The most confusing figure in the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga has without a doubt been Buster Murdaugh – the 26-year-old former law school student whose father stands accused of murdering his mother and younger brother last June at the family’s hunting property in the Spanish moss-draped South Carolina Lowcountry.
This phrase consumed conversations in the immediate aftermath of the shootings … although my news outlet reported very early on in the process that Murdaugh was in York County, S.C. at the time his mother (52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh) and brother (22-year-old Paul Murdaugh) were slain.
Buster became an even more prominent figure in this narrative when his father – 54-year-old disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh – tried to stage his own murder on a Hampton County roadside on September 4, 2021. The ostensible objective of this roadside shooting? A massive insurance payout to Buster – who is named after his great-grandfather, former S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor Randolph “Buster” Murdaugh Jr.
The original “Buster” was the second of three Murdaughs to serve as solicitor over this five-county region – holding the job for nearly half a century from 1940 to 1986. To say his tenure was marred by scandal would be quite the understatement – as he was brought up on federal charges related to a bootlegging operation in the mid-1950s.
Buster got out of that scrape … sort of like the Murdaughs’ running buddies, the Boulwares, got out of a similar scrape in the 1980s related to allegations of drug trafficking.
As for the contemporary Buster, he is also no stranger to scandal having been kicked out of the University of South Carolina law school at the end of his second semester in 2019 after being accused of plagiarism, according to reporter Valerie Bauerlein of The Wall Street Journal. Getting Buster back into law school has been an obsession for Alex Murdaugh, who shelled out $60,000 to unscrupulous Columbia, S.C. attorney Butch Bowers in the hopes his son could be readmitted to the institution.
Name: Richard Alexander Murdaugh Jr.
Born April 11, 1996
Graduated from Wade Hampton High School
Attended the University of South Carolina
Kicked out of the University of South Carolina law school at the end of his second semester in 2019 after being accused of plagiarism
Resides in Hilton Head with his girlfriend, Brooklyn