Cover-up was motive in Alex Murdaugh’s murder

Alex Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained by the Orange County, Florida Department of Justice.

Alex Murdaugh appears in a mugshot dated October 14, 2021.

A disgraced and disfellowshipped former attorney who previously worked for the same Office of the Prosecutor that his great-grandfather, grandfather and father were responsible for nearly a century consecutively killing his wife and youngest son because of rapidly approaching “personal, legal and financial ruin,” South Carolina authorities said Thursday.

RichardAlex” Murdaugh54, was about to lose it all, and everyone should find out, according to a motive theory filed Dec. 8, 2022 by the South Carolina Attorney’s Office.

“The jury needs to understand the difference between who Alex Murdaugh appeared to be on the outside – a successful lawyer and scion of the region’s most prominent family – and who he was in real life, only he knew him fully – allegedly a fraudulent lawyer and drug user who borrowed and stole everything he could to stay afloat and stay ahead of detection,” said the prosecutor for the grand jury section Creighton Waters wrote. “Evidence of Alex Murdaugh’s uninterrupted streak of embezzlement, lies, loans, debt and theft is necessary to explain that distinction to a jury. Only then can a jury understand that the clouds from the defendant’s past were gathering in a perfect storm that would reveal the real Alex Murdaugh to the world – and which would mean that he would have to truly take responsibility for his life.”

At the heart of the prosecution’s thesis is an alleged decade of financial crime. In addition to two counts of first-degree murder and related gun charges, Murdaugh is also accused of numerous financial crimes, including insurance fraud, property fraud, money laundering and computer fraud. Prosecutors also allege he stole millions from a fund that should have gone to the family of his late former housekeeper, who died on his family’s estate. The former trial attorney’s defendant is also being sued by his former law firm in a civil court for allegedly stealing untold sums of client funds.

Submission received through mail and courier Details of the alleged plans:

    1. “Billing personal expenses with his clients through his law firm’s credit cards or accounts.
    2. He stole directly from his relatives and the Hampton law firm his great-grandfather founded in 1910. This included a case where Murdaugh accepted a six-figure loan repayment that the company wanted to send to his older brother, Randy.
    3. He secretly steals money from his own clients’ legal settlements by getting his firm – Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick – to write payout checks to the local Palmetto State Bank and then an accomplice there, ex-bank CEO Russell Laffitte , has these checks converted for Murdaugh’s personal use.
    4. Stealing client funds through a fraudulent personal bank account created by Murdaugh in 2015 and disguised as a financial company.”

Those mountains of alleged financial irregularities — including a fraud allegation related to his headshot in early September 2021 — are likely to be a bone of contention in upcoming hearings. The state would like to use this evidence against Murdaugh – and said so in its motion. His defense will likely disagree.

The injury from that headshot incident was mostly fleeting, and prosecutors believe he paid a man to kill him so his surviving son would receive a $10 million life insurance payout. Murdaugh and the man accused of pulling the trigger, former client, Curtis Edward Smithboth have denied that such a system existed.

In the mid-summer months prior to this roadside shooting, Murdaugh claimed to have found his wife Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh52, and son Paul Murdaugh22, shot on the family property, a palatial, 1,770-acre hunting lodge that locals refer to as the “Moselle.”

Media attention has focused both on the circumstances surrounding the murders and on the family’s considerable wealth and political power, amassed through more than a century of legal practice – even before Murdaugh’s grandfather served as attorney for the 14th Circuit, Murdaugh’s grandfather founded 1910 a law firm in Hampton, SC bore his family’s name until recently.

The flood of national press has unearthed a tragic, hitherto local story.

In February 2019, a 19-year-old died in a boating accident Mallory Beach. Murdaugh’s now-deceased son, who is said to have used his older brother’s ID to purchase alcohol, is believed to have been driving the ship while intoxicated. He was faced with three criminal charges from this incident. The Beach case was haunted by a narrative that somehow the family had used their long-accumulated power, generosity and influence to shape the contours of the initial law enforcement investigation.

The public prosecutor’s office pointed this out in its application on Thursday. That’s because Murdaugh himself allegedly spoke to police within 30 seconds of the day his wife and son were killed.

According to the filing, Murdaugh “suggested to law enforcement that the killer’s motive stemmed from the February 2019 boating accident that resulted in the tragic death of Mallory Beach,” and “expressed assurance and stated that he knew” that the fatal crash was the killer’s motive murderer.

“Based on the evidence uncovered during the investigation into the murders, Murdaugh was the only person with a true motive to kill his wife and son,” authorities wrote.

A hearing is currently scheduled for December 9, 2022, this Friday.

“This case is unique in South Carolina history for many reasons,” Waters wrote in the filing. “One of them is that the exposure of what happened to Maggie and Paul necessarily has its roots in a corruption that began years ago and lasted until May 7 [2021] was the result. The evidence should be admitted so that the jury can properly assess why a man might murder his wife and son.”

[image via Florida Department of Corrections]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] Cover-up was motive in Alex Murdaugh’s murder

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