Alex Murdaugh pleads not responsible to murdering spouse and son


WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) — The once-powerful and now disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh pleaded not responsible on Wednesday to murdering his spouse and son 13 months in the past.

Prosecutors agreed to maintain the proof secret amid media consideration. His protection stated Murdaugh cannot afford to put up any bond and needs a speedy trial as a result of “he believes the killer or killers are nonetheless at giant.”

The prosecution stated all proof exhibits he was liable for the deadly shootings.

“The proof on this case is substantial and all of it factors again to Alex Murdaugh. There may be forensic proof in addition to different proof of his guilt of those murders,” stated Creighton Waters, a deputy state lawyer normal.

“Our response to that’s he’s fallacious. And that’s why a jury will sit in that jury field,” protection lawyer Dick Harpootlian stated.

Murdaugh has been behind bars since October, charged with monetary crimes and a number of other different misdeeds that had been uncovered after the killings of his spouse Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, on the household’s Colleton County looking property in June 2021.

Murdaugh, 54, was indicted final week on two counts of homicide and two counts of possession of a weapon throughout a violent crime.

The indictment wasn’t learn in courtroom on Wednesday, and courtroom papers made public thus far do not point out how police linked Murdaugh to the deaths after 13 months of investigation. Nor do they comprise any clues as to why a person who had no legal historical past and was a part of a rich, well-connected household that dominated the authorized neighborhood within the tiny city of Hampton may need wished to kill his circle of relatives members.

Authorities have been tight-lipped because the begin of the investigation. Final yr, they launched the late-night 911 name through which Murdaugh reported discovering the our bodies of his spouse and son exterior by the canine kennels on his property. The coroner stated each victims had been shot a number of occasions. The indictments add a brand new element: an allegation that Murdaugh killed his spouse with a rifle and his son with a shotgun.

“It was very clear from day one which regulation enforcement and the Lawyer Normal prematurely concluded that Alex was liable for the homicide of his spouse and son,” the protection wrote forward of Wednesday’s listening to. “However we all know that Alex didn’t have any motive in anyway to homicide them.”

Circuit Choose Clifton Newman presided. He additionally denied bond for Murdaugh on the monetary crimes prices. A special decide later set bond at $7 million however Murdaugh was unable to pay it and has remained in jail. His legal professionals have complained a number of occasions that the bond was set too excessive, and stated that due to lawsuits and frozen belongings Murdaugh couldn’t even afford to purchase underwear from the jail retailer.

If convicted of homicide, Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in jail with out parole. Beneath state regulation, prosecutors may additionally select to hunt the demise penalty as a result of multiple particular person was killed.

The 4 new indictments linked to the slayings added to a pile of 80 different prices lodged towards Murdaugh by investigators who’ve scrutinized each a part of his life over the previous yr. No trial dates have been set for any of the instances.

Prosecutors stated the once-prominent lawyer stole greater than $8 million in settlements and different cash from purchasers, dedicated fraud and lied to police by attempting to rearrange his personal demise so his surviving son may accumulate a $10 million life insurance coverage coverage. Murdaugh was additionally charged final month with co-running a $2 million cash laundering and drug ring.

The homicide prices and different instances are being prosecuted by the South Carolina Lawyer Normal’s Workplace due to hyperlinks Murdaugh has to the native 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Workplace. The workplace’s jurisdiction consists of Colleton County and Hampton County, the place Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather had been the elected prosecutors for 87 consecutive years.

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