In a double murder trial against well-known lawyer Alex Murdaugh, which has been hotly pursued in the United States, the defendant has been found guilty. A jury found Thursday in Walterboro, South Carolina that the 54-year-old shot his wife and son. The lawyer faces life imprisonment, the sentence is to be announced at a later date. The trial generated tremendous interest in the United States, with television stations broadcasting from the courtroom almost daily.
The jury followed the prosecutor’s allegations with their guilty verdict. The lawyer, who belongs to a prominent legal family, shot dead his 52-year-old wife Maggie and his 22-year-old son Paul on June 7, 2021 at the family’s property in South Carolina.
Murdaugh himself had alerted the police at the time and said he had found the bodies. Later, however, the lawyer came under suspicion – and was finally accused of double murder in July 2022.
Murdaugh has denied the crimes. However, he had to admit in court that he lied about his presence at the crime scene. His voice can be heard on a cell phone video that his son Paul recorded shortly before the fatal shooting.
Funding for drug addiction
Murdaugh had stolen millions of dollars from his law firm, from clients and even from the family of a former maid who had collected insurance money after the wife’s death in a fall. Among other things, he needed the money to finance his opioid addiction.
According to the prosecution, Murdaugh feared in the summer of 2021 that he would soon be exposed – and wanted to prevent this by killing his wife and son and buying himself time. Then, a few months after the double homicide, Murdaugh paid a man to kill him and his other son collected $10 million in life insurance.
Murdaugh was only injured by the shot and survived. He admitted to investigators that he paid the perpetrator.
Huge media interest
The trial against the lawyer, which started in January, attracted enormous media interest in the USA, with news channels broadcasting from the courtroom almost every day. Just recently, the streaming service Netflix released a widely watched series entitled “The Murdaugh Murders: Scandal in the Southern States”.
It is also about another case: Paul, who was murdered in 2021, had been involved in a boat accident two years earlier in which a 19-year-old died. Paul Murdaugh was charged with driving the boat while intoxicated.