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Murdaughs

Murdaugh Murders Saga: Satterfield Attorneys Fire Back

“The press and the public are being played …”

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South Carolina attorneys/ podcasters Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter pushed back this week against recent revelations in a multi-million dollar ‘Murdaugh Murders’ civil case – revelations which could derail settlements obtained on behalf of the estate of Gloria Satterfield, a longtime domestic worker for the family of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh.

The revelations could also conceivably jeopardize the legal fees Bland and Richter have collected in connection with Satterfield’s case.

Murdaugh claimed his family’s dogs caused Satterfield to trip and fall on the front steps of their hunting property on the morning of Friday, February 2, 2018. Satterfield passed away three-and-a-half weeks later. Murdaugh’s unsubstantiated claim about the dogs – and his oddly specific insistence that Satterfield came to the residence to pick up a check as opposed to arriving for work – were key components of fraudulent insurance payouts and other claims related to this case.

Last week, Murdaugh belatedly acknowledged “no dogs were involved in the fall of Gloria Satterfield on February 2, 2018.”

“(Murdaugh) invented Ms. Satterfield’s purported statement that dogs caused her fall to force his insurers to make a settlement payment, and he stated that she was not on the property to perform work,” according to a filing from his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin.

During a video press conference on Monday morning, Bland fired back at Harpootlian and Griffin – accusing them of manipulating the media.

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“We believe that the press and the public are being played here,” Bland said. “Because legally and factually (Harpootlian and Griffin) are 100 percent wrong.”

“Every one of these the target defendants had lawyers and investigators, and before they paid us that money last year, they had the absolute right to investigate from anew and start over and say, hey, you know what, we don’t think that dogs caused the fall,” Bland continued. “They did not do that because they looked into it themselves.”

Bland also no longer believes Gloria Satterfield’s body should be exhumed in the hopes of determining more conclusively what may have caused her death.

“If she’s exhumed, her injuries are never going to be able to (tell) how she died if she was pushed down the stairs,” Bland claimed. “Her injuries are exactly the same as if the dogs ripped her and pushed her down the stairs or if she herself tripped from the top stairs.”

“They’re not going to solve a crime,” Bland added.

Bland’s statements on Satterfield’s exhumation contradicted the previously stated wishes of her son, Tony Satterfield, who told me prior to his testimony at Murdaugh’s double homicide trial in February that he would want to see his mother’s body exhumed if it meant finding answers.

So … what happened on that fateful morning?

(Click to View)

Maggie and Paul Murdaugh (Facebook)

The late Maggie Murdaugh called 9-1-1 at approximately 9:24 a.m. EST to report Satterfield’s fall.

“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.”

Maggie Murdaugh soon grew frustrated with the dispatcher’s questions and handed the phone to her late son, Paul Murdaugh.

“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.”

Asked whether Satterfield had ever suffered a stroke before, Paul Murdaugh also became irritated with the dispatcher.

“Ma’am can you stop asking me all these questions?” he said.

A little more than three years later, both Paul and Maggie were savagely murdered at the dog kennels on the Moselle property – approximately 1,175 feet northwest of where Satterfield fell. Alex Murdaugh has since been convicted of their murders and sentenced to life in prison. He is also currently facing more than 100 other criminal charges – including a dozen financial charges tied to Satterfield’s death.

But we are to take him at his word when he says Satterfield told him – and no one else – that the dogs caused her fall on his property?

Here is the Satterfield 9-1-1 call in its entirety as obtained by FITSNews in November of 2021 …

(Click to View)

FITSNews/ YouTube

As previously noted, neither Paul nor Maggie Murdaugh made any reference to Satterfield’s fall being caused by dogs. And unlike Alex Murdaugh’s notorious 9-1-1 call following the double homicide, no dogs can be heard barking or whimpering in the background.

So where did that story come from? Alex Murdaugh.

As we previously reported, insurance investigator Bryant McGowan interviewed Murdaugh on March 29, 2018 at Moselle. 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.”

Murdaugh claimed to have had a conversation with Satterfield in which indicated she was aware of who she was, where she was, with whom she was conversing – and what happened to her.

“She indicated that the dogs had caused her to fall,” Murdaugh said.

Here is that interview in its entirety.

Again, no one witnessed Satterfield’s fall. And, if this original account is to be believed, she told no one other than Alex Murdaugh about what happened to her.

(Click to View)

Front steps of the main house at Moselle where Gloria Satterfield fell (Collins & Lacy).

In a report (.pdf) released to the media by Bland and Richter this week, statements attributed to Alex Murdaugh’s since-murdered family members appear to support his version of events – although neither Maggie Murdaugh nor Paul Murdaugh had anything to go on other than Alex’s word.

“Satterfield never told Maggie why (she) fell,” the report concluded.

Maggie Murdaugh also told investigators “Satterfield knew the four dogs and had never experienced any problems with them.”

As for Paul Murdaugh, he told investigators he “did not try to talk with (Satterfield)” after she fell – but that he remembered “his father Alex arrived and asked what happened and that Satterfield ‘said something about dogs.'”

Indeed, according to the report issued by Bland and Richter this week it was “Satterfield’s post-incident statement to Murdaugh” which led investigators to conclude his liability was “probable” in this case.

Was Alex Murdaugh really there, though? In other words, was he even in a position to hear what he claimed to have heard?

Investigator Steve Peterson – who has become a household name to those following the Murdaugh drama – was (and is) unconvinced by Murdaugh’s story. He reached out to one of the two other individuals who were at Moselle that day – Moselle caretaker Ronnie Freeman and Travis Martin, another employee of the family.

Peterson interviewed Freeman as part of his investigation into the 2015 murder of Stephen Smith of Hampton, S.C. – hoping to gain insight as to what he may have heard while being around members of the family.

An excerpt from that interview was featured in the Netflix documentary ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal.’

According to Peterson, he called Freeman to talk about Smith’s death but ended up discussing what happened to Satterfield. During that conversation, Freeman disputed Alex Murdaugh’s version of events – specifically his presence at the home prior to emergency medical technicians arriving on the scene.

(Click to View)

Gloria Satterfield headstone
Grave site of Gloria Satterfield (Provided).

“Gloria probably come through at about 8:30,” Freeman told Peterson. “Walkin’ up to the house, she got a McDonald’s cup in one hand, her purse on her shoulder, like she does every morning. And then Maggie calls me within fifteen minutes later. I asked her what the hell happened, and she was hysterical. ‘Ronnie, you gotta get up here. Gloria fell. There’s blood everywhere.'”

Upon arriving on the scene, Freeman observed Satterfield with her feet laying on the stairs and her head on the brick landing.

“Her feet were about her head,” he told Peterson. “We needed to at least get her body horizontal. So Paul, you know, grabs her legs. I grab both of her shoulders to get her horizontal.”

“So when EMS arrives and it’s you, Paul and Maggie?” Peterson asked Freeman. “Investigative reports say Alex talked to Gloria, and that she said that the dog tripped her,”

“That’s not true,” Freeman said. “He wasn’t there.”

“So then you’re saying that Alex is still not there when EMS leaves?” Peterson asked.

“Correct,” Freeman responded.

If what Freeman says is true, both Maggie and Paul Murdaugh lied to investigators about Alex being present at the scene.

“Maggie and Paul did what Alex told them to do,” a source close to the family told me. “That’s how this all works.”

It could also be another potential motive for murder …

Count on this news outlet to keep our readers posted on the latest developments in this case. Murdaugh’s friend and former attorney Cory Fleming is scheduled to stand trial on September 11, 2023 per the order of S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman during a recent status conference. Murdaugh’s trial on the Satterfield charges could be held the following month.

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.

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THE REPORT ...

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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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11 comments

stephen henry Top fan May 8, 2023 at 2:27 pm

Bland-Richter has obstructed justice in the Gloria Satterfield case for MONTHS, including multiple appearances in national and local media. It’s one thing to obstruct justice in an insurance case. It is quite another thing to obstruct justice in what at the very least should be a complete murder investigation.

Reply
Anonymous May 8, 2023 at 4:53 pm

What case? No one has ever opened a legal case into Gloria Satterfield’s death.

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SubZeroIQ May 9, 2023 at 12:08 am

In fairness to Collins and Lacy, they repeatedly emphasize that they need ALL the medicals of Gloria Satterfield.
In fairness to FITSNews, he is the only outlet on which I could find the actual full Collins and Lacy report.
And in fairness to me, I do not have all the information; but several things jump at me.
First and foremost, the fractures of Gloria Satterfield’s bones could be a combination of the condition of her bones and the impact of her fall. From something as commonplace as post-menopausal women (and she was 57) losing bone density and bone length (just look at a photo of the late Queen Elizabeth II standing beside Melania Trump and barely reaching her waist) to something far less common such as multiple myeloma which makes affected bones almost literally as brittle as egg shells.
Second, it is incredibly naive of Collins and Lacy (even though they did not THEN know of Alex Murdaugh’s (“AM’s”) financial crimes) to have accepted AM’s word that Gloria Satterfield’s having crashed into a parked car the day preceding her fall as insignificant because Gloria did not seek AM’s legal advice about it.
That collision was more likely reported to AM or Gloria was on her way to report it to AM. And it could have started he subdural hematoma and could have been the cause of her rib fractures.
Third, I did not see anything in the Collins and Lacy report about a skull fracture; but they were getting their infor from Tony Satterfield’s social media postings, not from actual medical records.
Fourth, is Tony Satterfield a real nurse? If he is an RN, he would have been making at least in the high five figures; and all those sob stories about being evicted from a trailer and becoming homeless must be fabrications to which someone should answer.
Fifth, it seems, but just seems, Collins and Lacy were reporting to an insurance company other than Nautilus, with a maximum of $500K which was paid separately from Nautilus. If so, I still want to see the Nautilus investigation, if any was conducted.
Sixth, I am sleepy and shall, God willing, give you my pearls of wisdom if and when I see more medical information.

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Anonymous May 9, 2023 at 6:21 am

Satterfield is a phlebotomist ER tech, not a RN. He would be at the high end of the range if he was making $40k, mid $30s is probably what he makes. His brother Brian has a learning disability.

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SubZeroIQ May 9, 2023 at 10:38 am

Thanks for the info. Source please?
Would Brian not have been on Social Security Disability?
Gloria’s $10/hr. would not have been sufficient for herself and Brian in any event; ant there would have been no reason for Brian to not be on disability. These are generally easy to get for young ones. Ironically, when Bill Clinton was Arkansas Governor, a percentage of the state’s per capita income was from what they called “the crazy checks” from the federal government.
On second reading of the Collins and Lacy report, there is a lot of sloppiness in it, specially in setting Gloria Satterfield’s life expectancy at 77 (her age of 57 at death plus the 20 years used to calculate the loss of consortium).
For actuarial purposes, which are a specialty of insurance companies, it is not the average national life expectancy that is considered but the individual life expectancy based on individual traits.
Also, that Elmore v. Ramos case has an exception for the visitor provoking the dog; but I am NOT a lawyer, only someone who resents sloppiness and hypocrisy.

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stephen henry Top fan May 9, 2023 at 2:19 pm

Does anyone know for certain that there is an on-going criminal investigation by SLED (or any other agency) of Gloria Satterfield’s fall and subsequent death? Thanks very much.

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SubZeroIQ May 10, 2023 at 6:20 pm

Almost every word out of Sandi Smith’s mouth is a lie, and a heartless one at that.
Stephen Smith was NOT “on his way to be a doctor.” He was on his way to be thrown out of some nursing program in a middling technical college because he had not completed his requirements and had filled out paper work but had NOT started any clinical rotations according to his own twin sister, Stephanie Nichole Smith.
The REAL doctor in this story is Dr. Erin Presnell. Does anyone of those loud mouths know what it takes to become an MD in general and a forensic pathologist in particular?
The four years after a four-year college (or seven years altogether after high school in the British system and in countries that follow the British system) after having been the best of the best of the best in high school are JUST THE BEGINNING. Then come the internships, the residencies, and the fellowships, each with a MINIMUM of eighty hour weeks and very low pay. Then the board exams and the recertification exams.
And yet, the reputation of one who had done all that gets ruined because Sandi Smith and Eric Bland want to blackmail the Murdaughs.
We heard nothing after Stephe Smith’s so-called second autopsy, after all the noise Sandi Smith, Mandy Matney, and Eric Bland, made, and after all the reputations they ruined, it turns out that it was just as Dr. Erin Presnell had diagnosed THAT SAME MORNING: motor vehicle versus pedestrian.
And, in my free-from-false-humility and free-from-hypocrisy opinion, it was suicide by Stephen Smith INTENTIONALLY walking into on-coming traffic after being disappointed with that “mother” who now sheds crocodile tears for him and after failing his nursing studies.
Stephen Smith’s motor vehicle event received ALMOST as much investigation as Princess Diana’s; and the question of homicide versus suicide remains as open as Marilyn Monroe’s.
If any one REALLY cared about the forgotten victims, they should worry about the immigrants who get victimized but dare not complain lest they be rightly or wrongly deported.
The Gloria Satterfield heirs share with Sandi Smith four aspects: (1) Eric Bland as a lawyer; (2) Mandy Matney as a propagan; (3) willingness to spin baseless sob stories; and (4) total disregard for REAL medical professionals.
Enough hypocrisy already!

Reply
Southern Charm May 10, 2023 at 11:16 pm

Subzero iq is not your only issue. Perhaps you should include in your handle, mother issues, anger issues and reading comprehension skills just to mention a few glaring examples.

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SubZeroIQ May 16, 2023 at 9:41 pm

How “Southern-Charming” of you to not know that Gloria Satterfield had diabetic neuropathy, was on medication which causes dizziness, and suffered a stroke and myocardial infarction IN THE HOSPITAL (probably more related to her diabetis than to any fall), yet suggest that I am the one lacking “reading comprehension skills”!!!
Perhaps Cordon bleu (and yes, that is how the word for the color is spelled in French; and yes, in French, only the first word of the title is capitalized) will create a southern-charming dish with crow. Bon appetit!

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stephen henry Top fan May 14, 2023 at 7:48 pm

Amen to all said about SubZero by Southern Charm.

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SubZeroIQ May 16, 2023 at 9:45 pm

Gloria Satterfield had diabetic neuropathy, was on medication which causes dizziness, and suffered a stroke and myocardial infarction IN THE HOSPITAL (probably more related to her diabetis than to any fall). Yet, I am the one lacking “reading comprehension skills”!?!?!
Perhaps Cordon bleu (and yes, that is how the word for the color is spelled in French; and yes, in French, only the first word of the title is capitalized) will create a “southern-charming” dish with crow. Bon appetit!

Reply

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