Murdaughs

Mallory Beach Wrongful Death Trial: Another Change Of Venue Attempt?

Latest ‘Murdaugh Murders’ civil motion comes just weeks before trial is set to commence …

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With a trial date in a high-profile wrongful death case tied to the ‘Murdaugh Murders‘ crime and corruption saga rapidly approaching, a motion to move the case out of Hampton County, South Carolina was filed last Friday (July 7, 2023) by attorneys for wealthy Savannah, Georgia convenience store magnate Greg Parker.

Parker’s attorneys requested the venue be changed out of the fourteenth judicial circuit entirely, arguing their client would be unable to receive a fair trial in the heart of the Murdaughs’ former fiefdom.

“If anyone in this judicial circuit hadn’t heard of the Murdaughs before – something this court already doubted months ago – they almost certainly have now, and those ingrained views ensure that Parker’s will not receive a fair trial here,” the attorneys argued.

News of the change of venue motion was first reported by Michael DeWitt of the Gannett-owned Hampton County Guardian .

This highly anticipated trial — scheduled to begin on August 14, 2023 — stems from a wrongful death case filed by the family of the late Mallory Beach against convicted killer Alex Murdaugh as well as the increasingly infamous Parker and his company, the Parker’s Kitchen chain of gas stations.

This case was filed more than four years ago by Allendale, S.C. attorney Mark Tinsley on behalf of the family of Beach – a 19-year-old from Hampton, S.C. who perished in the early morning hours of February 24, 2019. Beach died when 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).

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

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. Paul Murdaugh was criminally charged in connection with the fatal incident, but was murdered before he could stand trial. His father, Alex, was convicted of his murder in March of this year and sentenced to life in prison.

Tinsley’s lawsuit is viewed by many 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.

The case involves multiple prominent defendants – including Parker, who has engaged in an outright war in the hopes of absolving himself and his company of any blame for this tragedy. The questionable tactics allegedly utilized by Parker and his team has actually spawned a second lawsuit tied to this case – one filed in December 2021 which focuses on the unauthorized disclosure of confidential mediation materials by those allegedly in Parker’s employ.

This case was originally scheduled to go to trial on January 9, 2023, but South Carolina circuit court judge Daniel Hall delayed it due to Murdaugh’s pending double homicide trial. It was then scheduled for April 10, 2023, but one of Parkers’ attorneys – powerful S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith – invoked his “legislative immunity,” further delaying the proceedings.

(Click to View)

S.C. circuit court judge Daniel Hall (FITSNews)

According to the motion filed last week, Parkers’ attorneys argued the “reactionary and publicized situation” surrounding Murdaugh “has only exploded since the court first considered whether to transfer venue for convenience and justice.”

Parkers’ first motion to change venue was denied on September 30, 2021.

Murdaugh’s double homicide trial was “internationally televised and analyzed for weeks, and the facts surrounding that case (and this one) have been dissected in every way imaginable by news stories, podcasts, and multi-part documentaries.”

This includes ‘Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal’ – the smash hit documentary that premiered on Netflix on February 22, 2023 which revolved around the death of Mallory Beach.

Parker’s attorneys claim the media coverage continues to connect this case to the murder trial – including statements by Tinsley suggesting that “Mallory Beach’s death was a catalyst for revealing Alex Murdaugh’s criminality.”

According to the filing, media observers readily note the prejudicial effect of associating Greg Parker and his company, Parker’s Kitchen, with Alex Murdaugh – quoting one CourtTV commentator who said Parker’s is “going to get the stink all over [it] from Alex Murdaugh” if Alex is also at the defense table, and “the fact that you’re at the same defense table with Alex Murdaugh will really resonate with the jury.”

(Click to View)

Mark Tinsley, Allendale-based personal injury attorney takes the stand in Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday, February 9, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

Parker’s attorneys have already attempted to separate themselves from the “stink” associated with Murdaugh by filing a motion to bifurcate this case back in August of 2022. This motion was granted by Hall on September 7, 2022 and immediately challenged by the Beach family’s attorney. In addition to submitting a motion for reconsideration, Tinsley vowed his clients would be “left with no choice but to appeal” if Hall’s ruling stood.

Hall overturned his ruling less than three weeks later – on September 27, 2022.

When contacted for comment regarding Parker’s latest venue change motion, Tinsley had plenty to say.

“At its essence, Parker’s motion says they believe people of the Lowcountry are only capable of buying his 29 degree cold, gas station beer since they aren’t smart enough, can’t or won’t follow the law,” he said. “It’s a ridiculous position to take, but they don’t seem to have a problem taking ridiculous positions.”

“Parker’s assertion that somehow it will be prejudiced or harmed by ‘being tethered to The Murdaughs’ in this case is equally preposterous,” Tinsley continued. “The Murdaughs are not defendants in this case, Alex Murdaugh is. And Alex Murdaugh – like Parker’s – is fighting against the Beach family. Alex Murdaugh – like Parker’s – is adverse to the Beach family and their quest to hold these people, who have refused to accept responsibility, accountable for their wrongful actions. As such, Parker’s logic in how it will be prejudiced falls apart. It would seem any unfair advantage for ‘The Murdaughs’ as Parker’s puts it or for Alex Murdaugh would be against the Beach family and their fight for justice.”

According to Tinsley, “of the people remaining in this lawsuit, only the Beach family was harmed or victimized by any of the misdeeds or corruption related to the criminal investigation into their daughter’s death.”

“The Beach family has every confidence that the people of the Lowcountry, who are held in such contempt by Parker’s, and the residents of Hampton County in particular will follow the law in this case,” he said. “The motion, like all Parker’s other motions, is meritless.”

While we await Hall’s ruling on Parker’s latest motion, count on this news outlet to continue keeping our readers in the loop on the very latest developments in both the civil and criminal components of the still-unfolding Murdaugh saga. And count on FITSNews to provide coverage of the boat crash trial from the moment the gavel drops on August 14, 2023.

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THE MOTION …

(Via: S.C. Fourteenth Judicial Circuit)

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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

2 comments

Avatar photo
VERITAS Top fan July 11, 2023 at 10:26 am

Again, Parker, you’re screwed, however you try to rig the system. Evidence proves Parker’s served Paul Murdaugh, a minor, alcohol purchased using Buster Murdaugh’s ID, and Alex Murdaugh’s boat. The bar that served Paul Murdaugh later that evening is also libel, as well as Alex Murdaugh and Buster Murdaugh. Because of their combined actions of providing alcohol and the means to do so, Paul Murdaugh was responsible for another person’s death. The only venue that will serve up exacting justice in this case is where it is currently scheduled.

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Observer (the real one) July 13, 2023 at 3:08 pm

Twisted logic at its zenith. Convenience store clerks are not document verification analysts. Paul presented his brother’s ID. The two boys bear a strong resemblance to one another. Any cop, convenience store clerk, bouncer, etc, who regularly looks at other peoples’ driver’s licenses will tell you that people’s appearances can change quite a bit between the time the DL photo was taken and when that person presents them a legitimate ID for whatever reason. People gain/lose weight, grow/shave facial hair, have cosmetic surgery, age, change hair color, or experience any number of other changes to their appearance between the time the photo was taken and when they present their legitimate ID. ALL of the aforementioned occupations and others either understand or learn that they need to make allowances for these changes in physical appearances. Would you want a cop to snatch you up and cuff you because you dyed your hair, changed your hairstyle, and gained or lost weight, because you did not look exactly like your DL photo as he accuses you of presenting a fake ID? Would you appreciate the grocery, convenience, or liquor store clerk refusing you that beer, wine, or liquor, you were looking forward to having with or after dinner following a hard day at work, because you no longer look exactly like your DL photo?

This is a frivolous lawsuit the decedent’s mom is hoping to get rich quick off of at the expense of Parker and common sense.

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