A South Carolina jury found disbarred attorney Richard “Alex” Murdaugh guilty of murder Thursday in the 2021 killings of his wife and son.
Murdaugh, 54, was found guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.
Murdaugh’s wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were found fatally shot near dog kennels at the family’s home on June 7, 2021. Murdaugh admitted in court that he lied to investigators when he told them he was not at the kennels before finding their bodies.
After the verdict was read, Judge Clifton Newman scheduled Murdaugh’s sentencing at 9:30 a.m. Friday and thanked the jurors for their service. The minimum sentence for murder is 30 years in prison. The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is seeking life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“I know that all of you have been here at great sacrifice,” he said. “Circumstantial evidence, direct evidence, all of the evidence pointed to one conclusion and that’s the conclusion that you all reached.”
The jury deliberated for about three hours Thursday afternoon after closing arguments. Attorneys called more than 70 witnesses, including Murdaugh himself, over the course of five weeks.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors argued Murdaugh killed his family to gain sympathy and buy time to cover up alleged financial crimes that were about to be discovered, and presented circumstantial evidence of Murdaugh’s guilt.
Murdaugh repeatedly denied killing his family members and testified that he was not concerned about being confronted by his law firm for stealing money. The defense criticized the state’s circumstantial evidence and argued law enforcement failed to collect key evidence because they were too narrowly focused on Murdaugh.
Murdaugh will later stand trial for more than 100 other criminal charges related to alleged crimes including money laundering, tax evasion, stealing millions from clients, drug trafficking and a botched life insurance scheme.
Contact Breaking News Reporter N’dea Yancey-Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @NdeaYanceyBragg