The Murdaugh family, rulers of the rich and powerful elite that ruled the region, had a rarefied place in South Carolina’s southernmost tip, a mild, rural region known as the Lowcountry.
However, two years ago, Alex Murdaugh, a fourth-generation scion of a local legal dynasty, phoned the police to report that his wife Maggie and son Paul had been shot on the premises of their family estate.
The former attorney was convicted guilty of both murders after a six-week trial.
A story of murder, deceit, and narcotics, Murdaugh’s case became one of the most carefully followed in the nation.
Here is a peek at the story’s core protagonists, who are currently a split family.
Alex Murdaugh is responsible for two murders
A rich attorney who worked for the private litigation business his great-grandfather created is the main character in this story.
The 52-year-old was described by coworkers as a boisterous, frantic presence who was often late and hurried.
Murdaugh was a dominant force in the neighborhood legal scene, earning his client’s significant settlements that supported his luxurious lifestyle in line with family tradition.
Murdaugh was stealing from his customers and coworkers, sometimes up to $3.7 million (£3 million) in a single year alone, but the veneer of success concealed some sordid truths. He admitted to the crime when giving testimony at his murder trial and blamed a costly and desperate opioid addiction.
Murdaugh said at trial that he spent up to $50,000 per week on his habit. I’m not sure how I allowed myself to get here, he added.
Murdaugh now faces a mandatory life sentence in prison for the deaths of Maggie and Paul as well as for over 100 more financial offenses.
Maggie Murdaugh – his wife
Maggie Murdaugh, his wife, was born and raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, but she attended college in South Carolina, where she later met her future husband, Alex.
Before her death in 2021 at the age of 52, friends and relatives testified at the trial that Maggie Murdaugh was a kind and laid-back person.
Alex Murdaugh Murder Trial Explained
She was regarded as a devoted mother to her two boys and a full-time housewife. Marian Proctor, her sister, said during the trial that “Buster and Paul were her worlds.”
Family members said that Mrs. Murdaugh was a “girl’s girl,” not naturally inclined to the pursuits of her husband and kids, such as hunting and fishing, but she plunged right in.
She just wanted to follow their lead, according to Mrs. Proctor.
The youngest son is Paul Murdaugh.
“Paw Paw,” as his father addressed him on the witness stand, was a University of South Carolina undergraduate student at the time of his death.
Paul, 22, was praised by family and friends for being curious and caring, and for showing special consideration to his elderly grandparents.
He was a rough rural lad who was 100% country. yet, he looked after so many,” his father said during the trial.
But during Paul’s brief existence, there were some really unsettling events.
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He was accused of driving while intoxicated during the 2019 boat disaster that claimed the life of Mallory Beach, 19, and he was also charged with three other connected crimes at the time of his death.
Paul entered a not-guilty plea but passed away before going to court.
Paul would be the only survivor who would deny being the driver when the collision occurred. They said that when intoxicated, he transformed into “Timmy,” a vicious and irrational alter ego, who reportedly beat his fiancée the night of the accident.
The oldest son, Buster Murdaugh
In what would have been the sixth generation of Murdaugh males, the 26-year-old had planned to join his father in the family business after graduating from Spartanburg, South Carolina’s Wofford College.
He has consistently attended his father’s trial, sitting calmly every day a few seats behind Murdaugh. However, he momentarily got into trouble when it was claimed that he gave his father a book by John Grisham that was subsequently proven to be illegal.
Buster spoke out in his father’s defense, saying that the deaths of Maggie and Paul “destroyed” him as a loving presence.
A suicide attempt by Curtis “Cousin Eddie” Smith was unsuccessful.
He plays a peculiar role in a specific chapter of the Murdaugh family story.
Mr. Smith, a handyman, and former logger, routinely completed odd projects for Alex Murdaugh, his distant cousin. According to Alex Murdaugh and his attorneys, one of these duties was to serve as Murdaugh’s “personal drug dealer” and routinely provide him with tablets.
A state grand jury indicted both individuals on drug trafficking counts in June of last year. In this case, neither party has yet to file a plea.
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The most bizarre request came from Murdaugh in September 2021, three months after the deaths of Maggie and Paul, when he begged Mr. Smith to meet him one Saturday on the side of a country road and shoot him in the back of the head.
Depending on who you ask, what occurred next, both men agreed that Murdaugh was the one who came up with the plan in the first place. He intended to make his death seem to be a murder so that his son Buster might perhaps collect on his life insurance policy.
In the failed plot, both have been accused.
Initially released on bail, Mr. Smith was sent back to prison when a court determined that he had violated the terms of his bond.
Gloria Satterfield is the maid.
The 57-year-old became a mainstay in the Murdaugh household over her more than 20 years as their maid.
According to Eric Bland, the attorney who defended Ms. Satterfield’s boys, Ms. Satterfield “spent more time with the Murdaughs than she probably did with her own kids.”
The Murdaughs said that she passed away in 2018 after tripping and falling on their front stairs.
Murdaugh contacted her sons Tony and Brian at her burial and advised them to sue him for wrongful death since his homeowner’s insurance would cover the costs.
The payout from two of Murdaugh’s insurance policies totaled $4.3 million, but the Satterfields received nothing. As he confessed in court, Alex Murdaugh had kept it in his pocket.
Law police in South Carolina said they will exhume Ms. Satterfield’s corpse last year following Murdaugh’s arrest. There haven’t been any recent discoveries or arrests reported.
Mallory Beach, the victim of a boating accident
Aboard February 23, 2019, late in the evening, the 19-year-old was aboard the Murdaugh family boat with Paul Murdaugh and four other companions when it slammed into a bridge. Mallory drowned after being pushed overboard, and her corpse was found days later in a swamp some distance away.
Friends and relatives characterized the former University of South Carolina student as a shining light.
She was good friends with Morgan Doughty, Paul Murdaugh’s ex-girlfriend.
Morgan claims that Mallory attempted to warn her about Paul, claiming that he would become rude and aggressive when intoxicated, in a Netflix documentary on the Murdaugh case.
The family dog is named Bubba Murdaugh.
Alex Murdaugh’s yellow Labrador, who was characterized as headstrong and Maggie’s favorite throughout the murder trial, has been brought up several times.
He has, nevertheless, also contributed significantly to the prosecution’s case.
The voice of Murdaugh speaking to Bubba can be heard on a cellphone video filmed at the Murdaughs’ dog kennels by Paul around five minutes before the deaths, according to the prosecution.
The footage refuted Murdagh’s assertions that he had remained home to take a sleep rather than going to the kennels with his family that night. On the witness stand, Mr. Murdaugh acknowledged lying about his whereabouts.
Bubba currently resides with Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson, a former Murdaugh family employee.
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