A South Carolina judge has reiterated his belief that 53-year-old Alex Murdaugh – the disgraced attorney at the heart of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ true crime saga – is a danger to himself and society. As a result, he has formally denied bond to Murdaugh in connection with a pair of charges filed against him last month.
S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman – who shocked a packed Richland county courtroom last month by denying Murdaugh bond on a pair of property theft charges – issued an order late Tuesday afternoon affirming his decision.
“Following the initial denial of bond, the court received a psychiatric evaluation of the defendant dated October 22, 2021,” Newman wrote in an order dated November 9, 2021. “After considering the arguments of counsel, the evaluation submitted, pending charges and other investigations, and the apparent character and mental condition of the defendant, the court finds the defendant is a danger to both himself and the community.”
“It is therefore the order of this court that the motion for bond is denied at this time,” Newman wrote.
Newman denied bond to Murdaugh on a pair of felony property theft charges tied to the suspicious death of Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield was the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper and nanny for more than two decades. She died on February 26, 2018 after a “trip and fall” incident at the family’s Colleton County home – the same property where Alex’s wife Maggie Murdaugh and youngest son Paul Murdaugh were found murdered on June 7, 2021.
Alex Murdaugh remains a “person of interest” in that double homicide investigation and either he, his influential family or the powerful local law firm it founded – Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) – are being looked at in connection with at least six other criminal inquiries.
In fact, Murdaugh and an alleged co-conspirator were formally indicted last week on charges related to one of those probes. On Thursday, a Hampton County Grand Jury indicted Curtis Eddie Smith on five charges, while Alex Murdaugh was indicted on three charges related to the bizarre Labor Day weekend “shooting.” Murdaugh was given an easy $20,000 personal recognizance bond on those charges.
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In the Satterfield case, Murdaugh and others are accused of making off with millions of dollars from a wrongful death settlement. Murdaugh’s latest charges stem from an investigation by South Carolina attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter — who uncovered a shocking paper trail showing how Alex Murdaugh allegedly stole $3.6 million from Satterfield’s settlement.
After Satterfield died, Murdaugh recruited his best friend Cory Fleming to sue him on behalf of her estate – and convinced Gloria’s sons to sign over their personal representative rights to Westendorf so that Fleming wouldn’t be legally obligated to tell the Satterfield family what was going on with the settlement, according to Bland.
The $4.3 million settlement that was signed by Judge Carmen Mullen was not entered into the public record — a major violation of court procedure.
Murdaugh and Fleming allegedly claimed they were devising a structured settlement for Satterfield’s sons through a legitimate company called Forge Consulting LLC. Instead, Fleming made checks out to “Forge” after Murdaugh opened up a Bank of America account under that name.
“Alex Murdaugh opened up a bank account at Bank of America under the name of Forge, got the check cashed and walked away with the money,” Bland previously told FITSNews.
Before Bland filed a lawsuit, Satterfield’s sons hadn’t received a dime of the $2.8 million they were entitled to receive in the settlement.
Here is Newman order …
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(Via: S.C. Courts)
On Wednesday, Bland told FITSNews that the court made the right decision this week — especially considering to Alex’s recent actions.
“Since the original bond hearing Alex Murdaugh has taken financial actions which clearly show that he has no respect for the judicial process, legitimate creditors and victims of his criminal activities and that the ordinary rules do not apply to him,” Bland said. “These financial transactions and how they were manipulated by Alex Murdaugh and those close to him show that in addition he is a flight risk.”
Bland said that Tuesday’s ruling shows that the wheels of the South Carolina justice system are spinning in the right direction.
“The justice system continues to work as intended regarding Alex Murdaugh and the Satterfields have confidence that with the installation of the receiver and continued oversight by judges like Judge Newman, Alex Murdaugh will no longer be receiving favorable treatment, but will be drinking from the same cup of justice as every other charged criminal in the state drinks from,” Bland told FITSNews Wednesday.
Last week, Judge Daniel Hall ordered an asset-freezing injunction and appointed receivers to manage and recover funds that could pay alleged victims currently suing Murdaugh.
Hall made his decision four days after attorney Mark Tinsley presented his arguments for a temporary injunction over Alex Murdaugh’s assets and to appoint two outside parties — attorney John T. Lay Jr. and former U.S. attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr. — to have control over Alex and Buster Murdaugh’s assets, which is known as “receivership” in the court.
Tinsley argued that the receivership is necessary for the many victims in this case to get justice. Tinsley said that it’s possible that there are more victims — like the Satterfield family — who were allegedly duped by Alex Murdaugh and are waiting to sue him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, in addition to having lots of kids he has LOTS of hats (including that Minnesota Twins’ lid pictured above).
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