South Carolina circuit court judge Daniel Hall has issued an order severing defendants in the Mallory Beach wrongful death lawsuit – the highest-profile civil action linked to the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.
Hall ruled without offering any justification for his decisions. His notification (.pdf) – filed in Hampton County early Wednesday morning (September 7, 2022) – merely indicated he had reached his decision after “careful consideration.”
Hmmm … careful consideration? Or political pressure?
Beach family attorney Mark Tinsley – who opposed the severing of defendants in this case – told this news outlet he was in the process of weighing his options with his client. Tinsley did not rule out filing an appeal of Hall’s order in the event the judge declined to reconsider it.
“We are weighing our options to make the best decision we can about where we go from here. At this point, I plan on asking the judge to reconsider his ruling in hopes that the family won’t be put through two full trials,” Tinsley said. “We haven’t decided whether we will appeal if the judge refuses to consider his decision, but we are leaning that way.”
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As regular members of our audience are aware, these cases stem from a February 24, 2019 boat crash which killed Beach, a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C., in the prime of her life. The lawsuit connects to the now-notorious 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.
Beach was flung into the cold, dark waters upon the boat’s impact. Her body was discovered a week later.
The boat allegedly driven by Paul belonged to none other than Alex Murdaugh, the disbarred 54-year-old attorney who now stands accused of killing both Paul and 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, Alex’s wife and Paul’s mother. Alex Murdaugh is also the focus of an obstruction of justice investigation for his alleged actions in the aftermath of the boat crash.
To quote Randolph Murdaugh III – one of three Murdaughs to hold the post of S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor between 1920-2006 – Paul Murdaugh was “drunker than Cooter Brown” at the time of the crash. He was charged with three counts of boating under the influence in connection with the incident, but was murdered before he could stand trial.
Some of the alcohol which allegedly contributed to Murdaugh’s severe intoxication was purchased at a Parker’s Kitchen convenience store in Ridgeland, S.C. Paul used a South Carolina driver’s license belonging to his older brother, Buster Murdaugh, to buy the booze. As a result, the store and its owner – convenience store czar Greg Parker – are named as defendants in the suit.
Parker has embarked on what can only be described as an all-out jihad against the Murdaugh family and, more recently … anyone who dares to get in his way.
Parker seemingly has two main objectives in this increasingly irrational campaign: Further vilifying the Murdaughs (hardly a difficult task) and weakening the resolve of the Beach family to proceed with its lawsuit against him.
Whatever his motive … Parker is no longer hiding his authorship of the scorched earth campaign. That much was made clear via an expansive piece on the Murdaugh saga published last week by reporter Valerie Bauerlein of The Wall Street Journal.
Parker’s unscrupulous antics have led to a separate lawsuit – one involving the leaking of confidential photographs (and video footage) of Mallory Beach’s dead body, among other information. All of these confidential materials were included in the mediation files from the boat crash case – and were supposed to have been under seal.
Who leaked what sealed documents – and to whom – has become a central narrative in the civil suit (much as it has on the criminal side of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ saga, incidentally).
THE ORDER …Order-on-Motion-to-Sever-Beach
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, he has LOTS of hats (including that Boston Red Sox lid pictured above).
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