The once-prominent attorney, now disbarred, was charged Thursday morning with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime, according to the South Carolina attorney general. , Alan Wilson, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel. .
Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found shot dead on the family property in Islandton, about an hour north of Hilton Head Island, on the night of June 7, 2021. Alex Murdaugh placed the 911 call reporting the shooting, saying he had just returned home and discovered their bodies.
Murdaugh, a stalwart of the South Carolina legal community, denied any involvement in the deaths, saying he visited his mother at the time.
“Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he had nothing to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul. He loved them more than anything,” said Murdaugh’s lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. statement Thursday.
Lawyers blasted the latest developments in the case.
“It was very clear from day one that law enforcement and the Attorney General prematurely concluded that Alex was responsible for the murder of his wife and son,” the statement said.
Murdaugh faces charges related to financial crimes
Harpootlian and Griffin said they would file a motion for a speedy trial “requesting that the Attorney General turn over all evidence within 30 days as required by law and (requiring) … a trial within 60 days of receipt of this evidence”.
Keel called the indictment “one more step in a long process of justice for Maggie and Paul.”
“Over the past 13 months, SLED officers and our partners have worked day in and day out to build a case against whoever was responsible for Maggie and Paul’s murders and to exclude those who weren’t,” Keel said in a statement. “At no time did the officers lose sight of this investigation. From the start, I have been clear, the priority was to ensure that justice was done.”
A hearing on the most recent bonds will be held Wednesday morning at the Colleton County Courthouse before Judge Clifton Newman, according to the office of South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
South Carolina authorities opened an investigation into Satterfield’s death last year. She died at the Murdaughs’ home in 2018, after what Murdaugh described as a “trip and fall” accident. Questions about his death and how it was handled emerged last year.
“Expected but still shocked,” Eric Bland and Ronnie Richt, attorneys for the Satterfield family, said in a statement, referring to the new indictment. “Just another shameful chapter in the downfall of an evil man devoid of morality. The sad thing is how many victims are in his wake. Clients, family members, legal partners, colleagues and friends. Alex was an equal opportunity aggressor.”
According to SLED, Murdaugh coordinated with his family to sue and reach an insurance settlement, saying he would give the proceeds to the family. However, he secretly deposited about $3 million of that money into an account he owned, according to affidavits released by SLED.
Source cites blood splatter as potential evidence
The blood spatter could put Murdaugh in close contact with at least one of the victims when they were killed, the source said. High-velocity splashes are associated with the use of a particular weapon, such as a rifle, and create a specific blood pattern, especially when used at close range.
Additionally, a phone belonging to Paul Murdaugh was found on his body containing video and audio of Alex Murdaugh speaking with his wife around the time she and Paul were killed, the source said.
Alex Murdaugh is not seen in the video but is heard speaking with her, and that recording has a timestamp, the source said, which could prove key to the investigation.
Murdaugh, the scion of a powerful political family in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, called 911 last June to report that his wife and son had been shot outside their home, according to SLED.
The investigation into these deaths has led to unexpected twists: the reopening of an investigation into the unsolved death of a 19-year-old in 2015; Murdaugh’s resignation as a lawyer for a leading legal group; an admission that he had battled opioid abuse; and dozens of charges accusing him of stealing money from clients.
The South Carolina Supreme Court on Tuesday issued an order expunging Murdaugh, after it suspended his license to practice law in the state in 2021.
CNN’s Eric Levenson and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.