Attorneys for Alex Murdaugh on Thursday filed a notice to appeal his convictions for the murder of his wife and son along with his life sentence. The trial in rural South Carolina lasted six weeks and included more than 75 witnesses, but culminated in a jury taking less than three hours to find the 54-year-old Murdaugh guilty last week. Murdaugh called 911 on the evening of June 7, 2021, saying he found his son and wife dead when he returned home from a one-hour visit with his mother, who has dementia.
Authorities said Paul Murdaugh, 22, was shot twice with a shotgun, each round loaded with different sized shot, while Maggie Murdaugh, 52, was struck with four or five bullets from a rifle. A crime scene report suggested that both victims were shot in the head after initially being wounded near dog kennels on the Murdaughs’ sprawling rural property.
Prosecutors took more than a year to charge the disgraced lawyer with murder but decided not to pursue the death penalty. Murdaugh, who is also charged with about 100 counts of financial and other crimes, adamantly denied any involvement in the killings.
Murdaugh could have received as little as 30 years behind bars, but the judge gave him the maximum: two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Attorney Dick Harpootlian filed Murdaugh’s appeal to the South Carolina Court of Appeals.
After the trial, some jurors said that the key piece of evidence in finding the lawyer guilty was a video on his son Paul’s cellphone that was shot minutes before the killings at the kennels near where the bodies were found. Murdaugh’s testimony only cemented what they were already thinking — that he easily lied, and could turn on and off his tears at will, jurors said.
The key piece of evidence in finding the lawyer guilty, they said, was a video on his son’s cellphone that was shot minutes before the killings at the same kennels near where the bodies were found at their sprawling estate in rural South Carolina.
Murdaugh’s voice can be heard on the video even though he insisted for 20 months that he hadn’t been at the kennels that night. Investigators didn’t see the video for more than a year before advances in hacking enabled them to unlock Paul Murdaugh’s iPhone. They shared it with the defense ahead of the trial.
When he took the stand, the first thing Murdaugh did was admit he had lied to investigators about being at the kennels, saying he was paranoid of law enforcement because he was addicted to opioids and had pills in his pocket the night of the killings.
“The kennel video, that just kind of sealed the deal,” juror Gwen Generette said.
The jury deliberated for less than three hours Thursday before finding Murdaugh guilty of killing his 22-year-old son, Paul, with two shotgun blasts and his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, with four or five rifle shots.
The now-disbarred lawyer maintained his innocence when he was sentenced Friday to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murders.
Murdaugh was convicted in the same court circuit where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases as the elected prosecutor for more than 80 years. Murdaugh’s family founded the area’s most powerful law firm a century ago. For decades, that meant that practically anyone who ended up in court on either side of the law in Colleton or Hampton counties would have a Murdaugh watching their back or staring them down.
His background was part of the reason jurors didn’t find his testimony believable.
“We already know that he’s a lawyer. He’s able to be emotional with cases. He’s able to be emotional with himself. He knows … when to turn it on and off. So I think that we were able to read right through that,” juror James McDowell said.
*This story has not been edited by The Infallible staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.