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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Why did Alex Murdaugh kill wife Maggie and son Paul? The motive explained

Disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh was found guilty March 2 of the brutal murders of Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh at the family’s 1,700-acre South Carolina estate.

During a sensational six-week trial, the “emotional” trial attorney even took the witness stand to convince the jury he didn’t kill his wife and youngest son on June 7, 2021.

Born into a famous legal family, he now faces 30 years in prison without parole for each murder charge. The court is scheduled to meet again on Friday to pronounce judgment.

Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were shot and killed in the doghouse on the family’s Colleton County hunting property. Murdaugh’s wife was shot four or five times with a rifle and his son was shot twice with a shotgun.

Although no murder weapon had been found and there was no physical evidence linking Murdaugh to the case, he was charged in July 2022 with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of possession of a weapon while committing a violent crime.

According to police, when Murdaugh reported finding their bodies, he said he was napping in the house at the time of their deaths.

In video footage taken by Paul’s kennels minutes before his death and presented as evidence, prosecutors argued the three voices heard were Murdaugh, his wife and son.

When Murdaugh took the stand at his trial, he admitted to lying to authorities about not being in the kennel. He said he was there with his wife and son but left to take a chicken from a Labrador named Bubba.

Murdaugh maintained his innocence, saying, “I didn’t kill Maggie and I didn’t kill Paul. I would never hurt Maggie, and I would never hurt Paul – never – under any circumstances.”

Prosecutors argued that Murdaugh’s motive for the killings was to distract from financial problems he was suffering from.

The jury was told that Murdaugh was afraid his wrongdoings would be discovered, so he killed his wife and son to gain sympathy. Prosecutors argued Murdaugh believed it could buy him time to cover his tracks.

The jury also heard how Maggie and Paul knew about the attorney’s 20-year opioid addiction, which he spent thousands of dollars a week maintaining. Evidence brought to light included how Murdaugh’s youngest son confronted his father about the drug search.

Murdaugh eventually admitted to stealing millions from his family business and customers over the years. He has been banned from practicing law in South Carolina and, as of December 2022, faces more than 100 additional charges on alleged financial crimes, including insurance fraud and tax evasion.

The former attorney even attempted to stage his own death in September 2021 so his surviving son, Buster, could benefit from a $10 million life insurance policy.

When the jury’s guilty verdicts were announced, the defense requested a trial, but this was denied by Judge Clifton Newman, who said “the evidence of guilt is overwhelming”.

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