Alex Murdaugh charged with murders of wife, son; Attorneys release statement
WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - The Colleton County Grand Jury handed down indictments Thursday morning against former attorney Alex Murdaugh in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of his wife and son.
Murdaugh faces two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Maggie Murdaugh, 52; and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were shot to death at the family’s hunting property in Islandton, a rural part of Colleton County. Murdaugh told investigators he went to the property after visiting with his ailing father and discovered the two bodies.
Court documents released Thursday morning allege that Alex Murdaugh shot his wife with a rifle and shot his son with a shotgun. The documents provide no other new details.
Murdaugh’s attorneys, Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian, released the following statement on the new charges:
Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul. He loved them more than anything in the world.
It was very clear from day one that law enforcement and the Attorney General prematurely concluded that Alex was responsible for the murder of his wife and son. But we know that Alex did not have any motive whatsoever to murder them. We are immediately filing a motion for a speedy trial, we are requesting that the Attorney General turn over all evidence within 30 days as required by law and we demand to have a trial within 60 days of receiving that evidence.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson thanked SLED, the attorneys and staff in his office and everyone who worked on the case for their “tireless efforts to gather evidence and follow where it led.”
“All the efforts of our office and the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation have been focused on seeking justice for the victims’ families,” Attorney General Alan Wilson said. “We also want to thank the Colleton County Grand Jury for listening to that evidence and for their service to the people of the state.”
Wilson said he could not comment on specifics in the case because of the active investigation.
“Over the last 13 months, SLED agents and our partners have worked day in and day out to build a case against the person responsible for the murders of Maggie and Paul and to exclude those who were not,” SLED Chief Mark Keel said. “At no point did agents lose focus on this investigation. From the beginning I have been clear, the priority was to ensure justice was served. Today is one more step in a long process for justice for Maggie and Paul.”
Thursday morning’s meeting of the grand jury was the first since Murdaugh’s attorney, Jim Griffin, said the State Law Enforcement Division notified Murdaugh’s family they were seeking indictments against Murdaugh.
Griffin said on Tuesday he had not been personally informed about the charges by either SLED or the attorney general’s office. Under South Carolina’s Crime Victims’ Constitutional Rights the family was notified before the grand jury was contacted to seek the indictment.
SPECIAL SECTION: The Murdaugh Cases
But Griffin said that if murder charges were filed, they would seek a bond hearing to have the facts on the record of the evidence against their client and declined to comment further.
Maggie and Paul Murdaugh died from “multiple gunshot wounds” near the dog kennels at the family’s Islandton property.
Since the investigation into the killings began, a state grand jury has handed down 16 indictments against him totaling 81 charges. He is accused of schemes to defraud victims of nearly $8.5 million.
A county grand jury also indicted Murdaugh on three counts in a Labor Day weekend shooting incident that investigators called an insurance fraud scheme.
Murdaugh’s bond hearing for the murder charges is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. It will be held at the Colleton County Courthouse before Judge Clifton Newman.
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