Murdaughs

Becky Hill Case: Ethics Allegations Referred For Criminal Prosecution

What will South Carolina’s top prosecutor do?

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The South Carolina State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) met last week and referred allegations against former Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill to the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson for criminal prosecution, multiple sources familiar with the status of the hearing have confirmed to this media outlet.

What will Wilson’s office do with this referral? That’s a good question given the starring role Hill played earlier this year in upholding arguably the highest profile convictions Wilson’s office has ever secured – the two murder charges against convicted killer Alex Murdaugh. The question is also worth asking given that several of Wilson’s employees could conceivably wind up being fact witnesses in various cases involving Hill.

Wilson – the state’s chief prosecutor – could refer Hill’s case to a solicitor of his choosing in an effort to avoid the appearance of any conflicts of interest. As of this writing, his office has not commented on the ethics referral – although sources close to the attorney general told us they “have no doubt he will do the right thing.”

Hill, 56, of Walterboro, S.C., has been the focus of multiple ethics and criminal inquiries in the aftermath of Murdaugh’s double homicide trial in early 2023. The most significant allegation against her? That she tampered with the jury that found Murdaugh guilty of murdering his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son – 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh – on the family’s hunting property near Islandton, S.C. in June of 2021.

Hill’s office managed Murdaugh’s double homicide trial in Walterboro, S.C. from January 23 through March 3, 2023. In fact, she was the one who read the guilty verdicts to a waiting world on the evening of March 2, 2023.

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On September 5, 2023 – six months after the verdicts were announced – Murdaugh attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin filed a motion publicly accusing Hill of tampering with the jury. According to Harpootlian and Griffin, this alleged tampering included conspiring to have a juror believed to be sympathetic to Murdaugh removed from the panel on the same day the verdicts were announced.

Hill also allegedly told jurors “not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense,” and pushed them to reach “a quick guilty verdict.”

Hill was further accused of ignoring allegations involving a juror who allegedly violated the judge’s instructions and spoke in favor of convicting Murdaugh.

Hill’s motive for all of this alleged manipulation? Selling copies of her book, Behind the Doors of Justice – portions of which she has since admitted to plagiarizing.

“Hill betrayed her oath of office for money and fame,” Murdaugh’s attorneys claimed.

Former S.C. chief justice Jean Toal disagreed, however – ruling in January that Hill’s alleged actions did not impact the outcome of the trial.

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RELATED | ALEX MURDAUGH’S BID FOR NEW TRIAL SHOT DOWN

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As for the ethics complaints, Hill was accused in one complaint of “unethically and potentially unlawfully” using her office to enrich herself by obtaining and releasing confidential information – some of which later appeared in her book. A second complaint accused Hill of misappropriating public funds from multiple accounts – and then allegedly misrepresenting those misappropriations to county officials.

News of the ethics complaints – and Hill’s response to them – were first reported by our media outlet.

In addition to the ethics inquiries, agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) have been probing a wide range of allegations against Hill – including reports of potential obstruction of justice. Hill has yet to be criminally charged in connection with any of these investigations, however her son – former Colleton County information technology director Jeffrey “Colt” Hill – was criminally charged with wiretapping after “willfully and feloniously intercepting electronic phone communication” from a Colleton County employee last year.

This alleged wiretapping was reportedly linked to an effort to keep his mother “abreast” of the two ethics investigations.

Count on this media outlet to keep our audience in the loop in the event Wilson’s office makes a determination regarding the various cases against Hill – who resigned her office last month for the stated purpose of spending more time with her husband, children and grandchildren.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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1 comment

B B BROCKMAN Top fan May 21, 2024 at 2:38 pm

It seems to me, with the state’s AG opposing both Alex’s appeal and request for a new trial, that if he brings criminal charges agains Hill, that this would bring credibility to Murdaugh’s appeal. I am wrong in thinking this?

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