Efforts to mediate a high-profile wrongful death lawsuit brought against Alex Murdaugh, members of his notorious family and convenience store magnate Greg Parker have “failed spectacularly,” according to multiple sources familiar with these negotiations.
The last-ditch effort to settle the case – held Monday in Columbia, S.C. – failed to produce a deal, sources close to both sides of the negotiation have confirmed to this news outlet.
This case stems from a February 24, 2019 boat crash which killed Mallory Beach, a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C. It connects to the Murdaugh family via the late Paul Murdaugh – who was allegedly at the helm of the 17-foot, center console Sea Hunt fishing boat as it slammed into a piling near the Archer’s Creek Bridge outside of Parris Island, S.C. on that fateful early winter morning.
To quote the late Randolph Murdaugh III – Paul’s grandfather and one of three Murdaughs to hold the post of S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor between 1920-2006 – his grandson was “drunker than Cooter Brown” at the time of the crash.
Seconds before the boat crashed, GPS data obtained by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) indicated the vessel was traveling at a speed of approximately 29 miles per hour (or approximately 25 knots). After impacting the bridge piling, Beach was flung from the boat into the cold, dark waters below the bridge. Her body was discovered a week later.
It was the boat crash case which propelled the Murdaugh dynasty onto the statewide stage … although no one had any idea at the time where this saga was headed.
Paul Murdaugh was charged criminally in connection with the boat crash – but was savagely murdered before he could stand trial.
His alleged killer? Fifty-four year old disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh – his father and the owner of the boat that crashed. Of interest? On the week he allegedly murdered his son and his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh was scheduled to appear in court in connection with the boat crash case.
At that hearing, he was likely to have been compelled to turn over information regarding his finances – which were under investigation at the time by a statewide grand jury. Alex Murdaugh was also under investigation by a statewide grand jury for allegedly obstructing justice in the aftermath of the boat crash.
Paul’s older brother, Buster Murdaugh, was also named as a defendant in the lawsuit because Paul used his identification card to purchase alcohol from one of Parker’s convenience stores prior to the incident.
Parker, readers will recall, has launched an all-out jihad against the Murdaughs in an effort to absolve himself and his companies of any culpability related to the case. That ongoing campaign has included the alleged leaking of sensitive files related to previous mediation attempts – including photographs and video footage of Beach’s dead body.
Mark Tinsley – the lead attorney for the family bringing the lawsuit – declined to comment on the outcome of this week’s mediation hearing with Parker and his attorneys. However, he did make it clear the case was still active and ongoing.
“The case is not settled,” Tinsley told me. “We will be arguing Parker motion to sever the defendants on Thursday.”
That’s a reference to the ongoing debate over whether the warring defendants in this case should be separated so that cases against them could proceed. Murdaugh’s attorneys in the murder case – Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin – have argued state prosecutors are attempting to use the civil proceedings as a “stalking horse” in their efforts to obtain additional criminal evidence against Murdaugh.
(Click to view)
Tinsley (above) has previously said he opposes severing the defendants, and on Tuesday he filed a motion to that effect.
“Greg Parker incredulously continues to demonstrate his callous indifference to the suffering of the Beach family, this time by attempting to burden them with two trials in which they will be forced to endure and relive the horrific events of their daughter’s death and the unbearable recounting of the week-long search for her body,” Tinsley wrote in the motion (.pdf). “No family should have to deal with such despicable acts in seeking justice for the death of their daughter.”
Thursday’s hearing in this case will be held in Lancaster, S.C. at 2:00 p.m. EDT before S.C. circuit court judge Daniel Hall.
THE MOTION …
(Via: S.C. Fourteenth Judicial Circuit)
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.
WANNA SOUND OFF?
Got something you’d like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you’d like to proactively address? We have an open microphone policy here at FITSNews! Submit your letter to the editor (or guest column) via email HERE. Got a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Got a technical question or a glitch to report? CLICK HERE.