Alex Murdaugh, an ex-lawyer from a prominent South Carolina family, was found guilty Thursday of killing his wife and son in June 2021.
The jury will seek a sentence of life in prison without parole for the death of his wife, 55-year-old Maggie, and 22-year-old son, Paul, whom were shot to death outside of their family residence in Islandton, South Carolina. Authorities formally charged Murdaugh with two counts of murder in July 2022 after sources familiar with the investigation said they found splotches of blood on Murdaugh’s clothing, indicating he may have been present at the scene.
Murdaugh testified in his own defense and denied the charges against him during a Feb. 23 testimony. He admitted to previously lying to police about arriving home from his mother’s home at the time his wife and son were found dead. Footage taken by his late son showed him at the scene minutes before the deadly shootings took place.
#BREAKING: “I lied.” Alex Murdaugh denies killing his son Paul and wife Maggie. He blames his drug addiction for lying to the police about being at the kennels.
Is he telling the truth now or is his testimony another lie?
WATCH #CourtTV LIVE – https://t.co/kwyww1PSML pic.twitter.com/mS9VUGaHVw
— Court TV (@CourtTV) February 23, 2023
Murdaugh maintained that he visited his mother before finding the bodies of Maggie and Paul, though prosecutors have accused him of making the visit to create an alibi, according to NBC News.
Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh may have committed the murders to distract from his financial crime charges. Murdaugh faced charges of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, insurance fraud and filing a false police report following an alleged failed attempt to stage his own murder by having his friend Curtis Edward Smith shoot him. He allegedly hoped that the alleged botched suicide attempt would allow his surviving son to cash in his $10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh’s defense team said he lied because he was “in the throes of addiction” but that he was innocent of the murders, CNN reported.
The state has been unable to find a murder weapon connected to the case, causing some difficulty for prosecutors, NBC News reported.
During the trial, State Law Enforcement Division Senior Special Agent Jeff Croft testified that Murdaugh sobbed and said, “I did him so bad,” when shown a graphic photograph of his late son. His attorneys attempted to refute this charge, alleging that their client actually said, “They did him so bad.”
Prosecutor Creighton Waters ended his closing argument by saying Murdaugh “has fooled everyone–everyone who thought they were close to him, everyone who they thought they knew he was, he’s fooled them all. And he fooled Maggie and Paul too, and they paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him fool you too.”
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.