Following a chaotic weekend, Alex Murdaugh — who has been named a person of interest in the recent murders of his wife and son — was suspended from practicing law due to evidence of misconduct that is under investigation, according to a ruling by the South Carolina Supreme Court.
The ruling was issued four days after Alex Murdaugh was mysteriously shot in Hampton County and two days after the law firm built by his family announced that he had misused funds from the law office.
According to the ruling signed by Judge Donald Beatty, Alex Murdaugh was placed on suspension pursuant to Rule 17 B, which states that the S.C. Supreme Court can suspend any attorney “upon receipt of sufficient evidence demonstrating that a lawyer poses a substantial threat of serious harm to the public or to the administration of justice.”
Alex Murdaugh called 911 to report that he’d been shot on Old Salkehatchie Road near Varnville, S.C. at 1:34 p.m. on Saturday, September 4, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
(Click to Listen)
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The shooting occurred about seven miles from Moselle — the family hunting lodge where Alex discovered the bodies of his 52-year-old wife Maggie Murdaugh and their son 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh on June 7, 2021.
The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office first responded to the scene and dispatched SLED for assistance at 2:41 p.m. The sheriff’s office requested that SLED lead the investigation.
Alex Murdaugh was airlifted to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia for treatment of “a superficial gunshot wound to the head,” SLED said.
Soon after news broke of the shooting on Saturday, multiple law enforcement sources told FITSNews that the story Alex Murdaugh was telling about the shooting was “very suspicious.”
Family attorney Jim Griffin pushed out a narrative about the shooting which had several holes, including:
- Griffin told reporters that Alex was airlifted to MUSC in Charleston, but he was actually flown to a hospital in Savannah.
- Griffin told reporters that Alex was changing a tire on the side of the road, but the Mercedes-Benz SUV had run-flat tires.
- Griffin told reporters that Alex was on his way to Charleston from Moselle, but the road he was on is out of the way from the direct route.
On Monday, an hour after FITSNews published its story where sources claimed that Alex Murdaugh had an opioid addiction, a family spokesperson released a statement saying that Alex was going into rehab and resigning from the law firm built by his family — Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED).
“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life,” the statement noted. “I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret. I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”
On Wednesday, Alex’s brother Randy Murdaugh, who is also a lawyer at PMPED, issued a statement to the Hampton County Guardian that said that he was “shocked” to learn of his brother’s drug problem.
“I was shocked, just as the rest of my PMPED family, to learn of my brother, Alex’s, drug addiction and stealing of money. I love my law firm family and also love Alex as my brother,” he said. “While I will support him in his recovery, I do not support, condone, or excuse his conduct in stealing by manipulating his most trusted relationships. I will continue to pursue my client’s interests with the highest degree of honesty and integrity, as I always have.”
The State Newspaper was first to report on on the South Carolina Supreme court ruling.
Two weeks ago, news broke that solicitor Duffie Stone — who has a long list of conflicts of interest in connection to the Murdaugh family — quietly recused himself in the double homicide.
The next day, a source close to the investigation told FITSNews founding editor Will Folks reported that Alex Murdaugh was still considered “a person of interest” in the investigation. Another source said he had “not been excluded.”
In June, a Good Morning America journalist who spoke with the Murdaugh family reported that Alex was taking his father Randolph Murdaugh III — who died of cancer three days after the murders — to the hospital on the day of the killings. After that, he reportedly checked in on his mother before returning to the hunting property, known locally as Moselle. This could be the “ironclad” alibi Alex Murdaugh is said to have provided police.
On June 7, 2021, Alex Murdaugh called 911 to report that his wife 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and son 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh were shot. They were both pronounced dead on scene.
Click below to hear the 911 call from Alex Murdaugh around 10:00 p.m. June 7, 2021.
At the time of the double homicide, Alex appeared to be facing a tremendous amount of pressure both personally and financially.
His father — family patriarch and former 14th circuit solicitor — Randolph Murdaugh III was on his death bed battling cancer.
At the time of his death, Alex’s son Paul Murdaugh was facing three felony charges of boating under the influence in the 2019 crash that killed Mallory Beach.
Mallory Beach’s mother Renee Beach — who is being represented by attorney Mark Tinsley — is seeking damages from Parker’s gas station, where Paul Murdaugh illegally purchased alcohol before the crash, as well as Alex and Buster Murdaugh. In the lawsuit, Alex is accused of enabling Paul’s underage drinking habits, while Buster is accused of allowing his brother Paul Paul to use his ID for drinking.
According to SCDNR, Murdaugh was driving 29 mph in the dark twisted waterway of Archer’s Creek seconds before crashing into a piling just outside of Parris Island. Mallory Beach was ejected in the crash and her body was found a week later. Two other passengers were injured.
Click below to see timeline of Mallory Beach’s last few hours before her death.
A hearing in that wrongful death lawsuit was scheduled for June 10 — three days after the murders.
At that hearing, a judge was supposed to rule on a number of motions in the case, including:
- Requiring Alex and Buster Murdaugh to disclose their financial records
- Moving the case from Hampton County to Beaufort County, where the crash took place.
That hearing also could have resulted in Paul and Maggie Murdaugh being added to the lawsuit, according to FITSNews sources.
In the lawsuit, Beach’s attorney has asked for the following financial documents:
- A list of checking, savings and 401( K) accounts
- A list of all investments
- Net worth statements
- Tax returns
Arguing that the interrogatory is too broad, the Murdaughs have refused to provide these documents after multiple requests from Beach’s attorney.
While the Murdaughs have released very little information in the discovery process, they did release some information about their insurance policies. The Murdaughs have a $500,000 insurance policy for their boat, according to court documents accompanying Tinsley’s motion. In addition, they have two other insurance policies with Philadelphia Indemnity that cap out at $6 million.
In a separate lawsuit, Philadelphia Indemnity is suing Richard Alexander (Alex) Murdaugh and Richard Alexander Murdaugh Jr. in federal court. The insurance company filed the suit in 2019 formally denying coverage associated with the boat crash lawsuit.
This request for insurance was the second time in less than two years that Alex Murdaugh has asked an insurance company to cover a death claim.
n December 2018, just a few months before the fatal boat crash, Paul’s father Alex Murdaugh settled a separate wrongful death claim. In that case, 57-year-old Gloria Satterfield died after a “trip and fall” in Hampton county on February 26, 2018, according to a court documents (.pdf).
The documents do not say where the woman fell – or how she knew the Murdaughs – but several sources familiar with the case have said that she was the Murdaughs’ family maid/ housekeeper.
Alex Murdaugh was the only defendant listed in the settlement. In that case, Murdaugh’s insurance provider paid $500,000 for personal liability in a wrongful death and $5,000 for medical payment from the accident, according to court documents.
Fleming’s law firm – where Alex Murdaugh previously worked – received $177,500 of the total sum from Murdaugh’s insurance company, according to the settlement.
Double Homicide Investigation
On June 7, 2021, Paul Murdaugh was killed by two shotgun wounds to the head and chest.
This news outlet has yet to obtain a death certificate for 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, who was reportedly shot and killed by a semi-automatic rifle at or around the time her son was killed.
While law enforcement has released little information about its investigation – and has actively sought to plug leaks of information – here is what we know so far about the evidence found on scene.
- At least one of the weapons used in the double homicide belonged to the Murdaugh family, a source told FITSNews.
- Law enforcement impounded a 2021 Chevy Suburban registered to the Murdaugh law firm from the scene.
- Deputies found shell casings at the scene, according to the report.
- SLED agents requested that Colleton Country Sheriff’s deputies search the area near the crime scene for video surveillance systems on the morning after the murders.
- On June 16, SLED agents were seen collecting evidence in a swampy area near the Salkehatchie River, approximately two miles south of Moselle.
- Maggie Murdaugh‘s cell phone was found along a rural South Carolina road just outside of the family’s 1,700-acre hunting lodge the day after the murder, according to sources close to the investigation.
No arrests have been made in the double homicide.
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