Disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh was given two straight life sentences by Judge Clifton Newman for the murders of his wife and son. During the heari
Disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh was given two straight life sentences by Judge Clifton Newman for the murders of his wife and son.
During the hearing, Newman addressed Murdaugh personally and discussed their shared professional background.
“As a member of the legal community, a well-known member of the legal community, you’ve practiced law before me. And we’ve seen each other at various occasions throughout the years. And it was especially heartbreaking for me to see you go in the media from being a grieving father who lost their wife and son to being the person indicted and convicted of killing them. … This case qualifies under our death penalty statute, based on the statutory aggravating circumstances…I don’t question at all the decision of the state not to pursue the death penalty, but as I sit here in this courtroom and look around the many portraits of judges and other court officials and reflect on the fact that over the past century your family, including you, have been prosecuting people here in this courtroom, and many have received the death penalty, probably for lesser conduct.”
Murdaugh spoke to the court directly and merely stated, “I’m innocent. I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son.”
Murdaugh chose not to continue his defense, which Newman questioned, stating, “Your license to practice law has been stripped away from you, turned from lawyer to witness, and now you have an opportunity to make your final appeal, as an ex-lawyer. It’s almost, really surprising, that you’re waiving this right at this time.”
Murdaugh responded, “I’ll say again, I’ll say in this court. I am innocent. I would never, under any circumstances, hurt my wife Maggie. I would never, under any circumstances, hurt my son.”
Prosecutors requested that disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh receive the maximum sentence of two straight life terms for the murders of his wife and son at a sentencing hearing that started just before 9:45 a.m. EST on Friday.
“I could see the real Alex Murdaugh when he looked at me. The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes are stunning,” Creighton Waters, prosecutor, said in court. “A man like that, a man like this man, should never be allowed to be among free law-abiding citizens again.”
In less than three hours, the South Carolina jurors reached a unanimous decision and found Murdaugh guilty of killing his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, on June 7, 2021. Murdaugh was also found guilty on two charges of possession of a weapon during a crime.
According to The New York Times, the prosecution is not seeking the death penalty and will instead ask the judge to sentence Murdaugh to life in prison without the chance of parole.
“We can’t bring them back, but we can bring them justice,” after the verdict, South Carolina’s attorney general, Alan Wilson, spoke at a press briefing about the victims. “Today’s verdict proved that no one, no matter who you are in society, is above the law.”
After hearing the judgment from the jury of seven men and five women, Murdaugh remained emotionless.
The State reported that Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul, 22, were discovered shot to death in an execution-style fashion on the family’s land. According to the prosecution, Alex Murdaugh shot and killed his wife with a powerful rifle before killing his son in the feed room of a dog kennel.
According to the prosecution, Murdaugh betrayed friends and clients, attempted to stage his own death in an insurance fraud scheme, and detailed a fatal boat crash that implicated Murdaugh’s son as well as an accident in the Murdaugh home that resulted in the death of a housekeeper, according to more than 75 witnesses and nearly 800 pieces of evidence in their case, reported The Associated Press.
During the trial, Murdaugh testified in his own defense and acknowledged that he had stolen from customers while also struggling with a growing painkiller addiction.
The New York Times reported that Judge Clifton Newman said on Thursday that anyone who wishes to talk about the harm caused by Murdaugh or in favor of giving him leniency will have the chance to do so during Friday’s sentencing hearing.
The judge turned down the defense’s request for a mistrial after the decision was announced, stating that “the proof of guilt is overwhelming,” according to the AP.