But it is by no means the end of the story …
In the coming weeks, prosecutors in the office of South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson will advance the next chapter of this Southern Gothic drama. According to my sources, they plan on focusing their attention on the death of former Murdaugh housekeeper Gloria Satterfield (specifically the maze of financial crimes tied to her ostensibly accidental demise).
Like everything involving the Murdaughs, the Satterfield case is multi-layered. First and foremost, there is an ongoing S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) investigation into the circumstances surrounding Satterfield’s death more than five years ago.
Satterfield, 57, passed away at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, S.C. on February 26, 2018 – more than three weeks after allegedly tripping and falling off the front porch of the Murdaugh family’s now-infamous hunting property, known locally as Moselle.
Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, were both present at Moselle when Satterfield was allegedly tripped by the family’s dogs – causing her to fall backward onto the brick stairs in front of the main house shortly after 9:15 a.m. EST on the morning of Friday, February 2, 2018.
A little more than three years later, both Paul and Maggie were savagely murdered at the dog kennels on the Moselle property. Alex Murdaugh has been convicted of their murders and sentenced to life in prison for committing those crimes. He is currently facing nearly 100 other criminal charges – including a dozen financial charges tied to Satterfield’s death.
(Click to view)
What do we know about this tragedy?
It all began when Maggie Murdaugh called 9-1-1 at approximately 9:24 a.m. EST on the morning of Friday, February 2, 2018.
“My housekeeper has fallen and her head is bleeding,” Murdaugh told a Colleton County dispatcher. “I cannot get her up.”
“She fell going up the steps – the brick steps,” Murdaugh added, telling the dispatcher Satterfield was “on the ground.”
“Is she bleeding from anywhere?” the dispatcher asked.
“Yes, her head,” Murdaugh responded.
“Okay, are you guys able to control the bleeding?” the dispatcher asked.
“No,” Murdaugh replied. “I haven’t even tried.”
(Click to view)
As the dispatcher continued posing questions pertaining to Satterfield’s condition, Maggie Murdaugh sounded as though she were becoming annoyed. Eventually, she handed the phone to her younger son.
“She’s cracked her head and there’s blood on the concrete and she’s bleeding out of her left ear … and out of her head,” Paul Murdaugh told the dispatcher. “She’s cracked her skull.”
Paul Murdaugh proceeded to correct the dispatcher after she recounted Maggie Murdaugh’s account that Satterfield had “tried to stand up and (fallen) down again.”
“No, I was holding her up and she told me to turn her loose and she was trying to use her arm but then she fell back over,” Murdaugh said.
Both Murdaughs told the dispatcher Satterfield was “mumbling” and incoherent.
Asked whether Satterfield had ever suffered a stroke before, Paul Murdaugh became irritated with the dispatcher.
“Ma’am can you stop asking me all these questions?” he said.
Here is the 9-1-1 call in its entirety as obtained by FITSNews in November of 2021 …
(Click to view)
As you can hear on the call, neither Paul nor Maggie Murdaugh made any reference to Satterfield’s fall being caused by dogs. Also, unlike Alex Murdaugh’s notorious 9-1-1 call following the double homicide, no dogs can be heard barking or whimpering in the background.
Who advanced the theory that Satterfield was tripped by the dogs? Alex Murdaugh …
On March 29, 2018, insurance investigator Bryant McGowan interviewed Murdaugh at Moselle regarding his recollection of events surrounding Satterfield’s death. Portions of this interview were first published in ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal‘ – the smash hit documentary that has dominated discussion across the country since it premiered on Netflix on February 22, 2023.
This news outlet has independently obtained a copy of McGowan’s full conversation with Murdaugh.
In that discussion, Murdaugh claimed to have been alerted to the situation by his late wife – who called him at work and told him Satterfield had been “seriously injured” in a fall on the property.
According to Murdaugh, he rushed home – arriving at Moselle ten minutes later.
“Gloria was there – sitting up,” he told McGowan.
Murdaugh claimed there was a “big pool of blood” at the bottom of the stairs where Satterfield had fallen, and “a lot of blood on the side of her face.”
(Click to view)
Upon arriving at the scene, Murdaugh claimed to have had a conversation with Satterfield in which indicated she was aware of who she was, where she was and with whom she was conversing.
“She knew where she was – she knew who I was,” Murdaugh told McGowan. “I mean, she obviously was not functioning at full capacity but … she knew those things.”
Not only that, Murdaugh said Satterfield knew what happened to her. In the interview with McGowan, Murdaugh claimed Satterfield told him the family dogs were to blame for her fall.
“She indicated that the dogs had caused her to fall,” Murdaugh said.
Specifically, Murdaugh blamed Bourbon – a chocolate lab who was a year-and–a-half old at the time of the incident. Bourbon had just returned from obedience school, Murdaugh told McGowan.
“She’s so hyper, she would stir … (get) all the dogs stirred up, ” Murdaugh said of Bourbon. “They compete, for, to be petted – to get attention. What I’m assuming happened is when Gloria pulled up, the dogs are rushing her … for affection. And, you know, Bourbon had only been back for a day or so, you know … the way they all do when Bourbon’s here is different than they do when it’s just them.”
Is that what really happened, though? The only potential witnesses to what transpired are both deceased (at Murdaugh’s hand, no less). Also, Satterfield reportedly told another Murdaugh caretaker – Barbara Ann Mixson – that she was feeling unwell the morning of her collapse.
In addition to pinning the blame for the accident on the family’s dogs, Murdaugh was careful to point out Satterfield came to Moselle that morning to receive payment for services previously rendered to his mother, Libby Murdaugh – not to work.
“Gloria was coming to be paid,” Murdaugh told McGowan. “My mom inadvertently left town without paying Gloria for work and (she) had asked Maggie to pay her on her behalf – and so Gloria was coming here to get paid.”
Here is the full March 2018 interview between Murdaugh and McGowan …
(Click to view)
Murdaugh’s claim that Bourbon and the other dogs tripped Satterfield was central to pulling off a massive alleged insurance scam. So was his claim that Satterfield had come to Moselle to receive payment – not to work.
At Satterfield’s funeral, Alex Murdaugh reportedly told her sons he would take care of them – and instructed them to sue him so they could recover insurance money in the amount of $100,000 apiece. Murdaugh specifically promised to connect them with an attorney – Cory Fleming of Beaufort, S.C. – who would represent them.
What happened next is detailed in a sprawling, 44-page indictment from the S.C. state grand jury released on March 10, 2022. According to that document (.pdf), Murdaugh and Fleming engaged in an elaborate conspiracy between January 2019 and November 2020 to deprive Satterfield’s family of a multi-million dollar settlement.
Murdaugh is facing twelve (12) criminal counts related to the alleged scheme including breach of trust, money laundering, computer crimes and obtaining property by false pretenses. Fleming is facing eighteen (18) similar criminal counts related to the scheme.
Both Murdaugh and Fleming are also facing a separate criminal conspiracy charge.
“Instead of compensating Gloria’s sons for her death, Murdaugh converted all of the money to his own personal use, for expenses including but not limited to utility payments, loan payments, a six-figure credit card payment, cash, and checks written to himself and associates, including six-figure checks written to his father and a law partner,” the indictments alleged.
Murdaugh has reportedly admitted to his attorneys that he knew the dogs had nothing to do with Satterfield’s death.
On May 31, 2022 – six weeks prior to his indictment on murder charges – Murdaugh confessed judgment (.pdf) in the amount of $4.3 million in connection with a civil case brought by Satterfield family attorney Eric Bland.
As of this writing, no date has been set for the Satterfield financial trial. However, deputy attorney general Creighton Waters – the lead prosecutor for the statewide grand jury – has reportedly told multiple parties the Satterfield charges are next up in the vast Murdaugh criminal queue.
Whenever it is scheduled, the Satterfield trial will take place at the Richland County courthouse in downtown Columbia, S.C. Like the double homicide trial, it will be presided over by S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman.
Stay tuned to this news outlet for the latest on the still-unfolding Murdaugh saga …
Research director Jenn Wood contributed to this report.
THE INDICTMENTS …
(Via: S.C. State Grand Jury)
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.
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