How Was Alex Murdaugh Caught? ‘Murdaugh Murders’ Explained

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A trial with twists and turns. Alex Murdaugh’s trial is one of the most watched trials of the 2020s. The real question as to how this all began is: how was Alex Murdaugh caught?

Murdaugh’s family was a major dynasty when it came to litigation in the south. However, it all started falling apart after several suspicious attempts and fraud charges. The central turning point in the story was when Murdaugh’s wife and son, Margaret, 52, and Paul, 22, were murdered on June 7, 2021. “I’ve been gone,” Murdaugh, his voice quivering, tells a dispatcher in a 911 call via The New York Times. “I just came back.”

On September 4, 2021, Murdaugh was injured after he was shot in the head after a roadside accident. Two days later he resigned from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick. “The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” he said in a statement, citing his addiction to oxycodone. “I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.” Days after the resignation, the law firm released its own statement alleging Murdaugh had misappropriated company funds and Murdaugh was arrested and charged with multiple felonies. So how did he get caught? Read more below to find out.

How was Alex Murdaugh caught?

Alex Murdaugh

Alex Murdaugh. Image: Joshua Boucher/Getty Images

How was Alex Murdaugh caught? On September 16, 2021, Alex Murdaugh surrendered to authorities and was charged with multiple felonies including insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report. He returned shortly to a drug rehabilitation center after he was granted bond and a judge ordered him to surrender his passport.

After he was released from the drug rehabilitation center in October 2021, Murdaugh was arrested and charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses after an investigation into millions of dollars that went missing from a settlement involving the death of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. According to her heirs, they received none of the proceeds from a $4.3 million settlement they said was orchestrated in secret by Murdaugh. Her case was opened up again in June 2022 after there were suspicions that arose after her death was listed as “natural,” which a coroner has said was inconsistent with injuries sustained in a “trip and fall accident” in Mudaugh’s home.

Prosecutors looked into Murdaugh’s roadside accident a week after it happened and accused Murdaugh of hiring someone to kill him so that his surviving son, Buster, could collect on a $10m life insurance policy. Murdaugh later admitted that he had asked his distant cousin and drug dealer Curtis Edward Smith to shoot him in the head. Murdaugh’s lawyers said he had come up with a plan to make his suicide look like murder because his life insurance policy didn’t cover suicide. At the end of 2021, Murdaugh faced 48 separate charges including nine counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, seven counts of computer crimes, four counts of money laundering and one count of forgery. In a statement of December of that year, he attributed his opiate withdrawal  “My head is on straighter, I’m thinking clearer than I have in a long, long time,” Murdaugh says. “I want to deal with these charges appropriately and head-on.”

By January 21, 2022, his charges increased as he faced 71 charges involving the theft of about $8.5 million over the course of 11 years. In July of the same year, a jury ruled to indict Murdaugh for the murder of Paul and Margaret. A grand jury also indicted Murdaugh and Smith with criminal conspiracy and narcotics offenses. They are accused of conspiring to purchase and distribute oxycodone in Colleton County from October 7, 2013, to September 7, 2021.

Alex Murdaugh; Morgan Doughty; Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Murdaugh

Alex Murdaugh; Morgan Doughty; Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Murdaugh. Courtesy of Netflix

In an opening statement to Alex Murdugh’s trial on January 25, 2023, prosecutor Creighton Waters told the jury that Margaret and Paul’s injuries were listed “as if they didn’t see a threat coming from their attacker.” He added that the injuries were “gruesome”, Waters told the jury. He also noted cellphone data that placed Murdaugh at the scene of the crime just minutes before his family’s phones would “go silent forever”. Police also found a “wadded up” raincoat inside Murdaugh’s parents’ home that was “coated in gunshot residue.” Murdaugh later took to the witness stand and admitted that he lied to the police about where he was on the night of his family’s murders. He also acknowledged that he had stolen from his law clients. He conceded that he had pocketed a check he was supposed to hand over to his law firm. As of February 24, 2023, Murdaugh was charged with over 100 financial charges and charges related to the murder.

“I meant for him to shoot me, so I’d be gone,” Murdaugh said during his testimony on February 23, 2023, when asked about the roadside shooting. “I knew all this was coming to a head, I knew how humiliating this was going to be for my son. I’d been through so much. At the time, in the bad place that I was, it seemed like the better thing to do.” He added that he had $12 million in life insurance for himself but neither Paul nor Maggie had life insurance policies. When asked if he killed or would ever hurt his wife or son, Murdaugh replied: “I would never hurt Maggie and I would never hurt Paul.”

To add to the Murdaugh family’s history, Paul was facing accusations that he had drunkenly crashed a boat into a bridge in 2019, killing a passenger Mallory Beach when he was 19 years old. During the trial, Murdaugh said after the murders that he believed Paul might have been targeted because of the crash, which resulted in civil and criminal cases.

If you’re interested in learning more about the family, don’t miss Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal on Netflix. The synopsis of which is as follows: “The Murdaughs were one of South Carolina’s most prominent families, but the death of teenager Mallory Beach in a drunken boating accident began the unraveling of their legacy. When Paul Murdaugh – the alleged driver of the boat – and his mother Maggie are found brutally murdered, a century of corruption, power, and cover-ups in the Low Country is brought to light. The three-part series will feature first-hand accounts from those on the boat that fateful night, many of whom have not spoken about the crash or double homicide of Maggie and Paul until now, including Paul Murdaugh’s longtime girlfriend, Morgan Doughty; Mallory Beach’s childhood friends, Miley Altman and Connor Cook; Mallory’s boyfriend, Anthony Cook; and, several others.”

Netflix’s Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal is available to stream now.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, help is available. Call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free, confidential support.

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, help is available. Call the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free and confidential counseling. 

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2023-02-24 23:58:00 ,

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