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Alex Murdaugh, Heir to a South Carolina Legal Dynasty, Indicted for the Alleged Murders of His Wife and Son

Alex Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained from the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.

Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained from the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.

Alex Murdaugh, a disgraced South Carolina attorney and heir to a legal dynasty in that state’s Lowcountry region, has been indicted on two counts of murder and two separate weapons possession charges.  The counts are connected to the deaths of his wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and his son Paul Murdaugh, 22, on June 7, 2021, at Murdaugh family property in Colleton County.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel announced the indictments on Thursday morning.

The indictment documents allege that Alex Murdaugh — whose full name is Richard Alexander Murdaugh — killed Maggie with a rifle and killed Paul with a shotgun.

Paul, Maggie, Alex, and Buster Murdaugh appear in an image obtained by NBC's "Today."

Paul, Maggie, Alex, and Buster Murdaugh appear in an image obtained by NBC’s “Today.”

In a statement, Wilson said the investigation remained active; due to the pending court case, he refused to comment in detail.  However, he did offer a few brief thoughts.

“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,” AG Wilson said in a statement. “We want to thank the State Law Enforcement Division, the attorneys and staff in our office, and everyone who worked on this case for their tireless efforts to gather evidence and follow where it led. 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.”

SLED Chief Keel echoed those comments in a similar statement.

“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,” 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.”

Buster, Maggie, Paul, and Alex Murdaugh appear in an image obtained by NBC's "Today."

Buster, Maggie, Paul, and Alex Murdaugh appear in an image obtained by NBC’s “Today.”

Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, Murdaugh’s lawyers, provided this statement in response to the 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.

The Murdaugh family has been in the legal business for decades. As Law&Crime has previously noted, Paul Murdaugh’s grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great grandfather served as elected prosecutors across multiple generations in South Carolina’s Lowcountry region. Alex Murdaugh was himself never elected to the long-held family post, but his onetime biography in private practice said he was “a part-time Prosecutor for the 14th Judicial Circuit.”

Paul Murdaugh appears in a mugshot.

Paul Murdaugh appears in a mugshot.

Paul Murdaugh was facing several criminal charges in connection with a fatal boat crash when he died.  That 2019 crash killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.  Paul Murdaugh had pleaded not guilty.

Alex Murdaugh’s myriad legal woes also involve an allegedly botched civil lawsuit over the death of housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.  Murdaugh is charged separately with obtaining property by false pretenses in a case connected to Satterfield’s death.

He was previously charged in mid-September with filing a false police report of a felony, insurance fraud, and criminal conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection with an alleged plot to have a former client kill him by the side of the road. The former client, Curtis Edward Smith, has denied criminal involvement with the matter.

Months before the roadside incident, Murdaugh said he found his wife Maggie and son Paul shot dead on the family’s property. His attorneys have long said he was a person of interest in those two deaths; Thursday’s indictment levies official charges in those matters.

Read the indictments below.

This report, which began as a breaking news piece, has been updated substantially since its initial publication.

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.