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MurdaughsTrial

Alex Murdaugh Sentenced To Life Behind Bars

South Carolina’s ‘Trial of the Century’ is over … but the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga is just heating up.

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As expected, convicted killer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life terms in prison for the murders of his wife and younger son nearly two years ago on his family compound near Islandton, S.C.

“You’ve engaged in such duplicitous conduct – including here in the courtroom and on the witness stand,” S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman said in sentencing the 54-year-old disbarred attorney. “It was especially heartbreaking for me to see you go from being a grieving father to being the person indicted and convicted (for these murders).”

Murdaugh was found guilty on Thursday evening of the savage slayings of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh on June 7, 2021 at Moselle – the family’s 1,700-acre hunting property straddling the Salkehatchie River on the border of Colleton and Hampton counties.

The jury began its deliberations at 3:50 p.m. EST on Thursday and the verdicts were read by Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill just after 7:07 p.m. EST. Reports indicate jurors took less than an hour to come to their final verdict, though.

(Click to View)

Shattered window of the feed room at Moselle (Andrew J. Whitaker/ Post and Courier/ Pool)

Of interest? The road to a guilty verdict was paved by a decision Thursday morning by judge Newman to remove a juror for improperly discussing the case. That particular juror was a hard “not guilty,” according to multiple sources familiar with the deliberations. Had she remained on the panel she would have likely prevented a unanimous guilty verdict.

Our sources also indicated a Wednesday morning field trip to the scene of the crime – which was requested by the defense – actually solidified the ‘guilty’ votes on the jury and may have swayed one or two jurors who were previously undecided. That decision clearly backfired.

In recommending the maximum sentence for Murdaugh, lead prosecutor Creighton Waters told Newman the convicted killer was “a cunning manipulator who placed himself above all others – including his family.”

“I’ve looked in his eyes,” he said. “He liked to stare me down. And I could see the real Alex Murdaugh.”

“I’m innocent,” Murdaugh told Newman when offered the opportunity to speak. “I would never hurt my wife, Maggie. I would never hurt my son, Paul Paul.”

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At one point during the sentencing, Newman engaged Murdaugh directly.

“Remind me of what you said on the stand?” he asked, referring to Murdaugh’s invocation of Sir Walter Scott‘s famous quote: ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

“What did you mean by that?” Newman asked Murdaugh.

“I meant that when I lied I continued to lie,” Murdaugh responded.

“The question is when will it end?” Newman asked.

In an especially chilling moment, Newman suggested Murdaugh’s dreams would be haunted by his victims in the future “when he tried to sleep.”

“I am sure they will come and visit you,” Newman said.

“All day and every day,” Murdaugh responded.

“I’m sure they will continue to do so,” Newman said.

(Click to View)

Judge Clifton Newman walks in during Alex Murdaugh’s sentencing at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro on Friday, March 3, 2023 after he was found guilty on all four counts. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

Prior to the final adjournment of the trial, Murdaugh’s attorneys raised the issue of the purportedly accidental dissemination of autopsy photos – which were shown briefly during Court TV‘s feed of the proceedings.

“The parties have requested an investigation into that,” Newman said, adding that his “hands were full” with a backlog of work and that he would defer to law enforcement as to whether to initiate an inquiry.

“To the extent law enforcement wishes to investigate that, they can,” Newman said.

“They will,” Harpootlian fired back.

And with that final volley, the judge raised his gavel for the first (and only) time during the six week trial and declared “our business in Colleton County is done” – formally concluding the Palmetto State’s ‘Trial of the Century.’

After the trial concluded, there was a flurry of activity outside the courthouse as attorneys for Murdaugh – led by Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin – announced their intention to file a notice of appeal within ten days. Among the likely issues to be raised? A comment made by assistant attorney general John Meadors during his passionate rebuttal argument about how the state did not have to prove motive.

“We think the appellate courts will take a strong look at that,” Griffin said.

“It was about character, it was not about motive,” Harpootlian added, saying the case was essentially lost the moment Newman agreed to the “admission of all the financial crimes.”

“The judge was misled,” Harpootlian said.

(Click to View)

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian and the rest of Alex Murdaugh’s legal team speaks to media at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, March 3, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

Harpootlian also blasted agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – saying the agency needed to “do some serious self-examination on the forensic front.”

“If they’d taken fingerprints, preserved footprints, gathered GPS data from Maggie’s phone … and not misrepresented to the grand jury that he had blood on his shirt,” Harpootlian said, referring to SLED’s investigation as a “comedy of errors.”

Asked about Newman’s comments to Murdaugh earlier in the day, Harpootlian said the judge was “entitled to his opinion.”

To view the full press conference, click here.

Attorney Eric Bland – who represented several of Murdaugh’s financial victims – called the defense’s press gaggle outside the courthouse as “the most tone deaf press conference I’ve ever heard.”

“Jim Griffin’s got a career to think about,” Bland told me. “You just can’t thumb your nose and show no contrition.”

Harpootlian and Griffin made it clear they intend to pursue Murdaugh’s appellate options through the state court of appeals, the state supreme court and the U.S. supreme court, if necessary.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

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.

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19 comments

Paul Baker Top fan March 3, 2023 at 3:16 pm

I have followed this on Fitsnews for close two years at 8 bucks month . I predict open many doors for will Folks . Hell of a old fashion reporter , report the facts and let them fall where they may .the case haunts me . To say evil doesn’t do it justice . Quite suprised verdict so quick , I would have bet money on a hung jury . Anyway just a closing thought ,like Kentucky I suspect South Carolina has a so called garbage constitution ,containing many things don’t belong in it added over the years .south Carolina needs a vote on a constitutional amendment requiring judges be elected by the people; ending the back door dealings with the lawyers in the legislator . Call it off the record the murdaugh amendment ,let will lead the charge . Can’t think of anything help state more ,let something good come from this horror story .curious if it stands on appeal .sure lot evidence on so called motive ,probative v prejudice.

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Fits”News” March 3, 2023 at 3:16 pm

Bye, bye clicks!

They were nice while they lasted.

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The Colonel Top fan March 3, 2023 at 3:54 pm

What are you kidding? We have 99 other charges and all the co-conspirators in the “Murdawk” mess, the Cheerleading Sexcapade, federal and local Congressional Idiocy, Trikki Nikki’s (vice)presidential run and the general, day to day, “…too small for a republic and too large for an insane asylum…” machinations of our fair state to deal with.

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Whitney Sitzler Top fan March 3, 2023 at 10:27 pm

Are you implying that Judge Newman was biased? If so, you didn’t watch/listen.

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Thom March 3, 2023 at 5:03 pm

I wonder if that creepy Harpotlian continues to be honored to defend a double murdering fraudster. What a complete POS. And he runs the legislature ~ what a great effing state. Should be so proud.

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Tom Jones March 3, 2023 at 5:16 pm

I’m guessing Buster will become an attorney and take over Daddy’s empire. I didn’t hear the judge say “without the possibility of parole” so I’m guessing Murdaugh will pull many strings and be out in a few years. With Buster running his empire, he’ll win a Senate seat as a Republican. Impossible?? Not in SC. Of course all will depend on if the case is overturned on appeal. If a new trial is ordered, we’ll have to suffer from the never ending stories all over again. I quit reading these stories in all forms of media months ago because I, like most Carolinian’s, could give a rat’s ass what happens to Murdaugh.

Maybe Will will start covering the important things like the impeachment of Eckstrom and the joke of a bill the House passed that will stop the catch and release criminal program.

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Anonymous March 3, 2023 at 7:02 pm

Hey Tom Jones. Buster can’t even get in to law school. DYNASTY. His Brother randy is the only one in law. The murderaugh name in their neck of the woods, is TARNISHED. The parker law boys have to start over.

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Anonymous March 3, 2023 at 7:04 pm

Hey Tom. Delusional much.

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Whitney Sitzler Top fan March 3, 2023 at 10:30 pm

I find it bizarre that Harpootlian was the first to proclaim that Alex had ‘an iron clad alibi’ for the murders. I am not an attorney but I thought that lawyers were ‘officers of the Court’ and were prohibited from lying.

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CongareeCatfish Top fan March 4, 2023 at 3:37 pm

Clients in criminal cases lie to their lawyers fairly frequently. Pretty sure that was the case here. Harpoon was probably blindsided d by the snapchat video

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Nanker Phelge March 3, 2023 at 5:20 pm

Now Harpo can go back to being the Warrior of Wales Garden by shutting down 5 pts bars.

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Kathleen Bounds Top fan March 3, 2023 at 6:56 pm

BUSTER an attorney ???????? PUH-LEASE…. Never gonna happen.

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Elizabeth Doll Top fan March 3, 2023 at 9:12 pm

Hey Will, I’ll keep my subscription until the cows come home! Murdaugh needs to burn in hell for all of these convictions now and in the future!!! The best game plan for him is total confession for ALL of the crimes!!!

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Whitney Sitzler Top fan March 3, 2023 at 10:34 pm

In all fairness to Buster, he has lost his entire family. From my viewpoint, he has done nothing other than be emotionally destroyed by the murders of his mom and his brother. Please give the guy a break.

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Fiasco Joe March 4, 2023 at 8:28 am

How come nobody ever says the word “Democrat” in any Senator Tricky Dicky Harpootlian (D-SC) coverage? Just asking for a friend.

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Frederick Barton Top fan March 4, 2023 at 10:47 am

Poot is a Bernie supporter- thanks to his efforts and those of the congresspimp from North Charleston we have a known and confirmed pedophile for President. “honored to represent”? did he fellate him in the holding cell?

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Kevin Hanley Top fan March 4, 2023 at 10:33 am

Stay away from my dad or I’ll tell on you.

Candidate for worst utterance during the trial.

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Lori Seigel Top fan March 5, 2023 at 8:30 am

Randy Murdaugh and John Marvin Murdaugh are the “fixers” in this pathetic and generationally dysfunctional family. How the Parker Law Firm, with Randy as an attorney, can continue to operate is beyond me. The “good ol’ boy” network of corruption and criminality is alive and well and their control over the legal system and law enforcement until the hogs are extinct. Never going to happen unless people start talking. As a side note, according to Paul’s ex-girlfriend, Buster had his time in the ill-gotten wealthy, permissive and indulgent lifestyle. He seems emotionally crippled. Time to grow up and get the hell away from the entire family system if he wants any chance at a normal life.

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Mamaloggerhead Top fan March 19, 2023 at 5:10 pm

Took me awhile to decide on subscribing to Fits. The last thing I want, is to read comments lying about Joe Biden. I can read it all day on Twitter. I don’t know why I thought Mandy and Will ran sites with some dignity here in S.C. but here it is. And really nothing to see here not found on a YouTube search. How do we get from Murdaugh murders to our president being a pedo. No, thanks.

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