Alex Murdaugh trial - live: Murder suspect weeps in court as lawyer insists he didn’t kill wife and son

Alex Murdaugh trial - live: Murder suspect weeps in court as lawyer insists he didn’t kill wife and son

Opening arguments in the Alex Murdaugh murder trial have described in gruesome detail the fatal gunshot injuries suffered by the South Carolina legal scion’s wife and son.

Mr Murdaugh, 54, wept while listening to defence attorney Dick Harpootlian describe how his son Paul’s head “exploded like a watermelon” after being hit by a pair of buckshot blasts from a shotgun.

His wife Maggie was shot by an AR-style rifle while attempting to run away at their rural Colleton County property in June 2021, and finished off with a shot to the head from close range, Mr Harpootlian said.

Mr Harpootlian questioned how Alex could have committed both murders in quick succession with different firearms.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters told the court that a Snapchat video sent from Paul’s phone minutes before the murders took place would prove that Alex was present — something he has always denied.

“The key piece of forensic evidence in this case is the cellphones,” Mr Waters said.

Mr Murdaugh has been charged separately with fraud and money laundering charges stemming from his years as a powerful attorney in South Carolina’s Lowcountry.

His surviving son Buster was in court to hear the opening arguments.

Alex Murdaugh murder trial

  • Alex’s son Buster Murdaugh arrives at court

  • ‘Big question: one shooter or two?’

  • Snapchat video captured Alex Murdaugh’s voice at crime scene

  • DNA and gunshot residue links Alex Murdaugh to murders

Court to resume Thursday morning with first witness called

10:30 , Rachel Sharp

The first witness in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial will take the stand today after jurors heard gruesome details about the victim’s brutal injuries in opening statements.

The high-profile trial will resume in Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, at 9.30am on Thursday morning.

Prosecutors are expected to play a 45-minute bodycam video from a police officer who responded to the grisly murder scene on 7 June 2021.

The footage is expected to be played in its entirety.

During opening statements on Wednesday, prosecutors told jurors that a Snapchat video on Paul’s phone, cellphone data and other footage would be “critical” evidence in the case.

When mentioning the bodycam footage, the prosecutor urged jurors to watch Mr Murdaugh’s “expressions” and behaviour in the aftermath of his wife and son’s deaths.

Buster Murdaugh was in court for father’s murder trial

10:00 , Bevan Hurley

Alex Murdaugh’s eldest son Buster Murdaugh arrived at the Colleton County Court shorty before opening arguments began.

He arrived Alex Murdaugh’s brother John Marvin Murdaugh, and sister-n-law Liz.

All three are on a list of potential defense witnesses.

Buster Murdaugh has largely kept out of the public eye since his brother and mother were murdered in June 2021.

Buster Murdaugh, left, and John Marvin Murdaugh, right, arrived at court for the start of Alex Murdaugh’s trial. (Anne Emerson / ABC News 4)
Buster Murdaugh, left, and John Marvin Murdaugh, right, arrived at court for the start of Alex Murdaugh’s trial. (Anne Emerson / ABC News 4)

Killer would have been covered in blood

09:00 , Bevan Hurley

During opening arguments, defence lawyer Dick Harpootlian said that whoever pulled the trigger would have been covered in brain tissue and blood.

He said this proved that Alex Murdaugh couldn’t have killed them, as he didn’t have any blood on him when the police arrived at the scene.

Mr Harpootlian was warned the jury to be ready to see gruesome images from the crime scene.

He later said that there was no DNA evidence linking Mr Murdaugh to the crimes.

Mr Harpootlian also raised what will be a theme for the trial: how could one shooter have killed Paul and Maggie in quick succession with two different guns?

Paul was killed with a pair of shotgun blasts, while Maggie was murdered with an AR-style automatic weapon.

“Big question: one shooter or two?” Mr Harpootlian told jurors.

“Much more likely that there were two people, but again, we don’t have to prove any of that.”

Prosecutors said they believed the murder weapon was one of Paul’s AR-style Blackout weapon that had gone missing in 2018.

Mr Harpootlian described Paul as being “very irresponsible with guns and cars”.

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian, left, and prosecutor Creighton Waters speak as they finish jury selection for Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C. (AP)
Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian, left, and prosecutor Creighton Waters speak as they finish jury selection for Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C. (AP)

Prosecutors paint grisly portrait of Alex Murdaugh killing wife and son as key Snapchat video revealed

08:00 , Bevan Hurley

Prosecutors have described how disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh allegedly murdered his defenceless wife and son at the family’s hunting lodge in 2021.

Mr Murdaugh is accused of brutally killing his wife Margaret, known as Maggie, and his youngest son, 22-year-old son Paul, outside kennels on the estate on 7 June 2021.

Prosecutors told the opening of his trial on Wednesday that Mr Murdaugh had first shot his son with a shotgun, and then killed his wife with an AR-style rifle.

And he told them that they would be deliberating over “a big case, a very complex case” and urged them to rely “on good old fashioned common sense.”

Prosecutors paint grisly portrait of Alex Murdaugh killing wife and son

Mysterious death of Murdaugh housekeeper

07:00 , Bevan Hurley

On his release from rehab a month after the botched assassination attempt, Mr Murdaugh was dramatically arrested on charges of stealing funds from the wrongful death settlement over the mysterious trip and fall death of the family’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield in 2018.

Satterfield worked for the influential Murdaugh family for more than 20 years when she was found at the bottom of some stairs at the family’s home. She died weeks later from her injuries.

At the time, her death was regarded as an accidental fall – though her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural”.

Mr Murdaugh reached an agreement to pay her family $4m in a wrongful death settlement – but they never received a dime of the money. He is accused of siphoning off $3.4m of settlement meant for Satterfield’s sons to a fake company called Forge.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the story.

Murders, fraud, and a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

A botched hitman plot

06:00 , Bevan Hurley

Three months after Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered, Mr Murdaugh was shot on the side of a road in Hampton County.

He survived and called 911, claiming he was ambushed in a drive-by shooting while he was changing a tire on his vehicle.

He was treated at a hospital for what police called a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” but his story quickly unravelled.

One day after the shooting, Mr Murdaugh entered rehab for a 20-year opioid addiction and announced he had resigned from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick (PMPED).

Just one day before the shooting, Mr Murdaugh’s law firm partners accused him of stealing millions of dollars from its clients going back years and had confronted him about the allegations. They ousted him from the firm that day.

Mr Murdaugh’s version of events rapidly fell apart and, on 13 September, he confessed to police to paying an alleged hitman to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.

Rachel Sharp has the full story.

Murders, fraud, and a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

05:00 , Bevan Hurley

On the surface, Alex Murdaugh had it all.

He was a high-powered attorney who ran both his own law firm and worked in the local prosecutor’s office.

He was the son of a powerful legal dynasty that dominated a local South Carolina community for almost a century.

And he was a family man with a wife and two adult sons living on a vast country estate.

But over the last 13 months, Murdaugh has had a spectacular fall from grace, culminating in him now being charged with the savage double murder of his wife and son.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has more.

Murders, fraud, and a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

‘He was the storm’

04:00 , Bevan Hurley

In a rousing conclusion to his opening remarks, prosecutor Creighton Waters tells the jury that it’s going to be a long, complicated trial.

“It’s a journey. There’s a lot of aspects to this case. But when you start to put them all together, it’s like a puzzle, it all fits together.”

Mr Waters then described Alex Murdaugh as a “storm that was coming for” his family.

“The storm arrived on 7th June 2021, just like the storms that are heading our way now.”

Cell phone evidence puts Alex Murdaugh at crime scene

03:00 , Bevan Hurley

During opening arguments on Wednesday afternoon, South Carolina State Attorney General Creighton Waters told the jury that cell phone data will prove that Alex Murdaugh was at the family’s sprawling hunting farm in Colleton County on 7 June 2021, the night Paul and Maggie died.

“The evidence will show that Alex Murdaugh told anyone who would listen that he was never at those kennels but the evidence is also going to show that he was there.

“He was there just minutes before with Maggie and Paul before their cellphone went silent... despite what he told people, their cell phones will tell us otherwise.”

Mr Waters says gunshot residue found on Alex Murdaugh’s clothes and seatbelt linked him to the crime scene on Moselle Rd.

DNA would also link him to the scene, but they key piece of evidence was cellphone data.

“The key piece of forensic evidence in this case is the cellphones. Alex’s cellphone, Maggies’ cellphone, Paul’s cellphone,” Mr Waters said.

“They were prolific cellphone users, particularly Paul.”

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian, left, and prosecutor Creighton Waters at the Colleton County Courthouse on Wednesday. (AP)
Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian, left, and prosecutor Creighton Waters at the Colleton County Courthouse on Wednesday. (AP)

Buster Murdaugh was in court for father’s murder trial

02:00 , Bevan Hurley

Alex Murdaugh’s eldest son Buster Murdaugh arrived at the Colleton County Court shorty before opening arguments began.

He arrived Alex Murdaugh’s brother John Marvin Murdaugh, and sister-n-law Liz.

All three are on a list of potential defense witnesses.

Buster Murdaugh has largely kept out of the public eye since his brother and mother were murdered in June 2021.

Buster Murdaugh, left, and John Marvin Murdaugh, right, arrived at court for the start of Alex Murdaugh’s trial. (Anne Emerson / ABC News 4)
Buster Murdaugh, left, and John Marvin Murdaugh, right, arrived at court for the start of Alex Murdaugh’s trial. (Anne Emerson / ABC News 4)

Prosecutors paint grisly portrait of Alex Murdaugh killing wife and son as key Snapchat video revealed

00:45 , Bevan Hurley

Prosecutors have described how disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh allegedly murdered his defenceless wife and son at the family’s hunting lodge in 2021.

Mr Murdaugh is accused of brutally killing his wife Margaret, known as Maggie, and his youngest son, 22-year-old son Paul, outside kennels on the estate on 7 June 2021.

Prosecutors told the opening of his trial on Wednesday that Mr Murdaugh had first shot his son with a shotgun, and then killed his wife with an AR-style rifle.

And he told them that they would be deliberating over “a big case, a very complex case” and urged them to rely “on good old fashioned common sense.”

Prosecutors paint grisly portrait of Alex Murdaugh killing wife and son

Murdaugh breaks down as lawyer describes murders

00:42 , Phil Thomas

Alex Murdaugh broke down in court as his defence lawyer described the murders his client is accused of.

Dick Harpootlian graphically described the killings for the jury, which caused Mr Murdaugh to grow emotional as the lawyer said his son’s head had exploded “like a watermelon hit with a sledgehammer.”

“Horrendous, horrible, butchering. To find Alex Murdaugh guilty of murdering his son you are going to have to accept that within an hour of having an extraordinary bonding with him that he executes him in a brutal fashion ... not believable.”

Mr Harpootlian also said the case against his client involved “theories” and “conjecture” and suggested two killers may have been responsible.

Graeme Massie has the full story:

Alex Murdaugh breaks down as lawyer describes brutal ‘butchering’ of wife and son

Mysterious death of Murdaugh housekeeper

Wednesday 25 January 2023 23:45 , Bevan Hurley

On his release from rehab a month after the botched assassination attempt, Mr Murdaugh was dramatically arrested on charges of stealing funds from the wrongful death settlement over the mysterious trip and fall death of the family’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield in 2018.

Satterfield worked for the influential Murdaugh family for more than 20 years when she was found at the bottom of some stairs at the family’s home. She died weeks later from her injuries.

At the time, her death was regarded as an accidental fall – though her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural”.

Mr Murdaugh reached an agreement to pay her family $4m in a wrongful death settlement – but they never received a dime of the money. He is accused of siphoning off $3.4m of settlement meant for Satterfield’s sons to a fake company called Forge.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the story.

Murders, fraud, and a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

A botched hitman plot

Wednesday 25 January 2023 22:45 , Bevan Hurley

Three months after Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered, Mr Murdaugh was shot on the side of a road in Hampton County.

He survived and called 911, claiming he was ambushed in a drive-by shooting while he was changing a tire on his vehicle.

He was treated at a hospital for what police called a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” but his story quickly unravelled.

One day after the shooting, Mr Murdaugh entered rehab for a 20-year opioid addiction and announced he had resigned from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick (PMPED).

Just one day before the shooting, Mr Murdaugh’s law firm partners accused him of stealing millions of dollars from its clients going back years and had confronted him about the allegations. They ousted him from the firm that day.

Mr Murdaugh’s version of events rapidly fell apart and, on 13 September, he confessed to police to paying an alleged hitman to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.

Rachel Sharp has the full story.

Murders, fraud, and a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Wednesday 25 January 2023 22:13 , Bevan Hurley

On the surface, Alex Murdaugh had it all.

He was a high-powered attorney who ran both his own law firm and worked in the local prosecutor’s office.

He was the son of a powerful legal dynasty that dominated a local South Carolina community for almost a century.

And he was a family man with a wife and two adult sons living on a vast country estate.

But over the last 13 months, Murdaugh has had a spectacular fall from grace, culminating in him now being charged with the savage double murder of his wife and son.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has more.

Murders, fraud, and a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Judge is going to excuse the jury for the day

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:40 , Bevan Hurley

After a brief discussion about calling a first witness this afternoon, the judge is now going to excuse the jury for the day.

The trial will resume at 9.30am on Thursday, barring any further technical issues in court.

Judge is sending the jury on a break

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:37 , Bevan Hurley

After an hour of opening arguments, that veered into some very graphic evidence of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh’s injuries, the judge has sent the jury out on a break.

The attorneys are now discussing potential witnesses for this afternoon.

No forensics linking Alex Murdaugh to the crimes

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:34 , Bevan Hurley

Mr Harpootlian says there is no forensics evidence linking Alex Murdaugh to the murders.

He said the cellphone data was not nearly as conclusive as the prosecutors made out.

‘Big question: one shooter or two?’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:30 , Bevan Hurley

The defense has raised what will be a theme for the trial: how could one shooter have killed Paul and Maggie in quick succession with two different guns?

Paul was killed with a pair of shotgun blasts, while Maggie was murdered with an AR-style automatic weapon.

“Big question: one shooter or two?” Mr Harpootlian told jurors.

“Much more likely that there were two people, but again, we don’t have to prove any of that.”

Prosecutors said they believed the murder weapon was one of Paul’s AR-style Blackout weapon that had gone missing in 2018.

Mr Harpootlian described Paul as being “very irresponsible with guns and cars”.

Killer would have been covered in blood

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:23 , Bevan Hurley

Defence lawyer Dick Harpootlian says that whoever pulled the trigger would have been covered in brain tissue and blood.

He said this proved that Alex Murdaugh couldn’t have killed them, as he didn’t have any blood on him when the police showed up.

Mr Harpootlian was warned the jury to be ready to see gruesome images from the crime scene.

He later said that there was no DNA evidence linking Mr Murdaugh to the crimes.

Prosecutors paint grisly portrait of Alex Murdaugh killing wife and son

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:22 , Bevan Hurley

Prosecutors have described how disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh allegedly murdered his defenceless wife and son at the family’s hunting lodge in 2021.

The Independent’s Graeme Massie has the story from the opening arguments.

Prosecutors paint grisly portrait of Alex Murdaugh killing wife and son

Paul Murdaugh’s head exploded ‘like a watermelon’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:17 , Bevan Hurley

The defence has just outlaid in extremely graphic terms the physical injuries sustained by Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.

Paul Murdaugh’s head exploded “like a watermelon” after being shot at close range with from a shotgun, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian tells the jury.

“His brain exploded out of his head, hit the ceiling in the shed, and he dropped to his feet. Horrendous, horrible, butchery.”

Maggie was shot dead while trying to run away, with the killer delivering a point blank shot to the back of the head, Mr Harpootlian said.

Mr Harpootlian said Alex came home to find Paul laying with his brains by his feet.

He warns the jury they will have to see the gruesome images from the crime scene.

He wants them to visit the Murdaugh’s property.

‘He was the storm'

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:10 , Bevan Hurley

In a rousing conclusion to the prosecutor’s opening remarks, Attorney General Waters tells the jury that it’s going to be a long, complicated trial.

“It’s a journey. There’s a lot of aspects to this case. But when you start to put them all together, it’s like a puzzle, it all fits together.”

Mr Waters then said that Alex Murdaugh “was the storm the storm was coming for them, the storm arrived on 7th June 2021, just like the storms that are heading our way now.”

Snapchat video captured Alex Murdaugh’s voice at crime scene

Wednesday 25 January 2023 21:03 , Bevan Hurley

A Snapchat message sent by Paul Murdaugh to his friends allegedly captured his father Alex Murdaugh’s voice, prosecutors say.

Creighton Waters said a short clip recorded at the kennels in the minutes before Paul and Maggie were killed proves he was at the crime scene.

Mr Waters earlier said that the family member’s cellphones would provide key evidence in the trial.

Watch live: Alex Murdaugh opening arguments

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:58 , Bevan Hurley

Opening statements begin for the trial of Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer accused of killing his wife and youngest son in June 2021. Watch here.

Live: Alex Murdaugh stands trial for murder of wife and son

Prosecutors describe Murdaugh properties

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:57 , Bevan Hurley

The prosecutor is now describing the Murdaugh’s properties.

There’s the main property in Moselle Rd, Colleton County, where Maggie and Paul were killed.

It’s a 1,772 acre hunting farm, with a several dwellings, and a former air strip that is now a driveway.

The property also has dog kennels, where Maggie and Paul’s bodies were found.

DNA and gunshot residue links Alex Murdaugh to murders

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:53 , Bevan Hurley

Mr Waters says gunshot residue found on Alex Murdaugh’s clothes and seatbelt linked him to the crime scene on Moselle Rd.

DNA would also link him to the scene, but they key piece of evidence was cellphone data.

“The key piece of forensic evidence in this case is the cellphones. Alex’s cellphone, Maggies’ cellphone, Paul’s cellphone,” Mr Waters said.

“They were prolific cellphone users, particularly Paul.”

Prosecutor says AR-style rifle used in murder went missing years earlier

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:50 , Bevan Hurley

Prosecutor Creighton Waters says that an AR-style Blackout rifle that belonged to Paul Murdaugh went missing in 2018.

He said this was the gun that Alex Murdaugh used to kill his wife Maggie. He allegedly used a shotgun to kill his son.

Cell phone evidence puts Alex Murdaugh at crime scene

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:45 , Bevan Hurley

Mr Waters tells the jury that cell phone data will prove that Alex Murdaugh was at the family’s sprawling hunting farm in Colleton County on 7 June 2021, the night Paul and Maggie died.

“The evidence will show that Alex Murdaugh told anyone who would listen that he was never at those kennels but the evidence is also going to show that he was there.

“He was there just minutes before with Maggie and Paul before their cellphone went silent... despite what he told people, their cell phones will tell us otherwise.”

'Catastrophic damage to his brain’

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:38 , Bevan Hurley

Prosecutor Creighton Waters begins by telling the jury that the evidence is going to show that Alex Murdaugh alone shot his son Paul and wife Maggie.

Mr Waters said Mr Murdaugh shot his son Paul with a rifle, causing “catastrophic damage to his brain”.

He then picked up an AR-style rifle and opened fire on his wife Maggie just feet away.

“Pow pow, two shots to the abdomen and the leg and took her down,” Mr Waters said.

“They didn’t see a threat coming from their attacker. They were shot at close range and they did not have defensive wounds.”

Alex Murdaugh (via REUTERS)
Alex Murdaugh (via REUTERS)

Judge is addressing the jury

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:32 , Bevan Hurley

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman has begun addressing the jury on the trial process, the meaning of beyond reasonable doubt, and on the importance of not discussing the case with anyone outside of the courtroom.

This is all standard procedure ahead of the opening arguments, which should get underway shortly.

Logistical issues delay start of Murdaugh trial

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:27 , Bevan Hurley

According to Fits News, opening arguments in the Alex Murdaugh murder trial have been delayed while court staff deal with technical issues.

“Court staff are dealing with some logistical issues inside the courtroom as equipment is being adjusted to ensure that defense attorneys - and Alex Murdaugh - can have a line of sight to all twelve members of the jury,” Fits News tweeted.

Buster Murdaugh is on a list of potential defense witnesses

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:16 , Bevan Hurley

Alex Murdaugh’s son Buster Murdaugh, brother John Marvin Murdaugh, and sister-n-law Liz walked into court a few minutes ago.

All three are on a list of potential defense witnesses.

Buster Murdaugh has largely kept out of the public eye since his brother and mother were murdered in June 2021.

Buster Murdaugh, left, and John Marvin Murdaugh, right, arrived at court for the start of Alex Murdaugh’s trial. (Anne Emerson / ABC News 4)
Buster Murdaugh, left, and John Marvin Murdaugh, right, arrived at court for the start of Alex Murdaugh’s trial. (Anne Emerson / ABC News 4)

Alex Murdaugh’s son Buster has arrived at court

Wednesday 25 January 2023 20:02 , Bevan Hurley

Buster Murdaugh, Alex’s sole surviving son, has just arrived at the Colleton County Court.

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Jury selected, opening arguments to begin at 3pm

Wednesday 25 January 2023 19:43 , Bevan Hurley

Opening arguments are due to begin in just under 20 minutes.

Appearing for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is likely to be lead prosecutor Creighton Waters.

Representing Alex Murdaugh for the defence are high-profile trial lawyer and South Carolina State Senator Dick Harpootlian and former assistant US attorney Jim Griffin.

Alex Murdaugh sat next to his legal team.
Alex Murdaugh sat next to his legal team.

Judge to decide how much of Murdaugh’s other offending is admissible

Wednesday 25 January 2023 19:00 , Bevan Hurley

A judge will decide on a case-by-case basis how much the jury will learn about Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes.

Prosecutors had sought to present “voluminous evidence of Murdaugh’s bad behaviour and the numerous crimes”, the Associated Press reports.

They argue that Mr Murdaugh killed his wife and son to prevent his other crimes from being uncovered.

The AP reports that Circuit Judge Clifton Newman told the attorneys Tuesday that he will make a ruling on what to include as it arises and outside the jury’s presence.

Alex Murdaugh and his legal team in court this week
Alex Murdaugh and his legal team in court this week

Mysterious death of Murdaugh housekeeper

Wednesday 25 January 2023 18:40 , Bevan Hurley

On his release from rehab a month after the botched assassination attempt, Mr Murdaugh was dramatically arrested on charges of stealing funds from the wrongful death settlement over the mysterious trip and fall death of the family’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield in 2018.

Satterfield worked for the influential Murdaugh family for more than 20 years when she was found at the bottom of some stairs at the family’s home. She died weeks later from her injuries.

At the time, her death was regarded as an accidental fall – though her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural”.

Mr Murdaugh reached an agreement to pay her family $4m in a wrongful death settlement – but they never received a dime of the money. He is accused of siphoning off $3.4m of settlement meant for Satterfield’s sons to a fake company called Forge.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the story.

Murders, fraud, a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Opening statements set to begin at 3pm

Wednesday 25 January 2023 18:28 , Megan Sheets

Opening statements will soon begin now that the final jury of 12 and six alternates have been seated.

The prosecution will go first, kicking off at 3pm.

A botched hitman plot

Wednesday 25 January 2023 18:20 , Bevan Hurley

Three months after Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered, Mr Murdaugh was shot on the side of a road in Hampton County.

He survived and called 911, claiming he was ambushed in a drive-by shooting while he was changing a tire on his vehicle.

He was treated at a hospital for what police called a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” but his story quickly unravelled.

One day after the shooting, Mr Murdaugh entered rehab for a 20-year opioid addiction and announced he had resigned from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick (PMPED).

Just one day before the shooting, Mr Murdaugh’s law firm partners accused him of stealing millions of dollars from its clients going back years and had confronted him about the allegations. They ousted him from the firm that day.

Mr Murdaugh’s version of events rapidly fell apart and, on 13 September, he confessed to police to paying an alleged hitman to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.

Rachel Sharp has the full story.

Murders, fraud, a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Final jury selected

Wednesday 25 January 2023 18:15 , Megan Sheets

Jury selection has now concluded.

Twelve jurors have been seated, along with six alternates.

Opening arguments are expected to follow.

Horror injuries of Alex Murdaugh’s son revealed

Wednesday 25 January 2023 18:00 , Bevan Hurley

Details recently emerged about the fatal injuries sustained by Paul Murdaugh, the murdered son of disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh.

Paul Murdaugh was discovered face down shot twice with a shotgun, not the firearm used to kill his mother, the report said.

Initially shot in the chest “from several feet away,” he was still standing and moving towards a door when he was shot in the neck and shoulder. That shot blew his brain out.

“Brain was severed and exited through the anatomical right side of (his) head. … Brain was completely detached from (his) head,” Chief Kenneth Kinsey, an expert at the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office wrote.

Horror injuries of Alex Murdaugh’s son revealed

Jury selection in Alex Murdaugh murder trial began on Monday

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:45 , Bevan Hurley

Jeffrey Collins, who covers South Carolina for the Associated Press, explains that 900 potential jurors were sent summons for the case.

Over three days of jury selection, a pool of more than 120 potential jurors were slowly whittled down.

From there, 80 were brought to court Wednesday morning to select the final panel of 12, plus six alternates.

The area where Alex Murdaugh is standing trial is sometimes known as Murdaugh Country, such is the prominence of their legal dynasty.

Alex Murdaugh smiles in court earlier this week
Alex Murdaugh smiles in court earlier this week

Alex Murdaugh’s son Paul sent Snapchat video to friends on the night he was murdered

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:30 , Bevan Hurley

In pre-trial motions filed with the court, prosecutors revealed that Paul Murdaugh had sent a Snapchat video to a couple of friends just a few minutes before he was murdered.

The judge granted the prosecution’s request to call Snapchat and Google staff to testify at the trial, which is expected to last three weeks.

Full story below.

Alex Murdaugh’s son Paul sent Snapchat video to friends on the night he was murdered

Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Wednesday 25 January 2023 17:15 , Bevan Hurley

On the surface, Alex Murdaugh had it all.

He was a high-powered attorney who ran both his own law firm and worked in the local prosecutor’s office.

He was the son of a powerful legal dynasty that dominated a local South Carolina community for almost a century.

And he was a family man with a wife and two adult sons living on a vast country estate.

But over the last 13 months, Murdaugh has had a spectacular fall from grace, culminating in him now being charged with the savage double murder of his wife and son.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has more.

Murders, fraud, a hitman plot: Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace