Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife and son on Thursday, marking the conclusion of a six-week trial that has gripped the nation.
According to The New York Times, a jury in Colleton County, S.C. declared that Murdaugh, a formerly well-respected lawyer in the Lowcountry region of South Carolina, had killed Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh on June 7, 2021. The jury also found him guilty on two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. The verdict was unanimous, and the jurors made their decision in less than three hours.
The case reached national attention when Netflix released a docuseries, “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal,” on Jan. 17. Directed by Jenner Furst and Julia Willoughby Nason, the doc has been a mainstay in Netflix’s most-watched TV shows since its release, bolstered by the fact that Murdaugh’s trial was unfolding at the same time.
Murdaugh denied committing the murders throughout the trial, even taking the stand himself to attempt to convince jurors of his innocence. But when video was found on Paul’s phone from the scene of the shooting in which Murdaugh’s voice could be heard, Murdaugh’s alibi that he was visiting his parents at the time of the murders came into question. In his testimony, Murdaugh admitted to lying about his whereabouts and stealing from his law firm and clients, but maintained that he did not kill his wife and son. Murdaugh will be sentenced on Friday morning, and faces a minimum of 30 years in prison.
As was explored in the Netflix doc, the trial has also led to the reinvestigation of two earlier deaths, those of Stephen Smith and Gloria Satterfield. Smith, a classmate of Murdaugh’s oldest son Buster, was found dead in the middle of a road in Hampton, S.C. in 2015. The death was first investigated as a shooting before being ruled a hit and run, for which no arrests were made. Though the police have not formally accused the Murdaugh family of wrongdoing, the documentary alleges that Buster’s name was suspiciously found in investigation notes from the crime scene.
Satterfield, who was 57 at the time of her death, worked as the Murdaughs’ housekeeper and nanny for over 20 years. In 2018, it was reported that she fell down the stairs of the family home, and she died of a brain hemorrhage in the hospital a few weeks later. Despite the fall, her death had been attributed to natural causes and no autopsy was conducted. Murdaugh referred her sons to a lawyer to negotiate an insurance settlement for Satterfield’s death, but it was revealed in a 2021 lawsuit that they never received the settlement money. In December 2021, Murdaugh agreed to pay $4.3 million to the Satterfields.
The Murdaughs were also close to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, one of Paul’s friends who died following a boat crash in 2019. Witnesses claimed that Paul was driving the boat while intoxicated at the time of the incident. Paul was ultimately charged with three felony counts related to the boat crash, to which he pleaded not guilty. However, he was killed before he could stand trial.