Drug Addiction, ‘Fishy’ Behavior & Surprise Snapchat Video: 5 Key Murdaugh Murder Trial Revelations
The disgraced South Carolina attorney’s six-week jury trial ended with a guilty verdict and life sentence.
On March 2, 2023, a jury in South Carolina deliberated for just hours before they found Alex Murdaugh guilty of the brutal double homicide of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh.
Alex, a former personal injury attorney who once worked for his prominent family’s law firm, was sentenced to two consecutive life terms behind bars the following day.
Multiple revelations emerged during the six-week trial that led to the 54-year-old’s conviction for killing his loved ones at the family’s estate in Islandton on June 7, 2021.
Alex’s drug addiction was even worse than many thought.
In February, jurors heard testimony about how Murdaugh was spending as much as $50,000 every week on a drug habit that had spiraled out of control.
Chris Wilson, who described himself as Murdaugh’s best friend, recalled a Sept. 2021 conversation between the pair. “[Alex] said, ‘I'm sorry I've had a drug problem, I'm addicted to opioids ... for something like 20 years,’” Wilson testified, CNN reported. “He said he had a drug addiction and he admitted that he had been stealing money from his law firm and from clients.”
Murdaugh’s attorney, Richard “Dick” Harpootlian, told TODAY the “vast majority” of funds his client allegedly stole went to the purchase of opioids via “checks written to drug dealers.”
Alex’s wife appeared to know something was wrong the night she died.
The victims were blindsided when they were shot dead, but Maggie may have had an idea something was terribly wrong that evening. On Feb. 1, Britt Dove, who works with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) in the computer crimes unit, testified that right before Maggie was killed, she sent multiple messages to a friend noting her husband Alex was acting “fishy”, PEOPLE reported.
Some believe Alex confessed to police that he killed his son.
On Jan. 30, prosecutors played in court audio from a police interview with Alex that prosecutors and law enforcement said showed he slipped up and confessed to at least one slaying, the Independent reported.
“I did him so bad,” a sobbing Alex seems to say in the June 2021 recording. Some, however, argued the defendant said “they” rather than “I.”
On the stand, SLED Special Agent Jeff Croft insisted he still heard “I” when the audio was slowed down — “I did him so bad” and not “They did him so bad.”
In court, Alex, shaking his head, could be seen mouthing to his defense attorneys what looked like “I did not say that”, according to the Independent.
Paul Murdaugh may have helped send his father to prison.
The prosecution presented video evidence in court that directly contradicted the defendant’s claims about the night of the murders. Prosecutors pointed out Alex previously “told anyone who would listen he was never there.” The attorneys pointed out, however, that “evidence will show … he was at the murder scene with the two victims.”
Lt. David Britton Dove with SLED’s computer crimes unit said a Snapchat video Paul filmed at 8:44 p.m., minutes before he was murdered, placed Alex directly at the scene, CNN reported.
In audio of the video that appears to have been filmed at the family’s dog kennels where Paul and Maggie’s bodies were later found, three voices can be heard in the background. Witnesses identified those voices as belonging to Paul, Maggie, and Alex.
Alex’s troubles aren’t behind him now that he’s a convicted killer.
Prosecutors posited during Alex’s murder trial that he fatally shot his wife and son to draw attention away from his alleged financial crimes and a possible “day of reckoning”, CNN reported.
“They've got a whole lot more evidence about financial misconduct than they do about evidence of guilt in a murder case,” Alex’s defense lawyer, Jim Griffin, recently said, according to the news station.
The morning Maggie and Paul were murdered, Jeanne Seckinger, the CFO of Alex’s former firm, the Parker Law Group, testified at trial she confronted her boss siphoning off funds collected and meant to be paid out to clients, PEOPLE reported.
Seckinger told the court she first noticed money missing in May 2021, a month before the killings.
Alex was ultimately charged with nearly 100 criminal counts for various crimes, including allegedly bilking his former law firm and the clients he served, out of almost $9 million.
His trial on those cases is pending.
“I don’t think I ever really knew him,” Seckinger testified at Alex’s murder trial. “I don’t think anybody knows him.”