Days after news broke of Alex Murdaugh‘s alleged financial and drug troubles, the attorney representing Mallory Beach‘s family filed a notice to secure Alex Murdaugh’s personal property when a judgement is issued in the ongoing civil lawsuit.
In February 2019, a “highly intoxicated” Paul Murdaugh was allegedly driving his father’s boat when Mallory Beach was killed in a horrific crash near Parris Island, South Carolina. At the time of Paul Murdaugh’s death, he faced three felony boating under the influence charges in that crash.
Mark Tinsley — the attorney who is representing Mallory Beach’s mother Renee Beach in the wrongful death lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh, his son Buster Murdaugh, and Parker’s gas station — filed the lis pendens (which means pending suit) notice in Hampton County, South Carolina.
The notice filed Wednesday is a move to secure two properties owned by the Murdaugh family in Colleton and Hampton counties — the 1,700-acre hunting property known as Moselle and the coastal property on Big Bay Drive in Edisto, South Carolina.
Click below to read the lis pendens.lispend
The latest move makes it clear that Tinsley will be going after Alex and Buster Murdaugh’s assets in case they try to sell them. It further shows Beach’s intent to pursue every avenue of recovery in the boat crash lawsuit.
On June 7, 2021, Alex Murdaugh’s son — 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh — and Alex’s wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh were found shot to death near the dog kennel at Moselle. Although no arrests have been made. Alex Murdaugh has been named as person of interest in that double homicide.
Maggie Murdaugh owned the Moselle property, while the Edisto property was owned by both Alex and Maggie, according to property records.
In December 2016, Alex Murdaugh “sold” the Moselle property to Maggie Murdaugh for $5 “and love and affection,” a court document states.
According to Maggie Murdaugh’s Facebook page, Maggie moved to the Edisto property in July 2020.
Multiple sources close to the family have told FITSNews that Maggie and Alex’s marriage was on the rocks for years before the double homicide. While FITSNews has not obtained any evidence to prove that the relationship was heading for divorce, sources have confirmed with our founding editor Will Folks that investigators were looking at the Murdaugh’s marriage as an area of interest in the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s ongoing investigation.
It is not yet known if Maggie Murdaugh had a will. However, the lis pendens is against the real estate so it won’t matter if Alex or Buster inherits the property from Maggie Murdaugh.
Alex Murdaugh’s Unraveling
In the last five days, speculation surrounding Alex Murdaugh has increased ever since FITSNews broke the story that the prominent attorney at the center of this true crime drama had been shot in the head in Hampton County about 7 miles from Moselle on Saturday afternoon.
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).
Later, the law firm confirmed that he had been “pushed out” and resigned on Friday, September 3, 2021.
On Wednesday, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended Alex Murdaugh from practicing law due to evidence of misconduct.
Later on Wednesday, the Murdaugh Murders saga flew further off the rails when sources told FITSNews that the knife used to slash Alex Murdaugh’s tires was recovered by investigators — and was linked to Alex Murdaugh.
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 to use his ID for drinking.
The focus of the civil suit isn’t simply who is at fault for Mallory’s death, it’s who is at fault for Paul Murdaugh’s alleged intoxication prior to the crash. Was it his father and brother, both of whom are accused of allowing Paul to purchase and drink alcohol illegally on multiple occasions in the past? Or is it Parker’s, a nearly billion-dollar gas station and convenience store company — which is allegedly responsible for selling the underage boaters most of the booze they drank that fateful evening, and whose employees are reportedly pressured to make fast turnarounds at the cash register?
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 Beach’s wrongful death lawsuit was scheduled for June 10, 2021 — three days after the double homicide.
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.
The Murdaughs have a $500,000 insurance policy for their boat, according to court documents. 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 Alex and Buster Murdaugh in federal court. The insurance company filed the suit in 2019 formally denying coverage associated with the boat crash lawsuit.
Two other insurance companies — QBE Specialty and Homeowners of America — have denied Alex Murdaugh coverage in the lawsuit.
At the time of the double homicide, Alex appeared to be facing a tremendous amount of pressure both personally and financially — especially considering that the June 10 hearing would have likely forced him to reveal his financial troubles.
Also, Alex’s father, family patriarch and former 14th circuit solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III, was on his death bed battling cancer.
Randolph Murdaugh died of cancer on June 10, 2021.
The civil lawsuit that was set for June 10 has not been rescheduled.
In July, Alex Murdaugh filed a lawsuit in connection to a separate 2018 boat crash in Allendale County, South Carolina. In that case, he was represented a young woman who was injured in a crash on the Savannah River.
Obstruction of Justice Investigation
While the criminal investigation of Paul Murdaugh ended with his death, authorities are now looking into obstruction of justice allegations involving his prominent family members, according to FITSNews sources and attorneys representing boat crash survivors.
In July, attorneys representing Connor Cook dropped a petition alleging that law enforcement conspired to shift the focus of the investigation away from Murdaugh prior to him being ultimately charged with three felonies in connection with the crash.
The pre-suit petition and accompanying documents allege that officers from the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office possibly conspired to essentially frame Connor Cook as the driver of the boat.
In Connor’s deposition, he told attorneys that Paul called his grandfather on the way to the hospital and said that Connor was driving the boat.
Paul’s father, Alex Murdaugh, and grandfather, former solicitor Randolph Murdaugh, appeared at the hospital ten minutes after Paul Murdaugh, according to witness statements.
According to witnesses, Alex Murdaugh appeared to be more concerned with “orchestrating” a plan in the criminal investigation than he was about finding Mallory Beach.
In deposition, Connor Cook said that Alex Murdaugh approached him while he was getting X-rays at Beaufort Memorial Hospital, just hours after Mallory Beach went missing in the horrific boat crash. This statement is supported by a nurse’s affidavit.
Connor Cook told attorneys that Alex Murdaugh told him “that everything was going to be all right” and that “I just needed to keep my mouth shut and tell them I didn’t know who was driving and he’s got me.”
Cook then told attorneys that Alex Murdaugh referred him to Cory Fleming — a longtime friend of the Murdaugh family who represented Gloria Satterfield‘s family in a wrongful death settlement against Alex Murdaugh in 2018.
Connor Cook said that on the night of the crash, Alex Murdaugh told him that Fleming “would be the best” lawyer to represent him in the investigation and Connor retained him as his lawyer for a period of time before he changed attorneys.
In deposition, Cook said that he was scared to tell SCDNR investigators the truth when they questioned him the night of the crash.
He said he was scared of the Murdaughs because of “who they are.”
“I mean, just anything they get in, they get out of,” Cook said of the Murdaugh family. “I’ve always been told that.”
On the other hand, Anthony Cook — Mallory Beach’s boyfriend and Connor’s cousin — was very clear with investigators about who was driving the boat that night.
Click below to hear audio from the boat crash scene
“Y’all know Alex Murdaugh?” Anthony Cook asked a deputy. “That’s his son (referring to the driver Paul Murdaugh). Good luck.”
Alex Murdaugh was a volunteer solicitor who reportedly carried a badge issued by the 14th judicial circuit solicitor (South Carolina’s version of a district attorney) at the time of the crash.
Three generations of Murdaughs all served as solicitors over a five-county region in the South Carolina Lowcountry from 1920-2006, enabling the family to amass hundreds of political, prosecutorial and law enforcement connections.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].