Disgraced ex-lawyer Alex Murdaugh sentenced to life in prisonon March 3, 2023 at 5:56 pm

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

A judge calls the double murder case “one of the most troubling” as he hands down two life sentences.

Former South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh

Disgraced former lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been sentenced to life in prison, a day after being convicted of murdering his wife and son.

Judge Clifton Newman gave Murdaugh two life sentences at a hearing in Walterboro, South Carolina. They will be served consecutively.

Mr Newman called the case “one of the most troubling” he had seen.

Murdaugh spoke briefly in court twice, to maintain his innocence.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours on Thursday before convicting Murdaugh, 54, of two counts of murder after a six-week trial.

His lawyers have said they will appeal the sentence within 10 days.

Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were shot at close range on their family estate on 7 June 2021.

Alex Murdaugh headed a legal dynasty that for decades had occupied a powerful place – the jurisdiction was described by some as “Murdaugh Country”.

This privilege – and Murdaugh’s new position on the other side of the criminal justice system – was brought up by the judge at sentencing.

“It was especially heart-breaking for me to see you go in the media from being a grieving father who lost a wife and a son to being the person indicted and convicted of killing them,” Judge Newman said.

“You’ve engaged in such duplicitous conduct here in the courtroom, here on the witness stand,” he added. “You continued to lie and lie throughout your testimony.”

During the trial, investigators revealed how Murdaugh stole nearly $9m from clients, to fund an addiction to painkillers and a lavish lifestyle.

Prosecutors argued he killed his wife and son to divert attention from his financial crimes and gain sympathy.

The packed court fell silent as Judge Newman began sentencing proceedings.

Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, dressed in a simple navy-blue blazer, sat still and silent throughout the proceedings – even as the judge sentenced his father to two concurrent life sentences.

The judge suggested the murders may have been carried out under the influence of the drugs.

“It might not have been you, but it may have been the monster you became when you took those pills.”

This video can not be played

To play this video you need to enable JavaScript in your browser.

Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters argued the evidence against the South Carolina lawyer was “overwhelming” and showed him to be a “cunning, manipulative man who placed himself above all others, including his family”.

Murdaugh, meanwhile, restated his claim that he was not guilty.

“I would never hurt my wife and I would never hurt my son,” he said in brief remarks at the hearing. He stared ahead and did not react as his sentence was read.

A video filmed by Paul Murdaugh just minutes before he was shot featured the voice of his father in the background, dramatically contradicting his claim he was not there at the time.

A juror who convicted him told ABC News that was the moment he began to suspect the defendant was guilty.

During a news conference after the sentence was handed down, Murdaugh’s lawyers said they did not believe it was a mistake for him to take the stand during the trial. They called Judge Newman’s decision to allow evidence related to Murdaugh’s financial crimes to be included in the murder trial “erroneous”.

The state’s case “was about character, not about motive”, defence attorney Dick Harpootlian, said. Murdaugh had been cast as a “despicable human being”, he said.

The high-profile case has captured national attention and sparked true crime podcasts and documentaries.

Related Topics

- Advertisement -




BP scales back green targets as profits hit recordon February 7, 2023 at 10:03 am

It is the latest energy giant to report record annual profits after oil and gas prices soared last year.Image source, Getty ImagesEnergy giant BP...

Scams: Cost of impact on well-being calculated as £9bn a yearon October 17, 2021 at 11:00 pm

Consumer group Which? says costs to victims' well-being are greater than the amount stolen by fraudsters.Image source, Getty ImagesThe cost to scam victims' well-being...

Six flashbacks that unlocked a man’s memory, and the 80s song that helpedon June 12, 2021 at 11:17 pm

A car crash erased Thomas's memory - 10 years later, a 1980s pop song triggered six flashbacks.A drumbeat comes in, then the keyboard. A...

UK-Rwanda asylum seekers’ deal: Good news for Kigali hotelson May 20, 2022 at 5:17 am

The controversial deal to send migrants from the UK to Rwanda is good news for its hospitality business.

Tobacco giant Philip Morris raises bid for respiratory drugmakeron August 8, 2021 at 6:51 pm

Philip Morris is seeking to buy Vectura, which makes treatments for diseases such as asthma.image sourcefuzznails, thinkstockTobacco giant Philip Morris has raised its bid...