South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh will soon find himself back in the courtroom—this time as a defendant.
On July 14, Murdaugh was indicted by a South Carolina Grand Jury on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The news comes more than a year after his wife Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and son Paul Murdaugh, 22, died at family's hunting estate in June 2021.
With their charges, the Grand Jury indicated that they believed that Murdaugh possessed both a rifle—which they allege he used to kill his wife—as well as a shotgun, which they believe he used to kill his youngest son.
His lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, denied the allegations against their client. "Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul," they said in a statement. "He loved them more than anything in the world."
"It was very clear from day one that law enforcement and the Attorney General prematurely concluded that Alex was responsible for the murder of his wife and son," they continued. "But we know that Alex did not have any motive whatsoever to murder them."
As a result, Murdaugh's lawyers announced that they are "immediately filing a motion for a speedy trial," requesting the Attorney General turn over evidence within 30 days and for a trial to begin within 60 days after evidence is received.
In a statement, S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Chief Mark Keel called the indictment against Murdaugh "one more step in a long process of justice for Maggie and Paul."
"Over the last 13 months, SLED agents and our partners have worked day in and day out to build a case against the person responsible for the murders of Maggie and Paul to exclude those who were not," he continued. "From the beginning I have been clear, the priority was to ensure justice was served."
While he stressed that all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson maintained in a statement that "all the efforts of our office and the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation have been focused on seeking justice for the victims' families."
The Murdaugh family name has been entrenched in scandal and mystery since Paul was indicted on three charges related to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach in a boating accident in April 2020. The charges were later dropped following his death in June 2021.
On June 7, Murdaugh allegedly discovered the bodies of his wife and youngest son at the family's Islandton residence. The mother and son had died of multiple gunshot wounds, per a SLED press release at the time.
Less than three months later, Murdaugh made headlines once again when he was shot in September 2021. At the time, his lawyers told NBC News that he had pulled over to change a flat tire when he was shot in the head, but that it was only a superficial wound.
However, on Sept. 14, Murdaugh's lawyer Dick Harpootlian told Today that his client, who had been battling opioid addiction, had orchestrated the assassination attempt so his eldest son, Richard "Buster" Alexander Jr., would receive his $10 million life insurance policy.
Since then, the Murdaugh family has been linked to the re-opening of multiple cases throughout the state, including the death 19-year-old Stephen Smith and of the family's housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.
After checking into a rehab facility in Florida, Murdaugh was later arrested in October 2021 and charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He was extradited back to South Carolina, where he has remained in jail since.
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