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Alex Murdaugh, Member of Prominent South Carolina Legal Family Rocked by Murder, Has Been Shot in the Head

Alex Murdaugh appears in a WCBD-TV screengrab.

Alex Murdaugh appears in a WCBD-TV screengrab.

Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, a member of a prominent South Carolina legal family which was rocked by double murders this summer, was shot in the head on Saturday.  That’s according to reports from Charleston, S.C. NBC affiliate WCBD-TV which cite the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and subsequent statements from Murdaugh’s attorney and from his family to local news organizations.

Murdaugh, 53, was found alive but wounded in the 15000 block of Salkehatchie Road in Hampton County, S.C., WCBD said.

Jim Griffin, Murdaugh’s lawyer, told local newspaper The Island Packet that Murdaugh was on his way to Charleston on Saturday when he experienced car trouble.  When Murdaugh stopped to assess the situation, a truck passed him, turned around, and headed back for him.  Someone the truck fired at least gunshot and struck Murdaugh in the head, Griffin said.

While WCBD said the injured Murdaugh was taken to Savannah for treatment, the Island Packet said the injured attorney was airlifted to a Charleston hospital.  While there, he was reportedly alert and was able to speak with his family by cell phone.

Griffin told the newspaper he didn’t know how many shots were fired. He said much of the information he received about the incident came from Murdaugh’s brother and law partner Randy Murdaugh.

“The Murdaugh family has suffered through more than any one family could ever imagine,” the family said in a statement to WCBD and to the Island Packet.  “We expect Alex to recover and ask for your privacy while he recovers.”

The Hampton County Sheriff’s Office is reportedly investigating the case along with SLED.  Hampton County Sheriff T. C. Smalls refused to provide details when reached for comment by the local newspaper.  He would only confirm that someone had been shot.

A local reporter who went to the scene was told by fire crews protecting the perimeter of the area that they were called around 1:30 p.m.

The Murdaugh family had been rocked by two previous and prominent killings.  Alex Murdaugh found his son Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his wife Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, both shot dead on the family’s property in Colleton County, S.C., on June 7th.

Paul Murdaugh had previously been charged with three felonies, including boating under the influence resulting in death, over the death of college student Mallory Beach, 19, on Feb. 24, 2019.  Beach died in a boating crash involving a vessel owned by Paul’s father, the now-injured Alex Murdaugh.  Paul Murdaugh “was one of six underage people on board a 17-foot, Sea Hunt center-console boat” when it struck a bridge, the Bluffton, S.C. newspaper Bluffton Today reported.  Police said the boaters were “grossly intoxicated,” the newspaper noted.

It took seven days for authorities to find Beach’s body.

Paul Murdaugh pleaded not guilty.  His death ended the cases against him before they were brought to trial.  Beach’s family offered condolences to the Murdaughs despite the criminal case against Paul Murdaugh and ongoing civil litigation between the families.

An attorney for Beach’s family directly alleged special treatment for the now-dead Paul Murdaugh.  And the Murdaugh family reported receiving threats because of the way various officials were allegedly handling the case that had been stacking up against Paul.

Alex Murdaugh’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all served as solicitors (prosecutors) in the state’s 14th circuit.  A Murdaugh family member held that elected position for 87 consecutive years — longer than any one family has held any one position in American history, the local newspaper calculated.  Observers have referred to the family as a legal dynasty.

Alex Murdaugh was himself never elected to the office long held by his forefathers, but his biography notes that he was working as “a part-time Prosecutor for the 14th Judicial Circuit” while also engaged in the private practice of law alongside several relatives.

The current 14th Circuit Solicitor, Duffie Stone, recused himself from the cases involving Paul and Maggie’s deaths just recently.  He told local television station WSAV-TV that his relationships with various members of the Murdaugh family resulted in his decision to let someone else oversee the matters.

[image via screengrab from WCBD-TV]

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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.