Alex Murdaugh found guilty of killing his wife and son

South Carolina attorney was found guilty of murdering his wife and son in order to divert attention from his multimillion-dollar financial crimes. 

Alex Murdaugh, 54, was found guilty of two counts of murder following less than three hours of deliberation following a six-week trial. He will face 30 years in prison for each murder charge. This comes without the possibility of parole. Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot at close range near the dog kennels on June 7, 2021, on their family’s estate. While Maggie was shot four or five times with a rifle, their son was shot twice with a shotgun. 

As he denied a defense motion for a mistrial, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman stated that the evidence of guilt is daunting. Friday morning was scheduled for the sentencing. Murdaugh had pleaded not guilty to the murders of his wife and son in an attempt to cover up years of financial corruption - forgery that he had admitted in court.

Immediately following the verdict of the 12-person jury, dozens of spectators gathered outside the courtroom's rear entrance, where officers quickly placed a handcuffed Murdaugh into a black van.

Despite reporters shouting questions, he remained silent. The police placed him inside the vehicle, while a man standing behind the media line prayed aloud for his safety. Murdaugh was once a prominent personal injury attorney in the state, and until 2006, members of his family served as the top prosecutors in the region.

The trial, however, revealed that he had been stealing from his law partners and clients for years to support his painkiller addiction and lavish lifestyle. Murdaugh was not arrested for more than a year after he murdered his family, as investigators unraveled the case's complexities. 

He took the witness stand in a risky move for a murder defendant, trying to persuade the jury that someone seeking revenge for Paul's death in a 2019 boating accident could have murdered his son. Murdaugh testified that he would never hurt Maggie or Paul under any circumstances.

The entire case against him rested on circumstantial evidence. At trial, no direct evidence, such as a murder weapon, blood on the defendant's clothing, or an eyewitness, was presented. Instead, the prosecution centered its case on an incriminating Snapchat video captured by Murdaugh's son just prior to the murders. 

Paul and his mother were murdered at the kennels on the expansive hunting estate known as Moselle. Alex Murdaugh repeatedly told the law enforcement even twenty months after the murders that he was not at the dog kennels that evening and he was instead napping at home. However, in a Snapchat video that was filmed by Paul a few minutes before the shootings, Alex Murdaugh’s voice could be heard in the background.

Judge Newman ruled early in the proceedings that prosecutors could show proof of Murdaugh's alleged financial crimes. According to investigators, he stole millions from colleagues and clients, including $3.7 million (£3 million) in 2019. During his trial, Murdaugh did admit to massive theft.

Multiple witnesses gave testimony that on the night of the murders, Alex Murdaugh asked Maggie to return to Moselle from the family's other property in nearby Edisto Beach. The top prosecutor in South Carolina, Attorney General Alan Wilson, stated, "Today's verdict proves that no one in society is above the law."