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US lawyer found guilty of murdering family in drama that captivates nation



US lawyer found guilty of murdering family in drama that captivates nation

Netflix and HBO have already made shows about the murders. (file)


A US jury found prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdoff guilty of murdering his wife and son on his hunting property on Thursday, drawing world attention.

The scion of an elite South Carolina family of judges and attorneys, Murdaugh, 54, was determined to kill his son Paul with a shotgun and his wife Maggie with an assault rifle used to hunt wild boar on the family’s sprawling property. was taken for

“The evidence of guilt is overwhelming,” Judge Clifton Newman said after reading the verdict, which the jury reached within three hours.

Murdo, dressed in a blazer and white button-up shirt, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, concluding a complicated case that often touched on the bizarre.

The jury learned how Murdaugh murdered his family members on June 7, 2021, after realizing he stole millions from his law firm and soliciting clients to publicize his hidden opioid addiction. Was.

While evidence had been found of Murdo shortly before the murders, the guns were never found, and there were no bloodstained clothing or other direct evidence that could prove he was the killer.

According to Newman, he faces a minimum sentence of 30 years and a maximum life sentence for each murder count.

tainted crime scene

After a six-week trial in Walterboro, South Carolina, the jury determined that the evidence was strong enough to convict Murdo on two counts of murder and two counts of firearms offences.

Murdaugh, who repeatedly broke down in tears over two days of testimony last week, flatly denied killing Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22.

He described the discovery of their bodies in the doghouse on his hunting property, with Maggie having been shot five times with a rifle and Paul’s head blown off by a shotgun blast.

He admitted that he had stolen and embezzled and lied about his drug habit, which his lawyers said cost him $50,000 a week.

But he said he would never lie about killing his family.

His lawyer argued that investigators blackmailed the crime scene in the kennels and failed to pursue other potential suspects, including Murdoff’s drug supplier and people angered by Paul’s involvement in the boating of a teenage girl in February 2019 .

Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, told the jury, “It is completely illogical, irrational and insane … for someone to kill their loved ones when their criminal conduct is being exposed.”

‘master liar’

Prosecutor Creighton Waters argued that Murdo was “a master liar” who stole money from a crippled client, from the family of a former Murdo maid who had died in a fall years earlier, and from his legal associates.

Waters focused on Murdo lying to investigators on the evening of the crime that he had not been at the kennel prior to the discovery of the bodies.

A video was later found on Paul’s cellphone that showed the dead were there five minutes before the shooting.

Waters said that Paul had recently discovered his father’s drug habit, and had confronted Murdoff about missing money at their law partnership on the morning of the murders.

Waters said, “Everyone who thought they knew who he was had them fooled.”

“They fooled Maggie and Paul as well, and they paid with their lives,” he told the jury.

Southern Gothic

The twists and turns of the family story – the death of the maid, the death of another young man near the Murdoff property, and even Alex Murdoff hiring his own drug dealer to kill him in an insurance scam – has captivated the American public.

Adding to the little-known culture of the South Carolina “Lowcountry” – the poor, swampy region that was once known for its slave trade, with its distinctive clipped Southern accent and where Murdo’s family for generations practiced law as lawyers, prosecutors and attorneys But dominated judges.

The court heard at length about the life of the landowners in the area, their passion for hunting ducks, deer and wild hogs, and the dozens of guns kept near the mortuary.

Not waiting for a verdict, Netflix and HBO scored hits with fictional documentaries during the trial.

“Decades of powerful influence over the legal system in South Carolina’s low country are revealed amid allegations of fraud, deception and murder,” HBO said in promotional material.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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