Colleton County, SC – A South Carolina judge sentenced disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh to two consecutive life sentences in prison on Friday morning after a jury found him guilty of the murders of his wife and son on Thursday.
The 54-year-old Murdaugh, who was a successful plaintiff’s attorney as well as an assistant prosecuting attorney in the 14th Judicial District, was convicted of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in the commitment of violent crime on the evening of March 2, ABC News reported.
Court reconvened on Friday morning without the jury, and South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman gave the victims in the case an opportunity to be heard.
However, lead prosecutor Creighton Waters, from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, told Newman that the victim advocate had advised that no one wished to speak.
The decision was not surprising given that the victims in the case were Murdaugh’s surviving family members, most of whom have been in court to support him every day of his murder trial.
The judge gave Murdaugh an opportunity to make a statement and the former assistant prosecutor with a 100-year family history in the local legal community only restated that he had not killed his wife and son.
Newman appeared nonplussed by Murdaugh’s failure to show any remorse and gave the convicted murderer a lecture.
He said he was scheduled to preside over many of the other 100 cases that Murdaugh has been charged in and that he would be expediting the scheduling of those to give the other victims an opportunity to get justice as well.
Murdaugh is also charged with trying to stage his own death in order to have his surviving son collect on a $10 million life insurance policy.
Newman told Murdaugh that he had known him as a lawyer who appeared before him and that he was disappointed by how he had lied to the jury and everyone else about the facts of what happened the day of the murder, as he was about to be caught for stealing millions of dollars from clients and his law firm.
He referred to the “looming storm” of Murdaugh’s financial crimes, his father’s impending death, and the criminal trial of his son and lawsuits surrounding the death of Mallory Beach.
“I can imagine – I really can’t imagine – but I know it had to be quite a bit going through your mind on that day,” the judge told Murdaugh. “But amazingly, to have you come and testify that it was just another ordinary day. That ‘my wife and son and I were out just enjoying life.’”
“Not credible, not believable,” Newman said. “You can convince yourself about it but obviously you have the inability to convince anyone else about that. So, if you made any such arguments as a lawyer you would lose every case like that, cases you will never have an opportunity to argue anymore except perhaps your own as you sit in the Department of Corrections.”
Then the judge sentenced Murdaugh to two life sentences for the murders of his wife, Maggie, and his youngest son, Paul.
Newman ordered that they be served consecutively, meaning that the 54-year-old Murdaugh will spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Murdaugh testified in his own defense during the trial and admitted on the stand that he lied to investigators about having been at the dog kennels on his family’s hunting estate the night his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul, were fatally shot multiple times by two different weapons.
Murdaugh had told police he wasn’t there when his wife and son were killed on June 7, 20201, and claimed to have found their bodies by the kennels and called 911 when he returned home that night to the family’s hunting lodge, Moselle.
He claimed he had been spending time with his mother who is suffering from dementia, the Island Packet reported.
But a SnapChat video filmed by his late son, Paul, just moments before he and his mother were killed proved that Murdaugh had been at the scene and lied about it.
Prosecutors had multiple close friends and family members testify that one of the voices heard on that video was Alex Murdaugh.
Maggie was killed with a large-caliber semiautomatic rifle and Paul was Paul was shot in the upper body and head with a shotgun, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors said Murdaugh lured Maggie to Moselle under the guise of visiting his dying father the night he killed her.
Alex’s father, Randolph, died two days after his grandson and daughter-in-law were murdered, FOX News reported.
For 100 years, Murdaughs have ruled South Carolina’s 14th Judicial Circuit, which includes Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, Allendale, and Jasper counties, both as prosecutors and in private practice, NBC News reported.
Until the failed attempt on his life, Murdaugh served as a part-time prosecutor for the 14th Judicial Circuit and was a partner in the law firm founded his by great-grandfather in Hampton more than 100 years ago.
Alex’s father, Randolph Murdaugh III, was also a 14th Circuit Solicitor.
Randolph’s father and grandfather had been the prosecutors for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties before that, according to NBC News.
But things started going sideways for the family dynasty in 2019 after Murdaugh’s youngest son, then 20-year-old Paul, was charged with three felonies in connection with the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Beach died after she was thrown from a boat that crashed while Paul was allegedly piloting it under the influence after a day of drinking and partying with older family members.
The family’s prominence and legal connections raised questions after Beach’s death.
Early on, 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone asked South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to reassign the cases if charges were brought because three of the people on the boat had relatives who worked in his office, the Island Packet reported.
Then the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office asked to be recused from the investigation due to its “long-standing relationship” with Paul’s grandfather.
Beach’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in March of 2019 against a convenience store, Murdaugh, and his oldest son, Richard Alexander “Buster” Murdaugh Jr., for serving alcohol to underage people the night of the boat crash, WJCL reported.
A month later, Paul was indicted for boating under the influence causing death and two counts of boating under the influence causing great bodily injury.
Those charges were dismissed after the 22 year old was murdered.