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American Jury Convict Attorney Murdeau of Killing His Wife and Son

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On Thursday, a US jury issued a verdict guilty of lawyer Alex Murdaugh, ruling him responsible for the gruesome murder of his wife and son on their hunting farm.

A scion of an elite family of South Carolina judges and lawyers, Murdaugh, 54, is described as killing his son Paul with a hunting rifle and his wife Maggie with an assault rifle that Paul used to hunt wild boar on the family’s sprawling property.

After reading the verdict, which the jury reached after less than three hours of deliberation in a South Carolina court, the defense requested a mistrial, which Judge Clifton Newman quickly denied.

“The evidence of guilt is overwhelming,” Newman said.

Murdo, wearing a jacket and showing little emotion, was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs, wrapping up a complex case that often touched the stranger.

The jury heard how Murdaugh murdered his family members on June 7, 2021, after realizing that his years of stealing millions from his law firm and from clients to feed his hidden opioid addiction was about to go public.

While evidence had placed Murdaugh at the scene shortly before the murders, the weapons were never found, and there was no bloodstained clothing or other direct evidence that could prove he was the killer.

Newman said sentencing will take place on Friday morning, with Murdaugh facing a minimum of 30 years and life in prison for each murder count.

“We can’t bring them back, but we can get them justice,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said of the victims during a news conference following the verdict.

“Today’s ruling proves that no one – no one – no matter who you are in society, is above the law,” he said.

A contaminated crime scene

After a six-week trial, the jury decided that the evidence was strong enough to convict Murdeau of two counts of murder and two counts of firearms.

Murdaugh, who broke down in tears repeatedly over two days of testifying last week, has categorically denied killing Magee, 52, and Paul, 22.

He described the discovery of their bodies in the kennels of sprawling Islandton Island, South Carolina known as Moselle, where Maggie had been shot five times with a shotgun and Paul’s head was ripped off by a shotgun blast.

The defendant admitted that he stole and embezzled, and also lied about his drug addiction, which his lawyers said cost $50,000 a week.

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

His lawyer argued that investigators mutilated crime scenes in the kennels and failed to pursue other potential suspects, including drug suppliers in Mordo and people angry about Paul’s involvement in the death of a teenage girl on a boat in February 2019.

Murdough’s attorney, Jim Griffin, told the jury that it was “illogical, irrational and insane…for someone to kill their loved ones when their criminal behavior is exposed.”

Liar master

Attorney General Creighton Waters argued that Murdaugh was a “master liar” who stole money from a crippled client, from the family of Murdough’s former maid who died in the fall years earlier, and from his law partners.

Waters focused on Murdaugh lying to investigators on the evening of the crime that he had not been in the kennels before he discovered the bodies.

Later, a video is found on Paul’s cell phone showing that Murdaugh was there five minutes before the shooting.

Waters said Paul had recently discovered his father’s drug habit, and on the morning of the murders, Murdaugh faced losing money in his law firm.

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

“He cheated Maggie and Paul too, and they paid with their lives,” he told the jury.

Southern Gothic

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

Added to this is the little-known culture of South Carolina’s “low country”—a poor, swampy region once famous for the slave trade, with its distinctive Southern accents, and where for many generations the Murdaughs have dominated the law as lawyers, prosecutors, and judges.

The court heard details about the life of the gentry in the region, their passion for hunting ducks, deer, and wild boar, and the dozens of weapons that Murdau kept.

Not waiting for a verdict, Netflix and HBO have made inroads with fictional documentaries rushed through the trial.

“Decades of powerful influence over the South Carolina legal system are unraveling amid charges of fraud, deception, and murder,” HBO said in promotional materials.

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