South Carolina lawyer convicted of murder gets 27 years for financial crimes

Alex Richard Murdaugh police mugshot photo in Orlando, Florida

(Reuters) - Richard "Alex" Murdaugh, a disgraced former powerhouse lawyer in South Carolina already serving life in prison for the murder of his wife and son, received a 27-year sentence on Tuesday for his guilty plea to nearly two dozen financial crimes.

The sentence handed down in a Charleston courtroom, part of the plea deal Murdaugh reached earlier this month, will be served concurrently with the two life terms imposed eight months ago following his murder trial, said a spokesman for the state attorney general's office.

A jury found Murdaugh, a once-prominent personal injury attorney and scion of an influential legal family, guilty in March of gunning down his wife, Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, 22, on the family estate on June 7, 2021.

Murdaugh has appealed his murder convictions and maintains he is innocent of the killings.

But on Nov. 17, he pleaded guilty to 22 state felony charges of financial wrongdoing, including money laundering, forgery, tax evasion and breach of trust with fraudulent intent.

At his murder trial, prosecutors said Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from his financial crimes, through which he stole millions of dollars used to support a years-long opioids addiction and lavish lifestyle.

He pleaded guilty to bank fraud and other financial felonies in a separate federal case in September. He is awaiting sentencing on the federal charges.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Sonali Paul)