South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdaugh Indicted For Wife And Son's Murder

The indictment comes more than a year after the disbarred lawyer’s wife and son were mysteriously found shot multiple times at their hunting estate.
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Alex Murdaugh, seen entering a bond hearing in 2021, has been charged with the murder of his wife and son.
Alex Murdaugh, seen entering a bond hearing in 2021, has been charged with the murder of his wife and son.
via Associated Press

Alex Murdaugh, the recently disbarred South Carolina attorney whose once-powerful legal dynasty in his home state has been rapidly marred by drug, fraud and money laundering charges in recent months, has now been indicted for the murder of his wife and son.

A Colleton County grand jury indicted Murdaugh on Thursday on charges of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the deaths of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh.

A copy of the indictment alleges that Murdaugh fatally shot his wife with a rifle and his son with a shotgun. South Carolina Attorney General Wilson, who announced the jury’s decision, declined to comment on specifics about the case, reasoning that it remains an active investigation.

The indictment comes more than a year after the fourth-generation lawyer’s wife and son were mysteriously found shot multiple times outside at their hunting estate near Islandton, roughly 60 miles west of Charleston.

It was Alex Murdaugh who was the one to call 911 in a panic after claiming to have found his wife and son’s bodies on June 7, 2021, near the dog kennels on the family’s secluded property. The Murdaugh family offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the killer’s conviction. Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys have maintained his innocence.

But as the murder investigation unfolded, questions emerged about the Murdaugh family’s dealings in their community.

The gates near Alex Murdaugh's home in Islandton, S.C., are seen following last year's shooting deaths of his wife and son at the property,
The gates near Alex Murdaugh's home in Islandton, S.C., are seen following last year's shooting deaths of his wife and son at the property,
via Associated Press

At the time of the shooting, Paul Murdaugh was facing a boating under the influence charge related to a 2019 accident that killed a 19-year-old woman. The tragedy led to public speculation about the Murdaugh family’s ties to law enforcement, with attorneys for the victims’ families expressing concerns of evidence going missing and allegations that the Murdaugh family instructed the victims not to cooperate with law enforcement.

State police have also since reopened an unsolved 2015 hit-and-run death that the victim’s mother has said she thought Paul Murdaugh could have been involved in, The Associated Press reported.

Things took a new turn in September of last year when Alex Murdaugh claimed to have survived a failed murder attempt while changing a tire on the side of the road.

Curtis Edward Smith allegedly shot Alex Murdaugh so that Murdaugh's surviving son, Richard, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. Smith's shot only grazed Murdaugh's head, police said.
Curtis Edward Smith allegedly shot Alex Murdaugh so that Murdaugh's surviving son, Richard, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. Smith's shot only grazed Murdaugh's head, police said.
via Associated Press

State police said he suffered a grazed bullet to the head by a man he had paid to kill him as part of a $10 million insurance scheme that would benefit his elder son. That man, Curtis Smith, was arrested on multiple charges and later additionally accused of trafficking drugs with Alex Murdaugh.

A few days after that shooting incident, Alex Murdaugh announced that he was stepping down from his law firm and entering rehab for an opioid addiction. When he left that facility in October, he was promptly arrested for allegedly stealing millions of dollars in insurance payments from the family of his late housekeeper.

More than 80 charges have since been filed against Alex Murdaugh, including for the alleged theft of millions from his clients and their families.

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