The trial of former South Carolina attorney Richard “Alex” Murdaugh is set to begin on Monday, as he faces multiple state investigations and a dozen lawsuits. In July 2021, Murdaugh, a member of a prominent family that ran a prosecutors office in Hampton County for more than 80 years, was indicted on two counts of murder in the fatal shootings of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul. The now-disbarred attorney has denied killing his family members.
The killings of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, took place at their Colleton County estate on June 7, 2021. Alex Murdaugh reported their deaths to police at 10:07 p.m. and told 911 operators he wasn’t home when they were killed. The case drew international media coverage, and a grand jury charged Murdaugh with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in July.
In addition to the murder charges, Murdaugh is facing over 100 criminal charges related to offenses including drug trafficking, tax evasion, and stealing more than $8.7 million from clients and other attorneys. The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office has claimed in a December court filing that Murdaugh killed his family in order to gain sympathy and distract members of his law firm as he worked to cover up alleged financial crimes.
Moreover, investigations were launched into two other deaths connected to Murdaugh in June 2021 and alleged criminal acts dating back over a decade. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division announced it opened an investigation into the death of Stephen Smith, based on information uncovered during the double murder probe. Smith, 19, was found with deep gashes in his head on a rural road in Hampton County in 2015.
Furthermore, court documents filed in July 2021 alleged a civil conspiracy possibly connecting law enforcement and members of the Murdaugh family following a boat crash in Beaufort County in 2019 that resulted in the death of Mallory Beach, 19.
The trial is expected to last several weeks and will shed light on the multiple criminal charges and investigations that the former attorney is facing.
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