Prominent US attorney sentenced to life in prison for murder of wife and son
WASHINGTON — Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina attorney, was sentenced Friday to life in prison for the murder of his wife and son on their hunting property in a case whose twists have garnered worldwide attention.
Judge Clifton Newman sentenced Murdaugh, scion to an elite family of judges and lawyers, to life in prison for the June 7, 2021 murders of his son Paul and wife Maggie.
The judge dismissed 54-year-old Murdaugh’s claim of innocence as “not credible” and told the disgraced lawyer he needed to “see Paul and Maggie at night when they’re trying to get to sleep”.
“I’m sure they’ll come see you,” said the judge.
A jury in Walterboro, South Carolina, found Murdaugh guilty Thursday after deliberating for less than three hours.
The complex case gripped the nation, and Netflix and HBO scored hits with fictional documentaries released during the trial.
According to prosecutors, Murdaugh shot and killed his wife and son after realizing his years of stealing millions of dollars from his law firm and from clients to feed his hidden opioid addiction would become public knowledge.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters urged the judge to hand down the maximum sentence of life imprisonment, saying the “depravity, callousness and selfishness of these crimes are breathtaking.”
Waters described Murdaugh as a “cunning manipulator, a man who puts himself above everyone else, including his family.
“He violated the trust of so many, including his friends, family, partners, profession and most importantly, Maggie and Paul,” he said.
Murdaugh’s 22-year-old Paul was killed with a shotgun, and his 52-year-old wife Maggie with an assault rifle, which the family used to hunt wild boar on their expansive property.
Murdaugh, who wore tan coveralls and was handcuffed and leg shackled during the sentencing hearing, addressed the court briefly.
“I am innocent. I would never hurt my wife Maggie. And I would never hurt my son Paw Paw,” he said, using his son’s nickname.
While evidence brought Murdaugh to the scene shortly before the murders, the weapons were never found, and there was no blood-stained clothing or other direct evidence to prove he was the killer.
– key video on victim’s phone –
After a six-week trial, the jury ruled that the evidence was strong enough to convict Murdaugh of two counts of murder and two counts of firearms.
Testifying in his own defense, Murdaugh described discovering the bodies of his wife and son in the doghouse on their South Carolina estate known as Moselle.
Murdaugh admitted to stealing and embezzling, and also lied about his drug addiction, which his attorneys said was costing him $50,000 a week. But he said he would never lie about killing his family.
Murdaugh’s attorney argued that investigators failed to trace other possible suspects, including Murdaugh’s drug suppliers and people upset about Paul’s involvement in the February 2019 boat death of a teenager.
Waters, the prosecutor, called Murdaugh “a master liar” who stole money from a crippled client, from the family of a former Murdaugh maid who had died in a fall years earlier, and from his legal partners.
Waters focused on Murdaugh’s lies to investigators on the night of the crime that he was not at the kennel before discovering the bodies.
Video found on Paul’s cell phone showed Murdaugh there about five minutes before the shooting.
“He fooled everyone who thought they knew who he was,” Waters said. “He tricked Maggie and Paul too, and they paid with their lives.”
Source: Crypto News Deutsch