Disgraced legal scion Alex Murdaugh will be charged with the murders of his wife and son later this week in the latest bombshell twist to the sprawling mystery that has rocked a South Carolina community for the last year.
Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found shot dead in a brutal double murder at the family’s hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina, back on 7 June 2021.
It was high-profile attorney Mr Murdaugh who claimed he discovered their bodies, placing a traumatic 911 call that night where he cried and sobbed down the phone.
He told investigators that he had returned home from visiting his dying father to find his wife and son by the kennels on the property, both suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
For the last 13 months, no arrests have ever been made in the case, no suspects named and no charges brought over their killings. Mr Murdaugh’s attorney previously admitted that the 53-year-old husband and father was a person of interest in their murders but insisited his client was innocent.
Since their deaths, Mr Murdaugh has been arrested and charged over numerous alleged schemes including embezzling millions of dollars to fund his opioid habit and a bizarre plot where he allegedly hired a hitman to kill him.
On Tuesday, the Murdaugh family were notified that Mr Murdaugh will now be charged with Maggie and Paul’s murders.
Mr Murdaugh’s younger brother John Marvin Murdaugh told The Post and Courierthat agents with the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) had met with the family for 30 minutes that morning to inform them of the development.
No other suspects were mentioned in the meeting, he said.
A grand jury will be shown evidence of the double murders on Thursday.
It is not clear what evidence investigators have connecting Mr Murdaugh to the murders of his wife and son.
John Murdaugh told The Post and Courier that “the entire family has been consistent that regardless of what goes on, we want the truth”.
The Independent has reached out to the SLED for further information.
The 911 call placed by Mr Murdaugh the night of his Maggie and Paul’s murders had previously been released by SLED.
Mr Murdaugh made the call at 10.07pm local time on the night of 7 June.
The coroner placed the time of death for the two victims between 9pm and 9.30pm.
In the audio, Mr Murdaugh is heard sobbing as he tells the dispatcher “my wife and child have been shot badly”.
“It’s bad,” he says.
When asked if his loved ones are breathing, he responds no and urges them to “please hurry”.
Mr Murdaugh also tells the dispatcher that he hasn’t seen anyone on the property.
Mr Murdaugh has had a spectacular fall from grace over the last year and found himself at the centre of a twisted tale involving unsolved murders, millions of dollars of allegedly embezzled funds, a suicide-for-hire plot and several mysterious deaths that are now under investigation.
Throughout the legal saga, his surviving son Buster has stood by him.
At the time of Maggie and Paul’s deaths, 22-year-old Paul was due to stand trial over the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach in a 2019 boat crash.
Paul was allegedly drunk driving a boat when he crashed it, throwing his friend Ms Beach to her death.
He was charged with boating under the influence and faced up to 25 years in prison but was killed before his trial, with rumours instantly swirling that the incident was in some way connected to Paul’s death.
Three months after his wife and son’s deaths, Mr Murdaugh then allegedly hired a hitman to fake his own murder.
On 4 September, the attorney called 911 claiming he was ambushed in a drive-by shooting while he was changing a tire on the side of a road in Hampton County.
Mr Murdaugh was shot in the head and taken to hospital with superficial injuries.
One day after the shooting, Mr Murdaugh entered rehab for a 20-year opioid addiction and announced he had resigned from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick (PMPED).
Days later, his law firm partners accused him of stealing millions of dollars from its clients going back years.
The partners had confronted Mr Murdaugh about the allegations and ousted him from the firm just one day before the shooting.
Mr Murdaugh’s version of events around the shooting rapidly fell apart and he confessed to police to paying an alleged hitman to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.
Both Mr Murdaugh and his alleged accomplice Curtis Smith – who the attorney had previously represented – were charged over the incident.
Mr Murdaugh was released on bond on the promise that he enter rehab for his opioid addiction.
He was then arrested on his release from rehab in October on charges of stealing funds from the wrongful death settlement over the mysterious trip and fall death of the family’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield in 2018.
Mr Murdaugh is accused of siphoning off $3.4m of the $4m settlement meant for Satterfield’s sons to a fake company called Forge.
Questions have been swirling around Satterfield’s death ever since and investigators reopened a probe into her death.
Earlier this month, officials announced plans to exhume her body.
Satterfield worked for the influential Murdaugh family for more than 20 years when she was found at the bottom of some stairs at the family’s home.
She died weeks later from her injuries.
At the time, her death was regarded as an accidental fall – though her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural”.
Mr Murdaugh reached an agreement to pay her family $4m in a wrongful death settlement – money he is now accused of swindling from his insurance company to help fund his drug habit.
An investigation was also reopened into a third mystery death connected to the Murdaugh family.
Stephen Smith, 19, was found dead in a road from blunt force trauma to the head in 2015.
His death was officially ruled a hit-and-run but the victim’s family have long doubted this version of events and said that rumours swirled in the community that a “Murdaugh boy” may have been involved.
In total, Mr Murdaugh is already facing a staggering 79 charges from 15 indictments around the suicide-for-hire plot and schemes to defraud the Satterfield family and other victims out of millions of dollars.
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