Murdaughs

‘Murdaugh Murders’ Civil Case: Mark Tinsley Is Doing A Lot Of Winning

Will his streak continue once this high-profile wrongful death case goes to trial next month?

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Attorneys for wealthy Savannah, Georgia convenience store magnate Greg Parker have filed multiple motions in South Carolina circuit court seeking to remove attorney Mark Tinsley and his co-counsel, Tabor Vaux, from representing the family of the late Mallory Beach. Tinsley and Vaux are representing the Beach family in a wrongful death case against multiple parties – including convicted killer Alex Murdaugh.

Also named in their lawsuit? Parker and his company, the Parker’s Kitchen chain of gas stations.

Last week, Parker’s quest to disqualify Tinsley and Vaux appears to have finally come to an end with a ruling from S.C. circuit court judge Daniel Hall denying the latest motions from his attorneys. With this matter now resolved, it would appear the stage is now set for the upcoming trial – which is scheduled to begin on August 14, 2023 in Hampton County.

The case seeks to assign blame in the fatal boat crash – and award damages to those ultimately deemed responsible.

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The 17-foot, center console fishing boat after it crashed into a piling near the Archer’s Creek bridge. (S.C. Attorney General’s Office)

To recap: Beach – a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C. – perished in the early morning hours of February 24, 2019. She died after a 17-foot, center console Sea Hunt fishing boat owned by Alex Murdaugh – and allegedly piloted by the late Paul Murdaugh – slammed into a piling near the Archer’s Creek bridge outside of Parris Island, S.C.

Seconds before the boat crashed, GPS data obtained by the S.C. Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) indicated the vessel was traveling at a speed of approximately 29 miles per hour (or approximately 25 knots).

Upon impact, Beach was flung into the cold, dark waters. Her body was discovered a week later by fishermen.

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Mallory Beach (Provided)

Paul Murdaugh and others on the boat were in a “grossly intoxicated” state at the time of the crash, according to responding law enforcement officers. Despite alleged obstruction efforts by his father, Paul Murdaugh was eventually charged criminally in connection with the crash – and prosecutors made it clear they were seeking a lengthy prison sentence. Paul Murdaugh was murdered before he could stand trial, though. His father, Alex, was convicted of his murder – as well as the murder of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh – on the family’s hunting property in Colleton County on the night of June 7, 2021.

Incidentally, these murders were committed just three days before Alex Murdaugh was scheduled to appear in court to provide Tinsley with financial records in connection with the boat crash case. That hearing – which could have exposed Alex Murdaugh’s many alleged financial crimes – was canceled due to the deaths of Maggie and Paul.

This is one of many reasons why Tinsley’s wrongful death lawsuit is viewed as the impetus for the collapse of the once-powerful “House of Murdaugh” – a family which ran the Palmetto Lowcounty like a fiefdom for nearly a century. Beach’s death was also the driving narrative in ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ – a smash hit documentary that premiered on Netflix on February 22, 2023 and exposed the Murdaugh family and its dark secrets to an international audience.

Since the boat crash, Parker and his minions have engaged in a vicious war using questionable tactics in the hopes of absolving him and his company of any culpability for this tragedy. That jihad has spawned a second lawsuit tied to this case – filed in December 2021 – which focuses on the unauthorized disclosure of confidential mediation materials by those allegedly in Parker’s employ.

Those allegations have cut both ways, though …

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Parker’s attorneys have repeatedly sought to have Tinsley and Vaux dismissed from these lawsuits – arguing they improperly received and reviewed privileged information and materials. Tinsley has also been accused of improperly disclosing privileged information – and engaging in improper communication with a party represented in one of the cases. The latest motion to disqualify him was filed on June 5, 2023 and arguments pursuant to it were heard on Wednesday, June 28, 2023.

Tinsley has pushed back hard against the allegations against him, arguing the materials he received were part of a “media campaign” – and that their release to a public relations firm waived any privilege that might have previously attached to them.

In Tinsley’s response to the motion to disqualify him — filed in advance of the hearing on June 27, 2023 — he noted any assertion that he and Vaux acted improperly in order to obtain Parker’s litigation strategy in the boat crash case was “simply untrue” and that claims made in support of such assertions were “demonstrably false.”

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THE “DOCUMENTS IN QUESTION …”

The documents in question begin with an blog post entitled “Death and Justice: The Murdaugh Family Murders” published by Gregg Roman on July 27, 2021. Roman, a Middle East policy expert from Philadelphia, wrote his extensive one-off blog about the Murdaugh case two summers ago. He also appeared in – and helped produce – a documentary produced by journalist Vicky Ward and BlackFin Productions.

On November 24, 2021, a “trailer” was released for the documentary entitled “Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty.” The trailer depicted six (6) scenes from a confidential video produced for the mediation proceedings in the boat crash case. The video also depicted photographs of Mallory Beach’s body that have never been publicly released.

Five days later, attorneys for the Beach family notified judge Hall of the disclosure of the mediation materials in the trailer – and asked for the court to hold Parker and all the individuals involved in the release in contempt of court for violating the confidentiality of the mediation rules.

On December 3, 2021, a separate conspiracy/ outrage lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Beach family against Parker and his company. Also named as defendants in that lawsuit were Blake Greco, Jason D’Cruz, Max Fratoddi, Henry Rosado and Private Investigations Service Group, LLC. The lawsuit alleged a civil conspiracy – one part of which was the alleged release of the confidential mediation materials and the photographs of Mallory’s body. The central allegation in the lawsuit was Parker and those employed by him leaked the information in an attempt to weaken the resolve of the Beach family to pursue their wrongful death claim against him.

Thus began the battle for the “documents in question.”

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Sarah Capelli (Facebook)

As we previously reported, these documents were compiled by a private investigator named Sara Capelli and two companies owned by veteran South Carolina political operative Wesley Donehue. Parker’s attorneys previously argued these documents should be protected under attorney-client privilege.

After months of wrangling over whether the documents contained confidential materials related to the litigation strategy of Parker’s legal team, in April of 2022 a law clerk for S.C. circuit court judge Bentley Price sent an email directing that they be turned over to Tinsley and Vaux within fifteen days.

The email instructed the materials to be provided without a privilege log – noting that any objections from Parker’s counsel would be taken up prior to trial. Tinsley emailed Sandy Senn – Donehue’s attorney – and subsequently obtained the documents.

Last October, the state supreme court ordered Price to review the subpoenaed documents – and Parker’s privilege log – and to make specific findings as to each document. Last month, Price belatedly identified more than 215 pages of privileged material – although he appears uncertain as to how to handle the matter moving forward.

“The cat’s out of the bag,” Price said. “I mean, I can’t stuff the mashed potato [back] into the bag.” 

Mixed (mashed?) metaphors not withstanding, Tinsley and Vaux have argued the so-called “privileged” documents stemmed from a media campaign organized by Donehue – and should not be considered part of Parkers’ litigation strategy. According to their latest filing, “even a legitimate media campaign is not a valid litigation strategy worthy of being, or remaining, privileged.”

They further argue the provision of the material to Donehue’s firm “waived any privilege that could attach to the information.”

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THE ALLEGATIONS AND THE RESPONSE …

According to Tinsley, the evidence is clear that Greg Parker himself actually hired Donehue and Capelli. The evidence? Greg Parker’s own public admissions on national television – and to reporter Valerie Bauerlein of The Wall Street Journal (who published this expansive treatment of the saga last August) Tinsley states “the documents were collected and compiled as a part of an ordinary public relations advice, were shared with Gregg Roman and published publicly waiving any possibility they were privileged.”

Parkers’ attorneys insisted Tinsley should be disqualified because he spoke with Capelli while she was represented in the conspiracy case. Tinsley claimed the only conversation he had with Capelli related with the production of her file — not about what she had or what she did. He also pointed out there was no evidence that the two discussed her representation. In fact, Capelli told Tinsley she was not represented by Parker’s lawyers – only once mentioning that she was planned to speak with attorney Brian Duffy.

After Capelli hired her current lawyer, he consented to her speaking to Tinsley – and indicated she would be calling him about the motion to compel. Moments later, Capelli called Tinsley’s cell phone. Tinsley stated “the conversation was limited to the fact that judge Price was issuing or would be issuing an order to protect her from the assertion that Capelli was breaching any contractual obligation of confidentiality.”

“Moreover, there is no evidence (I) gained any advantage or information from any discussion with Capelli,” he continued.

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THE ORDER AND WHAT HAPPENS NEXT …

Last Friday – June 30, 2023 – judge Hall issued his final ruling denying the motion to disqualify Tinsley and Vaux. That means the boat crash case is scheduled to go to trial on August 14, 2023 in Hampton County, S.C.

At that point, we expect to see our first glimpse of the materials Greg Parker and his allies have fought so hard to keep hidden from public view.

Count on FITSNews to provide coverage of the boat crash trial from the moment the gavel drops …

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(Via: S.C. Judicial Branch)

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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Jenn Wood

16 comments

SubZeroIQ July 4, 2023 at 5:39 pm

NO, no, NO, Jen Wood!
Your account is inaccurate and leaves out THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAILS.
Tinsley’s pretense that Gregg Parker conspired to release the photo of Mallory Beach’s dead body to “weaken her family’s resolve” is as stupid as the pretense that Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) killed his wife and younger son to gain sympathy.
But I have since learned, to my amazement and terror, that stupidity becomes gospel if repeated often enough.
And YOU, Jen Wood, are one of leaders of repeating stupidity often enough (including that “family annihilator fits Alex to a T” which term found its way to Creighton Waters’ closing arguments) until it becomes gospel.

And here is the MOST IMPORTANT DETAIL: Sara Capelli was hired by Greg Parker to attack the Murdaughs, not the beaches.
And here are Mark Tinsley’s EXACT WORDS from the transcript of the 16 March 2022 hearing before Judge Price at pp 12, line 21 to 14, line 7:
So we served subpoenas on the PI, Sara Capelli, as well as Wes Donahue. They are broad. Admittedly, they are broad. And specifically what I have asked for, among other things, is all of the video — as I understand Sara Capelli was videoing Paul Murdaugh in excess of a year. She video — she was videoing Paul Murdaugh within three days of his murder, and I’m told that these videos have been turned over to SLED. So we’ve asked for all of the photographs and all of the surveillance.
In addition to her surveillance, they had also caused a camera to be placed at the driveway to Moselle, so there’s video there. So we’ve asked for those.
We’ve asked for the time and the billing records, because those records will indicate when these activities started, parts of what they did, and, significantly, one of the things that Miss Capelli did was, she bought alcohol for some underaged people in Columbia in order to get information about Paul Murdaugh. And we believe that Parker’s reimbursed her for those charges.
There’s a photograph. This happened in November of ’20. This is Miss Capelli at a bar and I’m — I’ve got copies I’m willing to hand up.
THE COURT: Did anyone confirm that there was a camera placed at the entrance of the Moselle?
MR. TINSLEY: The AG’s office has confirmed that SLED has received some video that was taken by Miss Capelli.
THE COURT: All right.
MR. TINSLEY: Whether it was that camera or it was shot by a hand-held camera, I do not know.
THE COURT: All right.

Now, that was NOT in the boat crash case itself but in the so-called-conspiracy/outrage case arising from the boat crash case. AM’s lawyers, Harpootlian and Griffith did NOT attend that hearing because NO MURDAUGH is named in that so-called-conspiracy/outrage case.

The bottom line is that Paul Murdaugh was being followed as late as 3 days before his murder AND a secret camera had been placed at the entrance of Moselle.

Why did that NOT surface in the AM’s double-murder trial? BECAUSE TINSLEY GOT HOLD OF IT FIRST and it was in no one’s interest, including Parker’s, to exonerate AM of the double murders OR to exonerate Buster of Stephen Smith’s death.
What a cruel world this is!

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The Colonel Top fan July 5, 2023 at 11:04 am

Wow, some off the chain advocacy this morning!

Sub Zero – what is your premise here?
Is “Elick” guilty?
Did Parker’s sell alcohol to minors?
Other than trying to get some money for the Beachs (and of course, himself), is Tinsley somehow complicit in some kind of conspiracy against the “Murdawks” here?

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SubZeroIQ July 5, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Questions answered in order posed, not order of importance:
1. My premise here is that I just learned that there WAS a secret camera at the driveway to Moselle. After posting, I also came across a FILED email from Tinsley indicating that even Parker’s did not have what Sara Capelli had but that Tinsley wantes, and apparently got, ALL of it.
That camera is the equivalent of DNA. It could ABSOLUTELY exonerate Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) of the murders of Paul and Maggie OR it could increase confidence in this convictions.
In either case, it is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE for that camera to not have been revealed before and at the trial.

2. AM, by his own admissions in several places, is clearly guilty of insurance fraud and likely tax fraud. AM is NOT guilty of murdering Paul or Maggie as I previously explained in many posts and am tired of repeating.

3. On the day in question, Parker’s did NOT KNOWINGLY sell alcohol to a person under 21. The crime is to KNOWINGLY sell alcohol to a person under 21. By analogy, the U.S. Supreme Court has spent SEVERAL lengthy published opinions explaining that, under the Armed Career Criminals Act’s (“ACCA”) residual clause, the accused has to HAVE KNOWN that (s)he was a person not allowed to possess firearms. I am NOT a lawyer; but it is called a “scienter” or a “mens rea” requirement.
4. Tinsley is not just trying to get “some money,” he was BY HIS OWN ADMISSION trying to get Moselle itself AND $30M. He cares NOTHING about boat or traffic safety, only about money and trophy hunting. Look at his FaceBook page.
Absolutely, Tinsley (and Eric Bland “EB”) were in a conspiracy against the Murdaughs “here” and everywhere.
For one, the Murdaughs and the Goodings are the Hatfields and the McCoys of South Carolina’s low country.
For another, they happily promoted (or did not refute) the filthy lies that Paul and Buster had beaten Stephen Smith to death with a baseball bat.
Now there is evidence that Parker’s paid people to promote those filthy lies. If anyone should be suing Parker’s, it should be the Murdaughs, not the Beaches.
I hope you respect the time I took to answer your questions and respond with the same civility.

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The Colonel Top fan July 5, 2023 at 1:49 pm

You may have just learned about the camera, but I’ve known about it for more than a year. It’s presence was fairly common knowledge. The camera was removed long before Alex Murdaugh murdered his wife and son – it has no bearing on the murder case.

The use of the word “knowingly” doesn’t indemnify Parker’s. In fact, the SC Courts normally interpret the word as “knew or should have known”. Paul was 4 inches shorter, 50 pounds lighter and 4 years younger that Buster – Buster has flaming red hair, Paul’s is a much darker shade – they don’t and didn’t look anything alike. I’ve heard that evidence will be introduced that he was intoxicated when he bought the alcohol further damming Parker’s.

I’m no fan of Tinsley or Bland (far less a fan of Bland) but they’re not the bad guys here. While I think both are far less philanthropical than they’re trying to appear, they’re representing their clients. Gooding and Gooding et al have sat across the court room from PiMPED et al many times, but I seriously doubt a “Hatfield and McCoyesque” feud that would create the conspiracy you seem to believe in.

Not a lawyer, (have way too many for friends), just fascinated by the “slow moving dumpster fire and feces fest” that “Elick” created.

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SubZeroIQ July 5, 2023 at 7:00 pm

Murdaughs and Goodings, not only competed against each other in elections for solicitor, but brought criminal charges against each other.
The camera was NOT removed a year before someone(s) shot Paul and Maggie meaning to pin it on Alex Murdaugh (“AM”). It was placed there by Sara Capelli who was hired a year before the murders and continued to follow Paul and videotape him as late as 3 days before his death, and probably later.
I do not know how you knew about the camera unless SLED told you in private. If so, please let me know how I can SLED to do the same for me.
I have seen at least FIVE of the team who prosecuted AM falsely and mercilessly trying to frame someone they 100% knew to be innocent ahead of time; then, they continued to punish and torment her for proving her innocence.
I saw their same tactics in AM’s trial: “Oh! The sky is blue and the sun rises from the east. Then the defendant must be guilty. You, the jury, would be stupid and the laughing stock of the town if you do not understand that. And you, the judge, must be corrupt if you do not give the Prosecution free reign.”
By attacking me for my righteous indignation against that, you are attacking innocence and decency themselves.

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The Colonel Top fan July 5, 2023 at 11:08 pm

Capelli was still following Paul and taking still and video images as late as three days before “Elick” murdered him but the “gate cameras” were removed much earlier after the scheming of Parker’s attorneys and private eyes was uncovered.

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SubZeroIQ July 6, 2023 at 5:28 am

No! It just got uncovered last month AFTER Parker’s defense team moved to disqualify Tinsley.
Also, in other posts, I explained the NORMAL weight and height changes during the period of validity of a driver’s license.
What about people dying their hair, or losing hair, or the hair graying? Can these people not use their drivers’ licenses for any purpose unless their appearance remains frozen in time, which is biologically impossible?

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The Colonel Top fan July 7, 2023 at 7:37 am

So you’re saying people (in this case a twenty two year old) shrink? Dude (dudette?) You’re working way to hard to defend the defenseless.

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SubZeroIQ July 7, 2023 at 1:36 pm

No! The people up to mid-twenties may GROW in height and weight NORMALLY.
Therefore, drivers’ license checkers are not, and should not be, required to check weight and height.
Think of what a nightmare that would be if you add this requirement just to put money in the greedy Mark Tinsley’s bottomless pockets.
You would not be able to cash a check at the drive-thru of a bank, or even inside a bank, unless you step out of your car and out of your shoes to get measured and take off any heavy clothes in winter to get weighed.
And even at that, you are not who you are if your hair has grayed or thinned from the time your driver’s license photo was taken.
All that because Mark Tinsley wants to rule ourt brains!
You’re the one working too hard to make Mark Tinsley seem reasonable and powerful.
Someone should fold Mark Tinsley’s circus of paper tigers.

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VERITAS Top fan July 4, 2023 at 6:48 pm

Miss Capelli broke the law; therefore, any “evidence” from any particular moment of breaking the law is inadmissable. Putting up a camera on a public road is not breaking the law. Providing alcohol to minors is breaking the law, and Parker is liable for those actions while P.I. Capelli was under their employment. And BTW, AleX Murdaugh was a family annihilator.

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SubZeroIQ July 4, 2023 at 8:45 pm

You are either missing the REAL points or playing dumb like the rest of them.
The first point is that Tinsley wants to collect FROM THE MURDAUGHS because Gegg Parker hired private investigators to FALSELY implicate Buster in Stephen Smith’s death. How unfair is that?
The second point is that, wherever that camera was (and it could have been on private, not public property), it is ABSOLUTELY relevant to Alex Murdaugh’s (“AM”) double murder trial.
Why do we not learn about it till now?
Tinsley says the AG told HIM that it was given to SLED. But we heard NOTHING from the AG about that in AM’s double murder trial.
What we heard, immediately after the trial is, “Buster is next! Your son is next Alex! Justice for Stephen Smith!”
What this means to me is that AM was convicted because the community from which the jury was selected was already poisoned against the Murdaugh.
We, the public, deserve more transparency than that.
If you are happy with pop psychology and pseudo-science, PLEASE do not get in the way of the rest of us who KNOW that time of death is NOT correctly determined by hand in the armpit of the deceased.

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VERITAS Top fan July 4, 2023 at 6:57 pm

Parker sold alcohol to a minor, Paul Murdaugh, which resulted in a death. PARKER is LIABLE, and so is Murdaugh. END. OF. STORY.

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SubZeroIQ July 4, 2023 at 8:47 pm

No, just the beginning of the story!

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John Santolin July 6, 2023 at 11:31 am

Dear SubZero
You lost all credibility when you said:

Also, in other posts, I explained the NORMAL weight and height changes during the period of validity of a driver’s license.
What about people dying their hair, or losing hair, or the hair graying? Can these people not use their drivers’ licenses for any purpose unless their appearance remains frozen in time, which is …..

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SubZeroIQ July 6, 2023 at 11:47 am

Just to not leave these hit-and-run attacks on my person unanswered, and assuming you do not understant “NORMAL” weight and height changes:
1. In post-menopausal women, NORMAL bone and muscle loss occurs, and with it height is reduced. With height reduction comes NORMAL weight reductions.
Look at photos of the late Queen Elizabeth II and of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg just for two examples.
Some bone and muscle loss occurs in middle-aged men, too, but at a slower rate than in menopausal females.

2. Growth in height and weight continues in late teens with known differences in the age range of the “second growth spurt” between males and females.

What about that do you find not credible? Or are you just attacking me just because you can?
FOLLOW UP if you dare.

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SubZeroIQ July 22, 2023 at 6:26 pm

FITS, another comment on you WIR today mentioned “the hand of one is the hand of all” in criminal law.” This post is NOT against THAT COMMENTER but against that stupid and unexamined “principle.” AND I would appreciate your reply to it.
“The hand of one is the hand of all” is a VERY BAD idea in criminal law.
That is what happens when ALL they teach them in law school is NOT “how to THINK” but how to repeat by rote what some ancient British judge wrote.
“The hand of one is the hand of all” prevents the solving of crimes and reduces confidence in convictions.
Someone who was just the getaway driver, or who even drove someone to or from the scene of a crime WITHOUT even KNOWING that a crime had been committed there, should NOT be held as culpable as the actual shooter for example.
That “hand of one is the hand of all” is pure INTELLECTUAL LAZINESS by police and prosecutors; they just don’t want to spend the time and effort to apportion responsibility.
It often happens that the getaway driver gets life without parole or even the death penalty, while the actual shooter plea-bargains for the 30-year minimum or even some reduced manslaughter charge.
That happens because the real shooter knows there is so much evidence (gun residue, DNA, fingerprints, etc.) against him/her, while the accessory naively goes to trial thinking society is too decent to paint all with the same brush.

I remind you, if you want to be a uniter, not a factionalist: Democrats should not try to solve every problem by throwing money at it; and Republicans should not try to solve every problem by throwing prisons (or deportations) at it.

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