Alex Murdaugh, a once prominent lawyer from South Carolina, was convicted on all counts relating to the killings of his wife and son on June 7th.
A jury found him guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of using an illegal weapon in just three hours. He currently faces 30 years in prison for each count – prosecutors did not seek the death penalty. While he used to be a well-respected member of the community, Creighton Waters said after the verdict that “Justice was done today.” No matter who you are or how much money you have, if you violate the law, justice will be served in South Carolina.
The verdict is in – prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been found guilty on all counts for the murder of his wife and son. After a three-hour deliberation, jurors held the 54-year-old accountable for using a rifle to kill Maggie Murdaugh and a shotgun to take the life of his son Paul on June 7, 2021 at their sprawling Moselle hunting estate.
Mr. Murdaugh now faces sentences of 30 years to life in prison on each conviction, with prosecutors not seeking the death penalty.
Upon hearing this verdict, prosecutor Creighton Waters delivered a powerful message: “It doesn’t matter who your family is. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or people think you have. It doesn’t matter what you think how prominent you are. If you do wrong, if you break the law, if you murder, then justice will be done in South Carolina.”
Judge Clifton Newman described the evidence of guilt in the case against Murdaugh as “overwhelming” and denied a request from the defense to declare a mistrial.
The judge’s comments concluded the six-week trial, which captivated South Carolina — and the nation. Media coverage included live broadcasts of the trial itself, true crime podcasts and a docuseries on Netflix.
Murdaugh admitted to lying about his alibi, but insisted he did not kill his wife and son.
Earlier in the day, Murdaugh’s defense team made its final bid to prevent him from spending decades in prison, delivering their closing argument in the trial of the disbarred South Carolina attorney charged in the murders of his wife and son.
Murdaugh’s defense says investigators fabricated evidence
Defense attorney Jim Griffin said law enforcement was biased against Alex Murdaugh from early on — adding that they later fabricated evidence against him. Pulling at threads of the prosecution’s case, Griffin said state investigators “failed miserably in investigating this case.”
“Unless we find somebody else, it’s gonna be Alex,” Griffin said, giving his version of investigators’ thinking. Saying his client’s opioid habit made him “an easy target for SLED,” Griffin added. “They started fabricating evidence against Alex.”
Prosecution says to focus on what is real
Prosecutor John Meadors — a veteran of murder trials, who emerged from retirement to join the state’s case earlier this year — delivered the rebuttal closing argument. In a speech rife with dramatic flair, Meadors called on the 12 jurors to look past the lies the trial has exposed, including Murdaugh’s fluctuating alibi.
All Murdaugh had done when he testified, Meadors said, was to corroborate that he is a liar.
“That’s what’s real,” Meadors repeated as he urged the jury to focus on the facts of the case, not what he deemed the defense’s efforts to undermine them. He repeatedly invoked “credibility and common sense.”
“Thank God for Bubba,” Meadors says of Murdaugh’s dog
The prosecutor recalled testimony from a friend of Paul’s who said he and Paul shot his .300 Blackout rifle — which prosecutors say was used to kill Maggie — a month or two before the murders. That proves the gun, which has not been located, had recently been at Moselle, Meadors said.
“That’s powerful. You can feel it like the rain,” he said.
“This is an episode of Columbo, except this is real,” Meadors said, adding that just like the killers in that TV detective show, Murdaugh made crucial mistakes.
Defense pokes at prosecutors’ use of phone data
Griffin replayed the video Paul took in the kennels around 8:44 p.m., minutes before prosecutors say the shooting started. It captured Alex, Maggie and Paul talking about dogs.
“Four minutes later, the state would have you believe that Alex Murdaugh up and blew his son’s brains out” and killed his wife, Griffin said.
Murdaugh would never kill his wife and son, defense says
Griffin replayed witness testimony describing Murdaugh as a loving husband and father. As for the accusations of financial misdeeds that arose in Murdaugh’s law firm the morning of June 7, 2021, Griffin insisted it was not different from any other day in the “frenetic” life of Alex Murdaugh.
Prosecutor told jurors: Don’t let Murdaugh fool you
In his closing argument, Waters stressed to jurors that he thinks one thing was missing from the two days Murdaugh spent testifying. If the new alibi is true, Waters asked, why hadn’t Murdaugh voiced any regret that he didn’t remain at the kennel, to potentially protect his wife and child?
Jurors have gotten a massive amount of information about Murdaugh’s character, from his former law colleagues and clients who said he stole millions of dollars, to the multiple stories about his alibi.
“This defendant has fooled everyone — everyone who thought they were close to him,” Waters said. “He fooled Maggie and Paul, too, and they paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him fool you, too.”
source : npr