Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh’s long-awaited appeal is facing yet another delay this week, as court reporters have been granted an extension which will give them until August 17, 2023 to finish compiling transcripts from his murder trial back in March.
Murdaugh, 55, a disbarred attorney and alleged fraudster from Hampton, S.C., was found guilty of the graphic 2021 murders of his wife – 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh – and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, at the conclusion of a six-week trial in Walterboro, S.C.
The trial gained international attention given its gruesomeness – and given Murdaugh’s status as a member of the once-powerful “House of Murdaugh,” a family which ran the Palmetto Lowcountry like a fiefdom for nearly a century. Three Murdaughs held the post of S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor between 1920-2006 – and Murdaugh himself was a badge-carrying assistant solicitor at the time of the murders.
(Click to view)
Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal on March 9, 2023, however they have yet to formally submit a document articulating the grounds upon which they believe their client’s conviction should be overturned.
Obviously, the transcripts from the trial will be critical in making their case.
The transcripts were ordered on March 21, 2023. Extensions were subsequently requested on May 17 and June 16. The latest round of extensions was filed with the South Carolina Court of Appeals on July 17, 2023.
“We are anxious to get started on the briefing for the appeal,” Murdaugh attorney Jim Griffin told this media outlet on Tuesday. “We hope this is the final extension.”
Griffin represented Murdaugh in the murder trial along with state senator Dick Harpootlian, Phillip Barber and Margaret Fox. Back in March, Griffin and Harpootlian sought to have $160,000 transferred from an escrow account held by Murdaugh’s court-appointed receivers to help subsidize his appeal. In May, S.C. circuit court judge Daniel Hall denied their request.
Most believe Murdaugh’s appeal will focus on the controversial admissibility of evidence related to his alleged financial crimes. However, sources familiar with the situation say defense attorneys may have an “ace up their sleeve” on another subject.
Whatever cards wind up getting played, finding a majority of appeals court judges – or supreme court justices – to overturn Murdaugh’s conviction is a steep climb, according to Palmetto State lawyers we spoke with.
Murdaugh has yet to go to trial on more than 100 counts of alleged financial criminality, although one of his alleged co-conspirators is scheduled to stand trial in September. In addition to the various state charges he is facing, Murdaugh has also been charged federally with nearly two dozen financial crimes.
To view the two appeal extension rulings for yourself, click on the documents below …
THE EXTENSIONS …
(Via: S.C. Court of Appeals)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.
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