New York Daily News

Charged in slay of his family

Jury selection begins; Murdaugh says he didn’t kill wife and son

- BY BRIAN NIEMIETZ into With News Wire Services

Jury selection began Monday in the murder trial of once-prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh, charged with killing his wife and son on the family’s South Carolina estate in 2021.

The 63-year-old former lawyer, who was disbarred in July, admitted to faking his own murder attempt after stealing millions of dollars from clients. However, he denies shooting his 52 year-old wife Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul in June 2021.

Both victims were found near a kennel on the family’s nearly 1,800 acre estate. According to an indictment, a shotgun was used to kill Paul. Maggie was shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle.

Attorneys involved in the case expect jury selection to take several days for a trial scheduled to last three weeks. Murdaugh faces a minimum sentence of 30 years if convicted, and prosecutor­s are not seeking the death penalty. He wished to go to trial as soon as possible, though state agents took 13 months to charge him with two counts of murder.

Hundreds of media members and legal watchers flooded Colleton County, S.C., Monday as the formation of Murdaugh’s 12-person jury began taking shape.

Armed guards walked a silent Murdaugh from his car to the courthouse around 9 a.m.

“Why did you do it, Alex?” one onlooker asked.

The defendant’s convoluted world began to unravel on June 7, 2021 when he told investigat­ors he’d come home to find his wife and youngest son dead after visiting his ailing father. His lawyers, Dick Harpootlia­n and Jim Griffin, told the Daily News their client “did not have anything to do with the murders” of the two victims he loved “more than anything in the world.”

Murdaugh offered a $100,000 reward for informatio­n leading to the arrest of his wife and son’s killer.

His legal team acknowledg­ed their client was the only person of interest in a case where no other suspects were identified.

An investigat­ion into the double-homicide unearthed evidence that led to more than 100 charges against Murdaugh.

In September 2021, People reported members of Murdaugh’s prestigiou­s PMPED law firm, which was founded by his his great-grandfathe­r in 1910, approached him about more than $1 million in missing funds before taking the matter to authoritie­s.

The following day, Sept. 4, Murdaugh was himself shot in the head and treated for “superficia­l” wounds. Police determined the shooting was the result of a botched assisted-suicide attempt. Murdoch allegedly had paid a drug dealer to kill him so the disgraced lawyer’s remaining son, Buster, would receive $10 million in life insurance.

He was charged with filing a false police report and insurance fraud. PMPED cut ties with Murdaugh and later sued him before its partners registered to begin a new practice at the same address, South Carolina’s FITS News reported.

Two days after being shot, Murdaugh was released on his own recognizan­ce and said he would seek treatment for opioid addiction. He claimed his drug use was exacerbate­d by the discovery of his wife and son’s bodies.

Continued investigat­ions Murdaugh’s business dealings resulted in a 27-count grand jury indictment on Nov. 19, 2021.

South Carolina’s attorney general announced 23 additional criminal charges against Murdaugh in Jan. 2022 including 19 counts of Breach of Trust, WJCL reported.

In Dec. 2022, a South Carolina grand jury ordered that Murdoch be tried on nine counts of tax evasion. Prosecutor­s argued he’d collected $14 million as a lawyer over a nine-year period in which he stole $7 million from personal injury clients of his firm.

Victims whose settlement money he allegedly stole include an injured state trooper and the relatives of his own family’s longtime housekeepe­r, who died in a 2019 fall inside the Murdaughs’ home.

At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was awaiting trial related to the death of a 19-year-old woman killed in a boat accident in which he was arrested for boating under the influence. He’d pleaded not guilty. Charges were dropped after his death.

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 ?? ?? Maggie Murdaugh was 52 and her son Paul was 22 when they were found shot to death in 2021. Alex Murdaugh has admitted to taking clients’ money and faking his own death but says he didn’t pull the trigger.
Maggie Murdaugh was 52 and her son Paul was 22 when they were found shot to death in 2021. Alex Murdaugh has admitted to taking clients’ money and faking his own death but says he didn’t pull the trigger.

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