A 54-year-old attorney, who had been disbarred, was found guilty of murdering his wife and son in 2021. Richard Murdaugh, also known as Alex, was convicted of the heinous crime after a three-hour deliberation by the jury on Thursday in South Carolina, United States.
Details revealed that on June 7, 2021, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and her 22-year-old son, Paul, were tragically shot and killed near the dog kennels at their residence. Initially, Murdaugh told detectives that he had not been at the kennels prior to discovering the bodies, but he later confessed in court that his statement had been a lie.
Murdaugh was found guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. His sentencing has been scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Friday, March 3, and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The jury’s decision marked the end of a long and arduous trial, during which the prosecution presented damning evidence that ultimately led to the conviction of the former attorney. In addition to providing evidence of Murdaugh’s culpability, the prosecution argued that he had murdered his wife and son in a desperate attempt to win sympathy and buy time to conceal the financial crimes that were about to be exposed.
The courtroom saw over 75 witnesses and almost 800 pieces of evidence. During the trial, Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from his clients but insisted he was not responsible for Maggie and Paul’s deaths. “I did not kill Maggie, and I did not kill Paul. I would never hurt Maggie, and I would never hurt Paul – ever – under any circumstances,” Murdaugh stated on the witness stand.
Furthermore, a tragic boat disaster involving his son, the housekeeper who perished in a fall at the Murdaugh home, his botched attempt to stage his own death as part of an insurance fraud scheme, and the gory murder scene all contributed to the case.
Murdaugh’s family has owned a prominent law firm, and his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather have served as the region’s elected prosecutors for over eighty years. He declared during his testimony that he was unconcerned about being held accountable by his law firm for embezzlement.
The defence attacked the state’s circumstantial evidence and asserted that law enforcement missed substantial evidence because they were too fixated on Murdaugh.
Murdaugh will also face trials for over a hundred other offences, including tax fraud, client theft, money laundering, drug trafficking, and the botched life insurance scheme.