South Carolina murder mystery deepens with body to be exhumed | Caroline from the south
It’s been over a year since the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, the wife and son of jailed South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh who is making headlines via a complex embezzlement case too difficult to manage than the state swamp.
The story has captured the imagination of much of America as a true criminal murder mystery that seems to mix violent shootings and other deaths with financial shenanigans – all served with a healthy dose of gothic drama. from South.
No arrests have yet resulted from the double murder investigation. But Alex Murdaugh faces 700 years in prison on fraud charges totaling $8.5 million in losses.
Still, there has been incremental, and some say significant, progress, including the release this week of 911 tapes of the day Murdaugh claimed he was ambushed by a gunman following the killings, and plans to dig up the body of housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, whose family was cheated out of millions in a $4.3 million insurance settlement.
In total, the sprawling saga around the prominent South Carolina family involves five deaths, at least seven state and federal investigations, the loss of millions of dollars and five indictments totaling 71 counts, including money laundering. money, computer crimes and counterfeiting.
In jail calls obtained this week by the State, a local Columbia newspaper, Alex Murdaugh told his sister-in-law Liz Murdaugh “it wasn’t that bad” when he was shot in the head in an alleged suicide-for-hire incident three months after the murder of his wife and son. Murdaugh’s lawyers insist he had nothing to do with the killings and was visiting his mother and father when they were killed.
Thirteen days after the shooting, Murdaugh appeared at a bail hearing without a scratch. Curtis “Eddie” Smith, who allegedly received around $2 million from Murdaugh in the apparent fake suicide scheme, has been charged with grievous and aggravated battery for his involvement.
Murdaugh’s lawyer Told the Post and Courier that Murdaugh had ‘entry and exit wounds’ from the bullet that hit him – and that he was ‘lucky to be alive’. But the Hampton County incident report said he had no “visible injuries”.
Murdaugh, in a phone call in December, said: “So you know how fast the bullet comes out of a gun, right? Yeah. Okay. So that hits me. head, it goes into my skin and it makes a hole and it goes around my skull, it comes out an inch and a half, two inches away.
Three months earlier, Murdaugh had reported finding the bodies of his wife and son. But these reports are also riddled with inconsistencies. Cell phone records show Murdaugh was on or near the property at the time of the killings. Maggie Murdaugh left all of her assets, valued at approximately $2.1 million after debts, to her husband.
The murders came three days before Murdaugh’s father, Randolph, died after a long illness. Randolph was part of Alex Murdaugh’s “ironclad alibi” for his whereabouts at the time of the murders. But it’s also the same day Paul Murdaugh – the murdered son – was due to appear in court on charges stemming from a 2019 boating accident that killed teenager Mallory Beach.
Two weeks later, South Carolina State Police began investigating the death of another teenager, Stephen Smith, in 2015. Investigators said they uncovered new information about Smith’s death during the double murder investigation.
And then there’s Gloria Satterfield, the 20-year-old housekeeper who died after a fall at Murdaugh’s home – apparently after tripping over a dog – in early 2018. Satterfield died three weeks after the incident. But an autopsy was never performed and the coroner’s office said it was not informed of his death, as they should be for anyone who died in unusual or suspicious circumstances. In fact, his death was not investigated for three years.
But earlier this month, a court approved Murdaugh’s “judgment confession” for stealing the wrongful death insurance payment from Satterfield’s family. Some of the money, approximately $7.5 million, was recovered for the Satterfield family, and some will be directed to a foundation to “benefit underprivileged families in Hampton County; good, God-fearing, law-abiding, hard-working people.
But according to Satterfield’s lawyers, the dog story was only one that Murdaugh shared – neither his late wife, Maggie, nor his son Paul ever mentioned a dog. Earlier this month, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (Sled) said it received permission from the family to exhume Satterfield’s remains. “This is a complex process that will take weeks, not days,” investigators said.
Murdaugh’s attorneys said state police investigators are considering their client a person of interest in their investigation. But he was never publicly named as a suspect in a murder investigation. So far, all charges have related to financial wrongdoing.
The South Carolina Supreme Court on Thursday said it wants to revoke Murdaugh’s law license, saying there is overwhelming evidence he stole millions from his clients, although none of the 71 charges against him were found. has been resolved.
The court cited charges against Murdaugh for filing a false police report and fraud. Nautilus Insurance, which paid the settlement to the Satterfield family, said in a lawsuit last month that “the extent of Murdaugh’s depravity is unprecedented in Western jurisprudence.”
“Based on these admissions, there is no factual dispute as to whether [the] respondent engaged in dishonest conduct,” Chief Justice Don Beatty wrote. in his order. Next week, Murdaugh will have the opportunity to leave Richland County Jail, where he is being held on $7 million bail, to explain why he should not be disbarred.
But losing his lawyer’s license will be a blow to the Murdaugh family. For more than a century it dominated the jurisprudence in Hampton County, South Carolina. For 87 consecutive years, Murdaugh’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served as elected prosecutors, while the family’s law firm dominated the legal industry.
In one of the jail calls released last week, Murdaugh’s only surviving son, Buster, could be heard expressing concern that a search warrant had been improperly served on his father. “I understand that you did some illegal shit. But that doesn’t mean you can just…you know…ignore the laws of the United States.
“He would have done illegal stuff,” Murdaugh replied. “Just kidding…anyway…so…that’s what it is, you know?” It’s like that.”