One week after Alex Murdaugh appeared injury-free at his bond hearing in the suicide-for-hire scheme, one big question remains in the made-for-Hollywood Murdaugh Murders saga — was Alex Murdaugh actually shot?
The disgraced attorney appeared without a scratch at his Hampton County bond hearing 13 days after the alleged shooting — raising major questions about everything we heard from Murdaugh’s attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian this month.
Is he actually in rehab?
Was he ever shot?
Where did all of his money go?
Did he really have a drug problem?
What do they want to distract us from?
Mark Tinsley, an attorney representing Mallory Beach’s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against Alex and Buster Murdaugh for the 2019 boat crash, filed a subpoena earlier this month to get some answers in this mystery.
The subpoena targeted all of Alex Murdaugh’s medical records and photographs at Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia — the hospital where Murdaugh was airlifted after the alleged shooting — for September 4 through September 7.
However, Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a motion Thursday in an attempt to block that subpoena.
Perhaps because they don’t want the truth about the shooting to be public?
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To recap, Alex Murdaugh was charged with three felonies in an alleged suicide-for-hire insurance fraud scheme that took place on September 4 in Hampton County, South Carolina.
Immediately after the incident, sources close to the situation told FITSNews that Alex’s story was suspicious and “not adding up,” while Harpootlian and Griffin embarked on a week-long spin campaign in an attempt to control the narrative and make Alex appear like the victim.
While the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the lead investigating agency in nearly all of the alleged crimes associated with the Murdaugh Murders saga, maintained that Alex’s head wound was superficial, Murdaugh’s attorneys appeared to grossly exaggerate (or lie) about their client’s injuries.
Harpootlian claimed he had an entry and exit wound and he was temporarily blinded in the shooting. Griffin said Alex’s skull was fractured and his brain hemorrhaged.
Murdaugh’s attorneys also told reporters that Alex was released from the hospital two days after the alleged shooting.
How could he suffer so many horrific injuries and still be released from the hospital in two days?
The injuries certainly were not the only holes poked in the stories coming from the Murdaugh camp this month.
- 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.
The Murdaugh spin campaign was abruptly thrown off course on September 10 when SLED officials arrested 61-year-old Curtis Edward “Eddie” Smith, who was Alex Murdaugh’s former client (and allegedly his distant cousin and drug dealer). Smith’s arrest warrants made it clear that Alex was not just a shooting victim in this scenario.
Alex Murdaugh admitted to setting up the suicide scheme so his son Buster could collect a $10 million insurance policy, according to the arrest warrants. He was arrested two days after Smith.
The questions about Alex Murdaugh’s injuries ramped up dramatically last Thursday when he showed up to his bond hearing and didn’t even bother to slap on a bandaid. Murdaugh’s closely cropped hair provided no cover for a the presence of a head wound nor was any part of his scalp shaved, which we’d expect to see in that circumstance.
Tinsley — who will be going after millions in Mallory Beach’s wrongful death lawsuit — likely filed the motion to attack Alex Murdaugh’s credibility.
Despite the fact that Murdaugh is being represented in his criminal case by two of the most expensive defense attorneys in SC — Harpootlian maintained that his client’s financial state is “ruinous.” He claimed Murdaugh was a powerless, desolate man who has “fallen from grace.”
But are they lying about his money situation, too?
Two days following the alleged shooting incident, a family spokesperson released a statement saying that Alex Murdaugh was going into rehab and resigning from the law firm built by his family — PMPED.
The timing was interesting considering FITSNews published a story about Murdaugh’s opioid addiction and issues at his law firm just an hour before the statement was released.
Days after the shooting scheme, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) — the law firm started by Alex’s great-grandfather in 1910 — released a statement to the media claiming that Alex Murdaugh misappropriated millions of dollars from their law firm.
In an interview with the TODAY Show last week, Dick Harpootlian admitted on national television that Alex Murdaugh used money from the law firm — and its clients — for personal use.
“It was uncovered that he had perhaps, not perhaps, he had converted some client and law firm money to his use and again spent most of that on opioids,” Harpootlian said.
Craig Melvin of the TODAY Show pressed Harpootlian about his client’s alleged misappropriation, specifically Harpootlian’s claim that the “vast majority” of the millions Alex allegedly stole was used to purchase drugs (by check?).
“Dick, that’s a lot of Oxy….” Melvin, who is also from South Carolina, said to Harpootlian.
Did Alex Murdaugh actually have a drug problem? And if so, how many of his cases were jeopardized because of it? And how many cases did he try for the solicitor’s office while he had this alleged drug problem?
And where is all of the money?
Speaking of money, Alex Murdaugh and his best friend Cory Fleming were accused this week of stealing more than $4 million in a secret wrongful death settlement for Gloria Satterfield — who died suspiciously in 2018 following an alleged “trip and fall” incident at a home.
So what happened to all of that money?
Less than a week after the Labor Day weekend “shooting,” Tinsley, Beach’s attorney, filed a notice to secure Alex Murdaugh’s personal property when a judgement is issued in the ongoing civil lawsuit.
The notice made 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.
PMPED Drops Alex and Buster As Clients
On Thursday, PMPED attorneys formally dropped Alex and Buster as clients in the Mallory Beach wrongful death lawsuit.
The move is another public action taken by officials at the firm to sever ties with Alex Murdaugh.
On the same day PMPED dropped Alex and Buster Murdaugh as clients, partners at the Hampton, South Carolina firm posted a long message on its website declaring their distance between themselves and Alex Murdaugh.
“We were shocked and dismayed to learn that Alex violated our principles and code of ethics. He lied and he stole from us,” the statement said. “No member of PMPED was aware of Alex’s scheme. When we learned he betrayed our trust, we requested his resignation immediately. We have yet to speak to anyone who was aware of his addiction to opioids.”
However, a source close to the situation told FITSNews that PMPED’s statement “will not age well.”
Alex and Buster Murdaugh are two of three plaintiffs who are being sued for Mallory Beach’s wrongful death.
In February 2019, a “highly intoxicated” Paul Murdaugh — Alex Murdaugh’s son — 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.
The 2019 boat crash was a major turning point for the Murdaugh family — whose power has loomed large in Lowcountry law enforcement for over a century with three generations of Murdaughs serving as the solicitor (South Carolina’s version of a district attorney) in a five-country region.
Attorney Daniel E. Henderson removed himself and the entire law firm from the boat crash lawsuit, according to court documents filed Thursday. Previously, Henderson and Amy Bower were representing Buster and Alex Murdaugh.
The Murdaughs are still being represented by two attorneys hired by the only insurance company that has not denied them coverage in the lawsuit. Three other insurance companies have denied them coverage.
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 severely injured.
The June 10 Hearing
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
**This article is a news analysis by Mandy Matney, who has been covering the Murdaugh family since February, 2019.
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 tips to [email protected].
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