Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murdering his wife and kid on Thursday after a jury of 12 delivered a guilty verdict after less than three hours of discussion.
The jury found Murdaugh, 54, guilty of two counts of murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent felony without asking the judge a single question.
Murdaugh was distraught as the clerk gave the sad decision. Buster, his sole surviving son, sat in the gallery, shaking his head and wiping his face with his palm. He did not, however, seem to cry.
“We’re obviously disappointed. “But we will have no more comment until he is sentenced,” Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, told Fox News Digital outside the courtroom.
“What a wonderful day for the state of South Carolina,” state Attorney General Alan Wilson told a throng of about 100 people gathered outside the Colleton County Courthouse for a post-verdict news conference.
When Murdaugh left the courthouse, a few bystanders heckled him. A safe exit took Murdaugh’s family, including Buster, out of the courtroom.
The panel’s decision, which may sentence Murdaugh to life in prison, came after a six-week trial and evidence from 76 witnesses. Sentencing is set for Friday morning at 9:30 a.m.
Prosecutors said Murdaugh used a shotgun to murder his son, Paul, 22, inside a feed room linked to the family’s estate, Moselle, and a rifle to kill his wife, Maggie, 52, on June 7, 2021.
Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters told jurors that the disbarred attorney committed the double murders to avoid a catastrophic financial consequence.
The affluent scion of a once-powerful legal family has acknowledged being a drug addict and thief who reportedly defrauded his law practice and customers of about $9 million.
Nonetheless, he denied murdering his wife and children.
The most compelling piece of evidence against Murdaugh was a smartphone video retrieved from Paul’s phone in 2022, which showed Alex at the murder site with the victims four minutes before they were shot to death at 8:50 p.m., according to prosecutors.
Murdaugh consistently told police, acquaintances, and his own family for months that he did not go to the dog kennels the night of the murders. However, he claimed to be asleep at the main home set on a hill before leaving to see his mother in neighboring Almeda at 9:07 p.m.
When he returned, he didn’t find them in the main home, so he drove to the kennels, where he claimed to have discovered their mauled carcasses approximately 30 feet apart, checked their pulses, and contacted 911.
Nevertheless, GPS data from his Chevy Suburban showed that he contacted 911 less than 20 seconds after pulling up.
“It’s been nineteen seconds. Is that enough time for an astonished human to arrive at the scene, assess what they’re seeing, get out of the vehicle, walk over there, inspect both of their corpses, and then contact 911?” In his concluding argument, Waters asked.
“It’s so rapid because he knew precisely what scenario he was going to discover,” the prosecution said to jurors. Murdaugh said that he had checked their pulses while on the phone with 911.
Murdaugh revealed publicly for the first time that he lied to investigators about his attendance at the kennels that night in three different interviews.
He stated that his oxycodone addiction made him fearful of law enforcement, despite having a particularly close connection with local prosecutors and sheriff’s departments.
For 87 years, three generations of the Murdaugh family presided over five counties in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, a reign that ended when Alex Murdaugh’s late father Randolph Murdaugh III resigned in 2005.
The Murdaugh name had great power, and Alex Murdaugh even worked as a volunteer prosecutor, wearing a badge and driving a private vehicle outfitted with blue police lights.
Waters told jurors last week that Murdaugh was a skilled conman who wanted to fool them.
“He is a guy who has earned a living by lying. “When presented with something he wasn’t prepared for, he smoothly and readily transitioned to a new untruth,” Waters said of Murdaugh’s testimony.
“He duped Maggie and Paul as well, and they paid the price with their lives. “Don’t let him mislead you, either,” the prosecutor said.
The defense summoned 14 witnesses, including specialists who testified that Maggie’s shooter was no taller than 5 feet, 4 inches, and that two murderers were most likely present.
Defense attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin painted Murdaugh as a devoted father and husband incapable of perpetrating such a horrible act.
Griffin said in summaries that investigators “failed terribly” in their investigation.
He listed all of the alleged mistakes made by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the state attorney general’s office, which he said focused only on Murdaugh without examining other possibilities.
“On behalf of Alex, Buster, Maggie, and my buddy Paul, I sincerely beg that you do not compound a family tragedy with another. “Thank you,” Griffin responded, his voice breaking with passion.
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When Murdaugh is condemned, he faces up to life in jail.