Alex Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison for murder of wife and child
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Disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been sentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of his wife and son today, concluding a near-six week trial.
He faced a minimum sentence of 30 years in prison, though prosecutors had expressed plans to seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.
Murdaugh spoke briefly during the sentencing in which he said he would never would have harmed his wife Maggie Murdaugh, or his son Paul Murdaugh.
"I am innocent. I would never hurt my wife Maggie. I would never hurt my son Paul Paul," he declared.
Judge Clifton Newman, who delivered the sentence and mentioned the death of his own son Brian DeQuincey Newman, said he did not expect a confession from Murdaugh.
Judge Newman said: "As a member of the legal community and well-known member of the legal community, you’ve practiced law before me and we’ve seen each other in various occasions throughout the years.
"It was especially heartbreaking for me to see you go in the media from being a grieving father who lost the wife and son to being the person indicted and convicted of killing them."
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters told the Judge that there will be no victim impact statement during Murdaugh’s sentencing hearing on behalf of the prosecution.
"I want to commend our victim advocate on the excellent job handling this complex situation," Waters said.
A victim advocate said none of them wished to speak during the sentencing.
On Thursday (2 March) Murdaugh, 64, was convicted on two counts of murder and two weapons-related charges after his wife, Maggie, 52 and their 22-year-old son Paul were fatally shot on the family’s estate in South Carolina in June 2021.
During the trial, a jury consisting of seven men and five women were shown footage filmed by Paul in his last moments, with Murdaugh's voice audible in the background. The jury deliberated for about three hours on Thursday before delivering the four guilty verdicts for the murders and weapons charges.
Bodycam footage from the scene showed the lawyer talking on the phone while asking an officer: "They are dead aren't they?"
Prosecutors said the lawyer murdered his son with a shotgun, before using a rifle to his wife's life when she ran to see what had happened.
Murdaugh is then described as trying to come up with an alibi for the time the killings took place by texting and calling his wife and going to visit his mother a short drive away.
The 64-year-old alerted authorities to the deaths of his wife and son when he called 911 once he returned from the trip to see his mother. His older son Buster testified in court about how distraught his dad had been following the killings.
Murdaugh had previously pleaded not guilty to the killings after he was accused of carrying out the murders to distract from allegations that he had been stealing from the family firm.
He was disbarred last summer following charges of multiple financial crimes including the theft of around $8.8 million (£7.3m). At the time, Murdaugh claimed he had used the money to fuel an opioid addiction.