WALTERBORO, S.C.: Alex Murdaugh, a disgraced South Carolina lawyer, was found guilty of murdering his wife and son on Thursday. The case chronicled the downfall of a wealthy Southern family through tales of privilege, greed, and addiction.


After a six week trial that shed light on the once-prominent attorney’s fall from grace, a jury found Murdaugh guilty of two counts of murder after less than three hours of deliberation.

When court resumes for sentencing on Friday at 9:30 a.m., Murdaugh, 54, faces 30 years to life in prison without parole for each murder charge.
No audible gasps were heard from the roughly 30 members of the public who were seated in the courtroom as the verdict was read. They had been told to be quiet by a court official.

After his father and the defense team had left the courtroom, Murdaugh’s surviving son sat a few rows back and frequently rested his face in the palm of his left hand as the verdict was read.

The defense asked for a mistrial after the verdict was read, but Judge Clifton Newman rejected their request and remarked on the mountain of evidence and testimony the jury had to consider.

Now that they’ve had time to deliberate, he said, “the evidence of guilt is overwhelming” to the jury.

More than 75 witnesses and nearly 800 pieces of evidence were presented to the jury, telling the story of Murdaugh’s betrayal of friends and clients, his failed attempt to stage his own death in an insurance fraud scheme, a fatal boat crash in which his son was implicated, the housekeeper who died in a fall in the Murdaugh home, the grisly scene of the killings, and Bubba, the chicken-snatching dog.

Murdaugh’s son, whom he dubbed “Little Detective,” had a knack for discovering bottles of painkillers in his father’s belongings, even after the lawyer had sworn off the pills. This video appeared to seal Murdaugh’s fate.

On the witness stand, Murdaugh admitted stealing millions of dollars from clients and lying to investigators about being at the dog kennels where the shootings took place, but he steadfastly maintained his innocence in the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

Neither Maggie nor Paul were murdered by me. It goes without saying that Murdaugh will never harm Maggie or Paul.

The kennels near Murdaugh’s rural Colleton County home were the scene of a shooting on June 7, 2021, in which Murdaugh’s 52-year-old wife was shot four or five times with a rifle and their 22-year-old son was shot twice with a shotgun.

The prosecution had no physical evidence, such as confessions or blood spatter, to link the defendant to the Murdaugh killings. Although they lacked direct evidence, they had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, led by a video that had been locked on Paul Murdaugh’s cellphone for over a year, a video shot minutes before the killings in which witnesses testified they heard the voices of all three Murdaughs.

After the murders, Alex Murdaugh repeatedly told police that he was napping before going to see his sick mother that night, and that he had not been at the kennels. When Murdaugh got home, he allegedly found the bodies and made a 911 call to report it.

But in his testimony, Murdaugh admitted going with Maggie and Paul to the kennels, where he allegedly stole a chicken from a boisterous yellow Labrador named Bubba (the name of which can be heard on the video), and then returned home just before the fatal shootings.

On the 23rd day of his trial, Murdaugh falsely testified that he had worked at the kennels for 20 months. He claimed that his paranoia and subsequent distrust of law enforcement were the result of his decades-long opioid addiction. He felt trapped in the lie once he started down that road, he said.
Oh, what a mess we’ve made of things. He testified, “Once I lied to my family, I felt compelled to lie to everyone else as well.

Creighton Waters, the prosecutor, interrogated Murdaugh about the “new story” the lawyer had told him about what had happened at the kennels, criticizing his “fuzzy” recollection of details like his last words to his wife and son.

Maggie Murdaugh’s body was found with bullet holes that matched those fired at a shooting range on the property, according to a state agent’s testimony; however, the defense argued that such a comparison is an imprecise science.

Murdaugh was born into a family that has ruled the local legal community for generations. His family’s law firm expanded to dozens of lawyers by suing railroads, corporations, and other large businesses, and its members included his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, who served as elected prosecutors for the area for more than eighty years.

The disbarred lawyer admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his family business and clients, claiming he needed the money to support his drug habit. Murdaugh was already in jail awaiting trial on roughly one hundred other charges, including insurance fraud and tax evasion, before he was charged with murder.

The prosecution argued that Murdaugh killed his wife and son out of fear that his crimes would soon be exposed. He then used their deaths to garner public sympathy and gain valuable time to cover his tracks.

Murdaugh’s attorneys will likely appeal the conviction on the grounds that the judge made a mistake by allowing evidence of the financial crimes, which were unrelated to the killings but were used by prosecutors to tarnish Murdaugh’s good name.