Alex Murdaugh, the discredited South Carolina attorney on trial for the murders of his wife and son, has been found guilty by a jury. The guilty decision came after two separate closing speeches from the defense and prosecution.
The prosecution said Murdaugh was the only person with the means, motivation, and opportunity to murder his wife and kid, while the defense contended the investigation was poor and overlooked potential suspects.
The verdict was reached after only a few hours of discussion after a six-week trial in which over 70 witnesses testified. Murdaugh has maintained his innocence, claiming that his son Paul was the main target of the killings owing to his involvement in a 2019 boat mishap that killed Mallory Beach (19).
Authorities have suggested that for the killings, they will seek life in prison without the possibility of release, sparing him the death sentence.
Judge Clifton Newman has scheduled a sentencing hearing on Friday at 9:30 a.m.
Murdaugh remained expressionless when the judgments were read. Buster Murdaugh, his sole surviving son, was observed wiping away tears. Murdaugh appeared to say “I love you” to Buster as he was handcuffed.
The jury members kept their heads down and never looked at Murdaugh.
Murdaugh testified in his own defense for over two days during his trial, and instantly acknowledged to lying for years about his whereabouts on the day his wife and kid were murdered.
Murdaugh had already lied about not going to the dog kennels on the day his wife and kid were slain, according to the prosecution. Previously, prosecutor Creighton Waters used mobile phone evidence retrieved from Paul’s phone less than five minutes before his death.
Prosecutors claim Murdaugh’s voice can be heard in the background of a tape Paul made of one of the dogs to send to a friend. Murdaugh had stated that he was not there at the kennels that night. Prosecutors claim Murdaugh killed his wife and son shortly after the video was taken, at 8:49 p.m.
As Murdaugh entered the stand on Thursday, his defense counsel questioned him if he lied to authorities about where he was on the night his family was murdered, and Murdaugh acknowledged to lying.
Throughout his testimony, he stated that his purported drug addiction drove him to become “paranoid,” which caused him to lie.
“As my addiction evolved over time I would get in these situations or circumstances where I would get paranoid,” (…) “I’m sorry for lying.”
Murdaugh also testified that his son Paul was receiving threats as a result of his role in the 2019 boat tragedy that killed 19 year-old Mallory Beach. Paul was charged with one count of boating under the influence resulting in death and two charges of inflicting serious bodily harm.
The sentence is not the end of Murdaugh’s problems, since the murder accusation was only the most recent in a lengthy and weird saga involving the once-prominent South Carolina attorney. After Murdaugh’s wife and kid were murdered, authorities began investigating his past and uncovered various unsettling details.
Murdaugh was accused of taking $8.5 million from clients who engaged him as their attorney.
He is also accused of orchestrating his own death by paying a buddy to assassinate him so that his surviving son, Buster, could get a $10 million life insurance benefit. Murdaugh reportedly lied to authorities about the event, stating a stranger shot him on the side of the road. This happened just days after Murdaugh’s law firm found he had stolen money from clients.