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Murdaughs

‘Murdaugh Murders’ Saga: Satterfield Financial Crimes Trial Is Up Next

Next courtroom drama is already in the works …

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As this news outlet has often pointed out, the recently concluded double homicide trial of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh was the main event of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.

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)

The main house at the Murdaugh Moselle property in Islandton, S.C. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool
A bike is seen outside the Murdaugh Moselle property in Islandton, S.C. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

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.”

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Gloria Satterfield’s grave site (Provided)

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)

FITSNews/ YouTube

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)

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian talks with Alex Murdaugh while he is brought out of the courtroom during his 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

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 Murdaughnot 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)

FITSNews/ YouTube

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.

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THE INDICTMENTS …

(Via: S.C. State Grand Jury)

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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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13 comments

Teresa Whetzel Top fan March 7, 2023 at 5:30 pm

Maggie’s comment that she had not even tried to stop the bleeding stopped me in my tracks!! Who doesn’t try to stop someone from bleeding when they are hurt?? Chilling to me.

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SubZeroIQ March 8, 2023 at 1:05 am

Don’t speak ill of the dead or of anyone who cannot defend him/herself. The Bible says, “Do not insult the deaf nor cause the blind to stumble.” Otherwise, some people are just totally without medical awareness and/or squeamish around blood. So, their immediate instinct is to call 911. This call is a typical interaction with the caller thinking it is the most important call in 911 history but the 911 operator thinking she has time to ask questions back to the beginning of history. So, each side of the phone conversation gets impatient with the other. Nothing to see here.

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stephen henry Top fan March 9, 2023 at 11:30 am

My only thought about the “rudeness” or “shortness” displayed by Maggie and Paul during the 911 call re Gloria Satterfield is that both of them are agitated and angry because Alex had just involved them in his crime. In my imagined scenario, he hits Gloria, pushes her down the stairs, then either wakes up or alerts Maggie and Paul and tells them Gloria has fallen and they need to call 911 and take care of everything because he (Alex) has to go to the office for important meeting (or whatever).

It doesn’t take a master sleuth to see how disturbingly similar the Gloria Satterfield “murder” scenario is to the Maggie/Paul murder scenario.

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Karen Harris Top fan March 7, 2023 at 7:39 pm

Such defensive people- You can hear someone in the background (3;11) ‘don’t tell’em anything’ Right before that you hear Maggie tell someone that there is an ambulance on the way. Since we know AM per his interview arrived before ambulance it was probably his voice telling Paul, as his mother handed him the phone, ‘don’t tell’em anything’.

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SubZeroIQ March 8, 2023 at 11:18 am

The rich irony is that Eric Bland is now the loudest advocate AGAINST a charge of murdering Gloria Satterfield by any of the Murdaughs. If it was a Murdaugh PERSON, not a Murdaugh DOG, that caused Gloria’s death, the $4 million paid by whatever insurance company would have been obtained by fraud; and Eric Bland’s contingency fee from it goes bye bye. I once thought Eric Bland was a courageous man on a mission to clean the legal profession. His mission is apparently to clean out insurance companies which results in higher insurance premiums on the rest of us.

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stephen henry Top fan March 8, 2023 at 1:07 pm

Amen and ditto to comments from SubZeroIQ. Eric Bland is on a mission to deflect media attention from possibility that Gloria was murdered. Even more disgusting is how he has enlisted Gloria’s sons to publically state that “the family doesn’t believe there was foul play” involved in her “fall”. This deliberate smokescreening by Eric is so devious and simultaneous transparent that you would think Alex served as his adviser.

How can ANYONE in law enforcement listen to Alex Murdaugh’s recorded interview with insurance investigator and not understand IMMEDIATELY the blatant similarities in details between the Satterfield “murder” (calling spade a spade from here on in this post) and the Maggie/Paul murders. (1) Victims lured to Moselle for bogus reasons; (2) Alex lying about when he left for work on the morning in question; (3) Alex lying about his whereabouts when murders took place; (4) Alex immediately stating his “theory of the cases” to investigators, specifically that “dogs tripped Gloria” and “boat revenge vigilantes killed Paul and Maggie”.

Unless Eric Bland succeeds in his transparent efforts to throw law enforcement off the case, Alex’s phone and automobile GPS records will eventually prove that he was on the property at the time of Gloria’s “fall” (probably never left property at all). Once that is established (hopefully despite Eric’s efforts), the timeline of this “murder” will fall into place.

Now to the most important reason for this case to be investigated and solved: Paul and Maggie might not have known or have wanted to believe that Alex smashed Gloria in head (my theory) and then pushed her down the stairs to set in motion a planned insurance scam … but they knew PLENTY ENOUGH to put Alex at the scene and obviously guilty of lying about everything, which in turn would convict him of insurance fraud, plus at the very least assault on Gloria. Under oath, they would have told everything they knew about the morning of Gloria’s “fall”. Their deaths solved a major potential legal problem for Alex. No point in going on … anyone who has read this and doesn’t know immediately that Alex was involved in Gloria’s fall is as dumb as Eric Bland expects everyone to be.

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SubZeroIQ March 8, 2023 at 8:22 pm

I didn’t go as far as you did or in the direction you did. To the contrary, I do not believe Alex Murdaugh killed anyone. The worst I believe about Alex as it relates to Gloria’s is that she had fallen due to pre-existing conditions (about which she had admitted to Barbara Ann Mixon earlier that day) and when Alex arrived with his ambulance-chaser instinct, he decided to manufacture the dogs connection. What I find ironic about Eric Bland is that he insists Alex Murdaugh is capable of killing his own wife and younger son but not killing a stranger. The difference is the profit factor for Eric Bland.

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Carla Golden Top fan March 8, 2023 at 10:08 am

I’m curious if Bryant McGowan interviewed Maggie and Paul since they were home when Gloria fell.

Mark Tinsley said the boat crash trial date is August 14th. It’s still going to be a busy Murdaugh summer.

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Ralph Hightower Top fan March 8, 2023 at 12:59 pm

Now that Murdaugh is a convicted felon, his next appearances in court for his “white collar” crimes will be in a Department of Corrections jumpsuit and shackles.

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Ralph Hightower Top fan March 8, 2023 at 1:02 pm

P.S.:
Maybe the next time, he’ll listen to his lawyers when they tell him to “Shut the F* Up!”

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SubZeroIQ March 9, 2023 at 8:47 pm

Judge not lest ye be judged. What judge, lawyer, or even juror, had not instructed his/her secretary to falsely say the boss “is in a meeting” when they were available but did not want to speak to the caller for one reason or another? For that matter, didn’t the owner of this blog falsely pretend Nikki Haley tried to rape Will Folks (or actually raped him depending on which day of the week he told the false story) in the back of Nikki Haley’s Cadillac? In fact, didn’t Will Folks’ past boss falsely pretend he was “hiking the Appalachian trail”? White lies you say? Jesus Christ said to let your yes be yes and your no be no; anything more is from the evil one. Rather than gloat over another’s misfortune, say in genuine prayer, there but for the grace of God go I. Remember the parable of the tax-collector and the pharisee who both went to the temple? And let who among you without sin cast the first stone.

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SubZeroIQ March 9, 2023 at 8:59 pm

BTW, those who piled on the late Maggie for not knowing Gloria’s EXACT age: judging by the Gloria’s tombstone, Maggie was off by only one year when she said “I am not sure, 58 maybe.” Maggie was also off by one step when she said “eight.” Unless there is an optical illusion, I am counting seven steps. Contrast that with the officer, juror’s brother no less, to whom Alex Murdaugh gave Maggie’s EXACT date of birth on 7 June 2021; yet, few minutes later, that officer tells his colleague that Maggie was “mid-40s” when she was 51. They want to hand Alex for mis-estimating the minutes or even hours in his worst moment; but they want to give a pass to the officer who, with no excuse, subtracted 6 years from Maggie’s age.

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SubZeroIQ March 9, 2023 at 11:23 pm

they wand to hang Alex, not “hand” Alex. Sorry for the typo. But read Sheppard v. Maxwell. Change few names and dates and you think you’re reading SC v. Murdaugh.

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