Alex Murdaugh stands guilty of killing his wife and son. That’s just scratching the surface.

This is a Gothic Southern play about the fading but wealthy Southern family whose immense wealth and influence fueled a jaw-dropping spree of murder, greed, and recklessness. The case itself, dubbed “the Murdaugh murders,” feels like a labyrinthine tale of generational corruption and power that could only happen in America. Rarely does a case open up the ugly heart of the nation, taking us into the darkest parts of the soul, revealing the gripping true crime stories that captivate us the most.

The trial of Alex Murdaugh, which resulted in his conviction for the double homicide of his son and wife, was a family tragedy that gripped the nation in March and had a significant impact.

What is aptly called an article, the tangled web of the Murdaugh family’s patriarch, Alex Murdaugh, culminated in an indictment in a South Carolina county court, facing over 80 charges in total. These charges include the murders of his son and wife in 2021. The whole scam involved another insurance incident that may have been a bizarre roadside incident, as well as a mysterious boating accident resulting in a deadly fall. Additionally, there is an alleged homophobic hate crime that began in 2015 and a long list of suspicious deaths and financial crimes over the past half-century, which has caused the power and wealth amassed by the Murdaugh family in South Carolina over the course of 100 years to crumble.

The trial of Murdaugh, which began as a local journalist’s attempt to bring attention to the double homicide case, became a national obsession. Thousands of viewers watched the riveting courtroom livestream on a daily basis, with many comparing it to the captivating documentaries on Netflix and HBO. In July 2022, the trial reached its climax with the consecutive guilty verdicts, resulting in a media circus and setting the stage for a trial bombshell. Murdaugh, however, pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.

Are these waters murky? You might expect a summary just from this. Are you ready to dive into the details? You might want an oxygen tank for this.

Meet the Murdaughs

Since 1910, the Murdaugh family has been holding power in the state of South Carolina for over 100 years. Situated in the “Lowcountry,” specifically in Hampton County, Sr. Randolph Murdaugh established his law office and since then, the Murdaughs have been able to exert their influence at the very core of the state.

The Murdaughs’ 86-year tenure as circuit solicitors, the longest family legacy in US history, not only granted them significant power and influence over Hampton County, but also over the other four counties under the circuit’s jurisdiction. Furthermore, all three men, including Randolph III and his son Randolph Jr., Successively served as solicitors (also known as prosecutors) for South Carolina’s 14th Circuit Court from 1920 to 2006. As a result, their influential practice expanded into a large firm over time.

Alex Murdaugh, the offspring of Randolph III and Randolph IV, pursued a career in law and followed the path set by his father. Both individuals offered their services as “volunteer” prosecutors, aiding their father while simultaneously maintaining the family’s legal practice. However, South Carolina eventually prohibited attorneys from assuming conflicting roles as both public prosecutors and private lawyers, resulting in their inability to serve as solicitors. As a consequence, Alex was terminated from his position at the solicitor’s office. Moreover, earlier this year, the family law firm decided to rebrand itself from Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) to Parker Law Group. This alteration was likely implemented in order to distance the firm from the increasingly negative connotations associated with the Murdaugh name, particularly in relation to Alex Murdaugh.

“The Murdaughs, who had connections, escaped to a renamed place, which was known as Moselle. They lived in a massive estate-acre of 1,772 and among private islands, including a beach house, dividing their time in opulence as a couple. The family had two sons, Paul, who was born in 1999, and Buster, who was born in 1996. They subsequently got married in 1993. Paul studied law at the University of South Carolina, where he met Maggie Branstetter, his sorority-sister-turned-athlete. Born in 1967, he followed in his family’s footsteps. Alec, pronounced Alex, was a golden child sired by the golden children.”

The string of offenses culminating in numerous murders, totaling an alleged $8.5 million in stolen funds, and encompassing deceit, misappropriation, and several unsuccessful insurance fraud schemes, were a consequence of Alex’s prolonged indulgence in luxurious living. Preceding these offenses, Alex and both of his sons were accused of substance abuse issues and reckless conduct involving drugs and alcohol. However, the family also embraced lives of pleasure-seeking.

The Murdaughs’ power arguably impeded the initial and subsequent inquiries into these fatalities, resulting in allegations of concealment and malpractice, ultimately entangling themselves in an interwoven network of calamity that blurred the boundaries between distinct investigations into distinct crimes. Despite their prominence and standing, the Murdaughs introduced an element of turmoil, as evidenced by these deaths — each marked by distinctiveness yet potentially connected through the influence of the Murdaughs.

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2015: The death of Stephen Smith

As per his mother, his corpse had been “positioned in the center of the street resembling a snow angel,” and he had succumbed to severe physical injury. Subsequently, that evening, he was discovered reclining in the middle of the road, several miles apart from his vehicle. On July 8, 2015, Stephen Smith, a 19-year-old student from Hampton, contacted his mother to inform her that he had depleted his fuel supply.

The police closed the case despite numerous observations suggesting that Smith, who had been a victim of a hate crime or had a role in the Murdaugh brothers’ death, had been the victim of a hit-and-run after leaving his truck and walking to get gas, as initially assumed by the South Carolina Highway Patrol authorities.

We hope that justice will be served in the latest indictments for the other murders, as stated by Smith’s mother. The investigation is still open, and so far no indictments or charges have been issued. However, the statement implies that they were somehow connected, leading to the authorities reopening the investigation into Smith’s death. Meanwhile, in June 2021, the Murdaugh family was also investigating the other related murders while SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, was involved.

2018: The death of Gloria Satterfield — and a whole lot of fraud

The Murdaughs’ longstanding domestic worker, Gloria Satterfield, experienced a significant cranial trauma at the Moselle property on February 2, 2018, and passed away on February 26 due to complications, including a stroke. The exact cause of her demise remains uncertain as the coroner was never informed, and no autopsy was conducted on Satterfield’s remains. Authorities later paradoxically characterized her death as both “organic” and attributable to an unintentional stumble and subsequent fall.

According to multiple criminal indictments and multiple lawsuits, Alex Murdaugh, along with banker Chad Westendorf and fellow attorney Cory Fleming, conspired to steal Satterfield’s $4.3 million insurance policy. They achieved this by deceiving Satterfield’s sons and redirecting all the funds to Alex through a fraudulent business called “Forge”. It is ironic that Alex, who later faced multiple forgery charges, created a fake business with this name. As a part of their scheme, Alex convinced Satterfield’s sons to file a lawsuit against him for liability, in hopes of receiving a substantial settlement. However, Alex retained all the money for himself. The suspicious nature of Satterfield’s death would not have come to light if it were not for the events that followed.

He spent his time on payout settlement, failing to tell them about it, and settling cases for large sums of money, defrauding and embezzling. Alex Satterfield was just one instance on the laundry list of insurance scams where he was involved. He repeated the same pattern with others, including college football player Hakeem Pinckney, who became a quadriplegic following an auto accident. Pinckney died in 2011, never seeing more than $750,000 for his family.

In Alex Satterfield’s case, arriving on the scene before the EMTs, Satterfield heard dogs insistently saying what caused what idea it caused, as well as additional suspicious behavior evinced.

In June 2022, officials were granted authorization to unearth Satterfield’s remains in order to proceed with the legal inquiry into her demise; meanwhile, Satterfield’s children ultimately managed to retrieve over $6.5 million from subsequent litigation.

2019: The death of Mallory Beach

Today, the discussion regarding the Murdaughs may not even exist if it weren’t for the incidents that occurred on February 24, 2019. Nevertheless, it is evident that the circumstances surrounding the death of Mallory Beach remain enigmatic.

The authorities took Beach’s body from the boat, ejecting multiple passengers and crashing into Bridge Creek Archers. This happened early in the morning when Paul refused to give up the wheel, driving erratically and recklessly along one of the many twisting waterways in the area. Despite being extremely intoxicated, Paul insisted on piloting the boat himself, reportedly in an angry and belligerent state. According to nearly all witnesses, Paul was returning to the Murdaugh estate after a night of partying with a group of friends, including 19-year-old Paul Murdaugh.

Despite the clear signs of intoxication, authorities failed to record his levels of intoxication at the scene. Multiple witnesses later confirmed that Paul was still drunk when he was taken to the hospital. They also observed Alex Murdaugh attempting to coerce and threaten the witnesses, encouraging them to stick to a version of events that cleared Paul of any wrongdoing. One witness described the atmosphere as “weird, corny, and like a teen drama.”

Paul was eventually charged with three criminal counts of boating felony under the influence. Court documents later revealed a desperate man who seemed to shift the blame away from his son and had many fraudulent activities. The growing financial troubles of Alex Murdaugh coincided with the case of The Beach. The investigation focused on Paul Murdaugh and led to a flurry of criminal investigation and lawsuits surrounding Mallory’s death at the Beach.

The Murdaugh family recused themselves from the trial due to their close ties with law enforcement officials. In addition, members of the community accused the Murdaughs of using their influence and power to delay the trial. It is alleged that Buster, Paul, and Randolph Murdaugh conspired to cover up the cause of her death. The entire Murdaugh family, including Alex Murdaugh, was sued for the wrongful death of her.

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Paul Murdaugh, in June 2021, was on the verge of facing a costly and expensive trial for Beach’s death, a court date he would never be able to attend.

2021: The deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh — and a bottomless fallout

The public’s interest in Paul Murdaugh’s upcoming trial grew more and more during the summer of 2021. It was reported that Maggie Murdaugh, his estranged wife, was looking into getting a divorce and living at the family’s beach house. Alex Murdaugh, her husband, was facing potentially steep legal fees and costly divorce proceedings, as his payouts were dwindling due to his involvement in deep-neck fraud schemes. He also claimed to be battling opioid addiction, which he described as a 20-year-long struggle.

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Alex’s collapse led to the double homicide of the Murdaugh family. The case garnered national headlines and he immediately came under suspicion for the murders. Three days after his father, Randolph III, was killed, he died. In September 2021, Murdaugh resigned from the family’s firm after being confronted about his suspected embezzlement over the course of several years. Law enforcement opened its own investigation into the alleged fraud and the firm later sued him.

On September 4, 2021, the day after the incident, Alex made a call to 911 to report. One individual who contacted 911 stated, “it appears to be a planned situation, so we did not halt,” even individuals present at the location did not believe his account, despite the fact that someone clearly fired a gun and grazed Alex’s head. When a stranger came to his aid, Alex stated that they shot him in the head instead, during a peculiar incident on the side of the road, which he claimed was due to a flat tire.

Alex’s license law was suspended, and he was later disbarred. Both men, Smith and Curtis, were charged with insurance fraud conspiracy and assisting in suicide. Alex, a former client and alleged drug supplier, was promptly arrested along with his accomplice, Murdaugh, by authorities. Buster, Alex’s surviving son, could receive a $10 million life insurance payout if Alex had intended to kill him and shoot his friend. The real plot was revealed on September 14th when Alex gave it up.

Alex’s request for bail was rejected, and his funds were immobilized when he appeared in the Satterfield lawsuit due to serious accusations of fraudulent activities. However, he was subsequently apprehended after voluntarily admitting himself to a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse and securing his release by paying a sum of money.

She joined the FITSNews.Com website in 2020, where she pursued the Chappaquiddick-like case in South Carolina, which broke down piece by piece after the Murdaugh Murders podcast launched by Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Matney. Thanks in large part to one local journalist, Mandy Matney, she could cover the case in more depth than her former news outlet, allegedly alienating her from mainstream headlines and making it a regular national sensation.

Mark Keel, the chief of South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division, declared, “Today marks another advancement in the extensive journey towards achieving justice for Maggie and Paul.” Nonetheless, Alex Murdaugh faced charges for the murder of his wife and son, resulting in a double homicide indictment on July 14, 2022.

However, it seems that Alex Murdaugh did not have any intention of making the process simple. On July 20, 2022, he entered a plea of not guilty, in the initial of numerous contentious legal proceedings prior to the trial, which ultimately commenced on January 23, 2023. With the presence of national media, the courtroom spectacle that transpired over the subsequent six weeks offered observers a glimpse into the true accomplishments of a century’s worth of amassed influence: Judge Newman had to mandate the removal of a portrait of Murdaugh’s grandfather from the courthouse to ensure a just trial. Could Murdaugh, aided by his influential state senator lawyer, successfully persuade a jury of his innocence? What would this imply for the political landscape of small-town South Carolina?

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The distinct voice of Alex Murdaugh, beckoning, “Come here, Bubba!” In the background, unmistakably belongs to Alex Murdaugh himself. The other voice, mentioning Paul’s dog, Bubba, seems to be Maggie exclaiming, “He has a bird in his mouth!” Audibly, two additional voices can be heard in the background — one of them being Maggie stating, “He has a bird in his mouth!” In reference to Paul’s dog, Bubba. While at the dog kennels, Paul recorded a video of himself engaging with one of the canines. Additionally, the prosecution initiated a groundbreaking revelation: an unseen cellphone video from Paul’s phone, captured shortly before the homicides. A significant portion of the evidence presented by the prosecution during the trial was indirect, yet it consistently held a certain level of intensity and persuasion.

Prior to the murders of Maggie and Paul, Alex Murdaugh asserted that he had only briefly been at the kennels before returning to the house. Instead of his previous claim that he had not been at the kennels, he confessed in his own defense that it was untrue. In another dramatic turn of events, Alex Murdaugh unexpectedly testified and contradicted his own timeline. Prosecutors alleged that this video occurred approximately five minutes before the shootings, which was filmed on Paul’s phone at 8:44 pm. This was determined based on the moment when Paul and Maggie ceased using their phones and responding to messages. This firmly established Alex’s presence at the scene prior to the murders.

After only two hours of deliberation on March 2, 2023, the jury found Murdaugh guilty. It was a feeble and transparent attempt to justify a web of lies. Judge Clifton Newman dressed down Murdaugh in Circuit court, calling out his ongoing “duplicitous conduct” and his fall from grace.

He stated, “Murdaugh’s entire life revolved around collapsing when referring to the murders that occurred every day,” and it is astonishing that you have come to testify about it. “Plausible. Not believable.”

Newman continued, “You can convince yourself about it. However, it is obvious that you lack the ability to convince anyone else.” In that situation, if you were to make any arguments as a lawyer, you would lose every case. As a member of the Department of Corrections, you will never have the opportunity to argue your own cases again, except maybe.

Judge Newman sentenced Murdaugh to two back-to-back life sentences. Murdaugh’s incarceration commences promptly at the Kirkland Correctional Institution, a high-security penitentiary in Columbia, South Carolina.

The murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh have been witnessed as a grim resolution, with just one aspect of the case fully resolved. There are still questions regarding the deaths of Gloria Satterfield and Stephen Smith, which are connected to the long list of fraudulent activities carried out by Alex Murdaugh. The extent and nature of Alex Murdaugh’s involvement in these deaths remain a mystery. It is evident that the Murdaugh family, due to their position and influence, were allowed to rule their corner of the world and exercise their privileges without many people questioning them. The justice system seemed to turn a blind eye to the felonies committed by Alex Murdaugh over the years, revealing a flawed system that allowed the family to escape consequences for their actions surrounding the murders.

The lawsuit concerning the fresh particulars has undergone numerous revisions and was initially released on August 2, 2022. The latest update, dated March 3, 2023, at 12 pm Eastern Time, pertains to this narrative.

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