Murdaugh: US jury finds attorney Alex Murdaugh guilty of killing his family in drama that captivated the nation

WASHINGTON: A US jury tried the prominent South Carolina on Thursday lawyer Alex Murdaugh guilty of murdering his wife and son on their hunting estate in a trial that drew worldwide attention.
From an elite family of South Carolina judges and lawyers, Murdaugh, 54, was determined to kill his son Paul with a shotgun and his wife maggie with the assault rifle that Paul used to hunt wild hogs on the vast family property.
“The evidence of guilt is overwhelming,” Judge Clifton Newman said after the verdict was read, which the jury returned in less than three hours.
Murdaugh, dressed in a blazer and white button-up shirt, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, closing a complex case that often touched on the bizarre.
The jury heard how murdaugh murdered his family members on June 7, 2021 after realizing his years of stealing millions from his law firm and clients to feed his hidden opioid addiction were about to become public knowledge.
Although evidence put Murdaugh at the scene shortly before the murders, the guns were never found and there was no bloodstained clothing or other direct evidence that could prove he was the killer.
He faces a minimum of 30 years and a maximum of life in prison for each murder, according to Newman.
After six weeks of hearings in Walterboro, South Carolina, the jury determined the evidence was strong enough to convict Murdaugh of two counts of murder and two firearms charges.
Murdaugh, who broke down in tears repeatedly during two days of testimony last week, adamantly denied killing Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22.
He described the discovery of their bodies in the kennels at their hunting estate, with Maggie shot five times with a shotgun and Paul’s head blown to pieces by a shotgun blast.
He admitted to stealing, embezzling and lying about his drug use, which his lawyers said cost $50,000 a week.
But he said he would never lie about murdering his family.
His lawyer argued that investigators tainted the crime scene at the kennel and failed to pursue other possible suspects, including Murdaugh’s drug dealers and people angry at Paul’s involvement in the death. by boat of a teenage girl in February 2019.
It is “totally illogical, irrational and insane…for someone to kill their loved ones while their criminal conduct is exposed,” Murdaugh’s attorney Jim Griffin told the jury.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters argued that Murdaugh is “a master liar” who stole money from a crippled client, the family of a former Murdaugh maid who died in a fall years earlier and his legal partners.
Waters focused on Murdaugh lying to investigators the night of the crime that he had not been to the kennel before discovering the bodies.
Later, a video was found on Paul’s cell phone showing Murdaugh being there about five minutes before the shooting.
Waters said Paul had recently discovered his father’s drug addiction, and on the morning of the murders, Murdaugh was faced with missing money from his legal association.
“Anyone who thought he knew who he was, he fooled them,” Waters said.
“He also cheated on Maggie and Paul, and they paid for it with their lives,” he told the jury.
The twists and turns of the family story – the death of the housekeeper, the death of another young man near the Murdaugh property and even Alex Murdaugh hiring his own drug dealer to kill him in a insurance scam – captivated the American public.
Added to this is the little-known culture of South Carolina’s “low country” – the poor, swampy region once known for its slave trade, with its distinctive southern accents, and where Murdaugh’s family ruled the law for centuries. generations as lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
The court heard details of the lives of the landed gentry of the area, their passion for hunting ducks, deer and wild pigs, and the dozens of firearms the Murdaughs kept.
Without waiting for a verdict, Netflix and HBO scored hits with hastily released fictional documentaries during the trial.
“Decades of powerful influence on South Carolina’s low country legal system are unfolding amid accusations of fraud, deceit and murder,” HBO said in promotional material.


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