Inmate No. 00390394 of the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC) is nearing the end of his intake assessment process – with his permanent prison “placement” expected to be determined imminently.
Such a decision could come within weeks – perhaps even days, I am told.
In the meantime, inmate No. 00390394 is something of a celebrity at his temporary home of Kirkland Correctional Institution – an SCDC intake center located just north of Columbia, S.C.
Several sources familiar with the incarceration status of inmate No. 00390394 (a.k.a. Alex Murdaugh) spoke with this news outlet on condition of anonymity this week in the hopes of debunking rumors and providing some clarity regarding his new life behind bars.
Murdaugh arrived at Kirkland – a level three (maximum security) facility – on the afternoon of Friday, March 3, 2023. Upon arrival, his reddish-blonde locks were shaved – which is standard intake procedure to protect against the spread of lice and prevent the smuggling of contraband. Murdaugh posed for his first booking photo upon arrival that Friday, and posed for a second “official” photo four days later.
That March 7 photo is the one currently displayed on Murdaugh’s rap sheet …00390394-2
S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman sentenced Murdaugh to two consecutive life sentences for 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.
Paul Murdaugh was hit by a pair of 12-gauge shotgun blasts on that fateful evening – one to the arm and chest and a second shot which literally blew his brain out of his head. Maggie Murdaugh was killed by multiple .300 blackout rounds from an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle around the same time her son was killed. At least two of Maggie Murdaugh’s gunshot wounds were inflicted as she was lying wounded on the ground – consistent with initial reports we received of “execution-style” slayings.
Murdaugh continued to plead his innocence during his sentencing …
“I’m innocent,” he told judge Newman. “I would never hurt my wife, Maggie. I would never hurt my son, Paul Paul.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys – Dick Harpootlian, Jim Griffin and Maggie Fox – filed a notice of appeal in his case on March 9, 2023.
The scion of an influential South Carolina legal dynasty, Murdaugh once led the Palmetto State’s powerful trial lawyers’ lobby. Today, he is a number – albeit a famous one, at that.
(Click to view)
According to my sources, Murdaugh’s arrival at Kirkland has generated tremendous buzz within his temporary home.
“Most of (the inmates) are excited to meet him,” one source told me.
In addition to his infamy as a world-famous murderer, Murdaugh is also drawing attention due to his status as a former attorney.
“They think he’ll be able to get them off,” the source said.
Murdaugh spends twenty-three hours of each day confined to his cell – with one hour of supervised recreational time outside. He is being held in solitary confinement and spends “zero time with the general population,” although he has reportedly had some “contact” with his fellow inmates in the hallways on trips to and from his various assessment meetings.
Speaking of those assessment meetings, they are nearing completion – his medical and psychological testing are completely finished, in fact – although it is not immediately clear what (if any) determinations have been made regarding his status. Murdaugh has been deemed “non-suicidal,” I am told – although he remains under constant monitoring.
“He’s under careful watch,” a source familiar with his status confirmed.
This news outlet has received several reports of “legitimate threats to (Murdaugh’s) safety at Kirkland” – with rumors of inmates seeking fame for hurting or killing him. None of our sources have been able to verify or expound upon any of those reports, however, and no “legitimate threats” have been uncovered by SCDC officials.
Like all incoming inmates, Murdaugh has been provided with a prison-issued tablet containing educational software, limited entertainment options and heavily regulated phone and messaging capability. The tablet – which is part of a “pre-approved prison package from a national vender” – is not connected to the internet, and all of Murdaugh’s activities on the device are monitored.
As of this writing, it is not immediately clear whether Murdaugh has used his tablet to place any calls.
There is no record of Murdaugh receiving any visitors other than his attorneys. Visitation in the SCDC system is limited to inmate-initiated contacts, meaning Murdaugh would have to put a prospective visitor on an approved liste to speak with him.
Murdaugh is also prohibited from conducting any media interviews.
Inmate No. 00390394 is expected to remain in solitary confinement at a level three (maximum security) facility in the SCDC system until all of his pending charges at the state level have been adjudicated. That could take awhile considering how many charges he is facing … and considering a statewide grand jury is still hearing testimony on various Murdaugh-related allegations.
Once all of his cases and appeals have been definitively resolved – a process which could obviously take many years – a decision will be made as to whether Murdaugh should be place in an out-of-state maximum security facility to serve out his life sentences.
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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