Murdaugh Jury Tampering, Rose Petal Update – Week In Review 9/16/2023

And more institutional injustice in South Carolina …

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In the aftermath of last week’s seismic jury tampering allegations in the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga, a long-awaited status conference was held for multiple Murdaugh defendants at the Beaufort County courthouse in Beaufort, South Carolina this Thursday (September 14, 2023).

Special projects director Dylan Nolan live-streamed these proceedings, while our research director Jenn Wood provided a minute-by-minute live feed – as will as this recap.

The hearing marked the first state court appearance of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh since he was sentenced to life behind bars by circuit court judge Clifton Newman on March 3, 2023 for the graphic 2021 murders of his wife – 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh – and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh.

The Murdaugh drama continued the following day (Friday, September 15, 2023) when the state of South Carolina dropped its long-awaited response to the jury tampering allegations raised by Murdaugh attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin.

Our Callie Lyons filed this report on the state’s filing …



In other news, there was a major development in the ‘Rose Petal Murder’ case out of Greenville County, S.C. this week. As we exclusively reported, accused killer Zach Hughes – who allegedly stabbed 41-year-old vet tech Christina Parcell 31 times in the head and neck area on the morning of October 13, 2021 – has been charged with harassment and conspiracy related to the dissemination of nude images of Parcell sent to multiple recipients in the weeks leading up to her murder.

Why is this significant? Because Hughes’ co-conspirator in the alleged harassment campaign was none other than self-styled music producer John Mello – Parcell’s ex-boyfriend and the father of her young daughter.

Mello has already been linked with Hughes via cryptic WhatsApp messages exchanged around the time of Parcell’s graphic murder.

For more on the Rose Petal Murder, be sure to check out the first six episodes of our crime and corruption podcast FITSFiles (AppleSpotify, Google). Additional Rose Petal Murder episodes are forthcoming …

(Click to View)

S.C. House minority leader Todd Rutherford enters the Richland County courthouse in downtown Columbia, S.C. on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. (FITSNews)

Finally, I paid a visit to the Richland County courthouse in downtown Columbia, S.C. on Wednesday (September 13, 2023) to see justice – or what passes for it in the Palmetto State’s fifth judicial circuit – done in the case of Robert Marks.

A case study for South Carolina’s badly-broken court system, this saga epitomized the corrupt, corrosive, cancerous influence exerted by powerful lawyer-legislators – in this case, powerful S.C. House minority leader Todd Rutherford.

Count on this news outlet to continue fighting against that corruption … at every turn.

Thanks again to everyone for tuning in to another edition of the Week In Review. Your support is essential as it enables everything we do here at FITSNews. If you want to help us as we continue to hold those in power accountable, please consider subscribing today.



Will Folks (Dylan Nolan)

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 (soon to be eight) children.



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1 comment

Michael Top fan September 16, 2023 at 7:59 pm

You all seem to see a lot of meaning in the handshake between Alec and Todd Rutherford, showing the true character of Rutherford in such a warm greeting with Murdaugh. I took a later exchange between Rutherford and Waters to be a much more revealing moment. After a pretty involved 3-way discussion between Judge Newman, Creighton Waters, and Lafitte’s new attorney regarding when a state trial could begin, Newman for some reason invited Rutherford to speak. Rutherford went on a tangent describing how busy he is and what kind of important cases he may have coming up. He then turned toward Waters and said distinctly and with emphasis that he “might” waive his legislative priveledge if he were approached by prosecution in a certain way. He had a big “excrement-eating grin” on his face, turned toward Waters, a ghetto challenge right there in the courtroom. That’s the true character of Rutherford.


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