The family of the youngster murdered in a boat tragedy must get $15 million from the store that sold alcohol owned by Alex Murdaugh’s son.
A $15 million settlement has been reached by the family of a kid who was died in a boat disaster, which authorities claim marked the beginning of double murderer Alex Murdaugh’s financial collapse. The action was against a network of convenience stores that provided alcohol to Murdaugh’s son while he was underage.
The agreement was reached on Sunday after a court denied the Parker’s Kitchen chain’s request to be divorced from Murdaugh in a wrongful death trial scheduled for next month in Hampton County, South Carolina, the former home of the influential and well-known lawyer.
Murdaugh killed his wife and the boy in the 2019 drunken boat accident at their house two years later, and he is now receiving a life sentence without the possibility of release.
The family of Mallory Beach hoped that the $15 million settlement, which will be covered by the convenience store chain’s insurance, would demonstrate to the business that it takes alcohol regulations seriously, according to attorney Mark Tinsley, who spoke with media outlets.
An inquiry into the accident revealed that the Parker’s Kitchen employee did not prevent Paul Murdaugh, who was 19 at the time, from using his elder brother’s ID to purchase alcohol. When Paul Murdaugh was murdered in June 2021, he was being charged with boating while intoxicated.
Parker’s Kitchen is not required under the settlement to acknowledge liability for the incident. Owner Greg Parker believed he had no option but to settle since Alex Murdaugh and the company would face trial together in the wrongful death lawsuit, according to a representative for the businesses.
Given that Murdaugh is already almost bankrupt, Parker’s Kitchen, which has deeper resources, would probably be required to pay the majority of the compensation even if the jury determined that the restaurant was just 1% at fault under South Carolina law.
A court denied on Friday to split Parker’s Kitchen from Murdaugh and to take the lawsuit outside of Hampton County.
In addition to expressing disappointment that Tinsley leaked the settlement details before a judge could approve them, lawyer P.K. Shere stated in a statement that “the unfairness of that caused Parker’s insurance carriers to resolve these suits to avoid paying the likely award intended to punish Alex Murdaugh.”
Authorities reported that in February 2019, Beach, 19, died and three other teenagers were injured after Paul Murdaugh maneuvered the boat into a bridge piling.
Paul Murdaugh’s elder brother Buster, the family who hosted the oyster roast the group was attending, and the bar that provided Paul Murdaugh alcohol just before the accident have all had cases against them resolved by Beach’s family.
According to attorneys, Parker’s Kitchen also agreed to settlements with the three teenagers who survived the collision.
Alex Murdaugh and his father came shortly after the collision and attempted to speak with them alone in the emergency department, according to nurses at the hospital where the wounded teenagers were transported. According to a teenager, the family seemed to be attempting to persuade them that someone other than Buster Murdaugh was operating the boat.
Alex Murdaugh was also afraid about being sued for wrongful death after the collision. He was concerned that financial disclosures in the lawsuit would reveal he had been stealing millions from customers and his legal practice for ten years, according to prosecutors during his double murder trial earlier this year.
During the trial, Tinsley testified that he wanted Murdaugh to pay $10 million, but the lawyer for Murdaugh said his client was destitute and could manage to come up with $1 million.
With Murdaugh’s reputation and apparent affluence, Tinsley said it didn’t make sense. As a result, he requested all of Murdaugh’s financial documents, which were presented to the court during a June 10, 2021, hearing that was postponed due to the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son.
According to investigators, Murdaugh shot and murdered his wife Maggie, 52, with four or five rifle bullets outside their house, and killed their son Paul with two shotgun blasts.
When the remains were lying on the ground, Alex Murdaugh asked the investigating police whether he thought his son’s boat accident fury had anything to do with the deaths.
Prosecutors, however, claimed that they were really a cunning scheme to buy him some time to sort out his financial situation and thwart the wrongful death lawsuit resulting from the boat accident.
In court, 55-year-old Murdaugh denied killing his family. He is serving a life term in a South Carolina jail while being held in protective custody. According to his attorneys, he intends to resolve his portion of the Beach family’s wrongful death claim.
If Murdaugh attempted to hinder the criminal investigation into the boat disaster, state investigators have been looking at it. There have been no declared charges.