Alex Murdaugh takes plea to financial crimes
Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh faced his victims in a South Carolina courtroom today before being sentenced to 27 years in prison on a slew of state financial crimes charges.
“You seem empty, I don’t see anything,” Judge Clifton Newman told Murdaugh as he handed down the sentence. “Hopefully something will arise in your mind, in your soul.”
Over a decade, Murdaugh stole more than $12.5 million from clients of his law firm in a massive, multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
Among the victims who spoke out was the family of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh housekeeper who died in a “trip and fall” in the Moselle in 2018. In that case, Murdaugh stole more than $4 million in wrongful death settlements intended for her sons.
Murdaugh spent nearly an hour apologizing to them. He admitted that he had done “terrible things” that “continue to bother and disturb him.”
The disgraced legal scion reached a plea deal with prosecutors on Nov. 17, agreeing to plead guilty to 22 charges, including money laundering, fraud and criminal conspiracy.
The conviction marks just the latest chapter in the Murdaugh saga, as he continues to fight his conviction in the June 2021 murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
What happened to Hakeem Pinckney?
The oldest case for which Murdaugh has been convicted is that of Hakeem Pinckney – a deaf man who was paralyzed after a horrific car accident in 2009. He died two years later.
Murdaugh stole most of a $309,000 settlement and then an additional $89,000 payment intended for Pinckney’s mother, Pamela Pinckney.
Ms. Pinckney issued a strong statement Tuesday when she spoke to Murdaugh in court.
“To you, Alex Murdaugh, I never thought you would betray our family at our most vulnerable… but I forgive you.”
Andrea CavallierNovember 29, 2023 7:00 am
What happened to Gloria Satterfield?
In October 2021, Murdaugh was released from rehab but was dramatically arrested on charges of stealing money from the wrongful death settlement over the mysterious trip and 2018 death of Gloria Satterfield, the family’s longtime housekeeper.
Satterfield worked for the influential Murdaugh family for more than two decades when she was found at the bottom of a staircase at the family’s home. She died weeks later from her injuries.
At the time, her death was ruled an accidental fall, although her death certificate listed her death as “natural.”
Murdaugh reached an agreement to pay her family $4 million in a wrongful death settlement, but they never received a cent of the money. Instead, Murdaugh transferred the settlement, intended for Satterfield’s sons, to a fake company called Forge.
Since then, questions surrounding Satterfield’s death have arisen and investigators have reopened the investigation into her death.
Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper asked SLED to reopen an investigation into her death when Murdaugh’s name began making headlines.
“The death of the deceased was not reported to the coroner at the time, nor was an autopsy performed,” Ms Topper wrote.
“On the death certificate, the manner of death was noted as ‘natural’, which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident.”
In early 2022, officials announced plans to exhume her body.
Andrea CavallierNovember 29, 2023 5:00 am
What happened to Paul and Maggie Murdaugh?
The twisted story all started on June 7, 2021 when Maggie and Paul were found shot to death in the family’s sprawling hunting lodge in Islandton.
Murdaugh claimed he discovered their bodies by making a dramatic 911 call, during which he cried and sobbed on the phone.
He said he returned home from visiting his elderly mother and dying father to find his wife and son at the kennels on the property, both suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.
The call, previously released by investigators, was made at 10:07 p.m. local time.
Prosecutors say the killings happened around 8:50 p.m.
In the audio, Murdaugh is heard sobbing as he tells the dispatcher, “It’s bad” and “My wife and child got shot badly.”
When asked if his loved ones are still breathing, he answers “no” and urges them to “please hurry.”
Murdaugh also tells the dispatcher that he didn’t see anyone on the property.
It later emerged that two different weapons were used to kill the victims: Maggie shot multiple times with an automatic rifle and Paul shot twice – once in the head and once in the chest – with a shotgun.
Graphic details of their horrific injuries emerged in court.
Maggie was shot five times in the chest and head, with the last two shots likely fired after she had already fallen to the ground, according to a forensic report by Chief Kenneth Kinsey, an expert with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Paul’s injuries were even more serious when the second shot blew his brain out of his skull.
For more than thirteen months, no arrests have been made for their murders, no suspects have been named, and no charges have been filed in their murders.
Murdaugh was subsequently charged with murder in July 2022.
Andrea CavallierNovember 29, 2023 4:00 am
ICYMI: Alex Murdaugh grins as he appears in court for financial crimes conviction
Alex Murdaugh arrives at court for a financial crimes hearing
Andrea CavallierNovember 29, 2023 3:00 am
Murdaugh again denies killing his wife and son
In the dramatic moment during his lengthy statement in court, Alex Murdaugh admitted that he had indeed stolen from all the victims read to him by prosecutor Creighton Waters.
But despite the confession, Murdaugh continued to claim he was innocent of the murders of his wife and son.
“I would never hurt Maggie and I would never hurt Paul,” he said.
Andrea CavallierNovember 29, 2023 01:30
Satterfield family attorney labels Murdaugh the ‘Mount Rushmore of all criminals’
Attorney Eric Bland, who represents the Satterfield family, issued a scathing victim impact statement on behalf of the victims, labeling Murdaugh “the Mount Rushmore of all criminals” who stole from the people closest to him.
“This day has been coming for two years,” he said.
“This was predatory behavior… this wasn’t Enron… it wasn’t stealing money from anonymous people, from shareholders. This was Alex Murdaugh stealing money from those closest to him,” he said.
“Gloria Satterfield who broke bread with him and his family for 22 years and raised his family… Jordan Jinks, a lifelong friend, he grew up playing ball together.”
Mr Bland added: “This is theft, the unicorn of all thefts… He is the Mount Rushmore of all criminals… And he fled when convicted of double murder.”
Mr Bland also fired back at Mr Harpootlian’s comments at the start of the hearing, in which he complained that some lawyers were trying to sell T-shirts and hats and promote their podcasts. Although Mr. Bland has a podcast, he pointed out that Mr. Griffin does too.
Andrea CavallierNovember 29, 2023 00:30
Stephen Smith’s cell phone was unlocked eight years after he was found dead near Murdaugh’s home
The phone and tablet of a South Carolina teen found dead near the Murdaugh family home have finally been unlocked by investigators, eight years after he was murdered.
Stephen Smith, 19, was killed in 2015, with his death initially ruled an accident by authorities.
Graeme Massie has the full story:
Mike BediganNovember 29, 2023 00:11
Murdaugh denounces speculation about his son’s alleged involvement in the 2015 death of Stephen Smith
In his rambling, lengthy statement to the court, Murdaugh also lashed out at rampant speculation about his son Buster and the unsolved 2015 death of a gay teen — Stephen Smith — and attempted to downplay the role played by the family’s late housekeeper, who was twenty years old had played. in raising his children.
Murdaugh admitted he had done “terrible things” and emphasized that he “cares” for each of the people he stole from.
“I’ve done terrible things. Each of you has placed your trust in me. I’m proud of that and I’m still honored by that to this day,” he said.
“I’ve done terrible, terrible things. Things I’m thinking about now are causing me to be hurt, to be bothering me. It’s so important to me that you know how much the things I’ve done bother me.”
Andrea CavallierNovember 28, 2023 11:30 PM
Gloria Satterfield’s son told Murdaugh he forgives him
Satterfield’s son Tony Satterfield spoke directly to the double murderer when he told him he forgives him for the years of pain he caused their family.
“I really have no words, you lied, you cheated, you stole, you betrayed me, my family and everyone else and you did that first of all after my mother’s death,” he said.
Mr. Satterfield brought up the fact that Murdaugh sent him a “half-hearted apology letter” some time ago, saying he knows it was half-hearted because his “actions have no consequence” with his apology.
He said he had his own letter of regret to read to Murdaugh.
“I’m sorry you felt like you had to betray us,” he said.
“I’m sorry that your family now has to go through what they will have to go through for the rest of their lives because of your actions, what you did.”
He added: “I want you to know that I forgive you. I will pray for you every day.”
Andrea CavallierNovember 28, 2023 10:41 PM
ICYMI: Sobbing Alex Murdaugh makes himself a victim in fraud conviction
Sobbing, Alex Murdaugh apologized to the multiple victims from whom he stole millions of dollars in their hours of need during an emotional sentencing hearing — before using the word to once again deny all responsibility for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul .
What began Tuesday as a statement apologizing for his financial fraud crimes in a Beaufort County courtroom culminated in a monologue in which he contacted the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office for their handling of the murder investigation.
It ended when Judge Clifton Newman sentenced Murdaugh to 27 years in prison.
Andrea CavallierNovember 28, 2023 9:15 PM