson, the state attorney general, said after the verdict that the conviction proves 'no one, no one — no matter who you are in society — is above the law'.