Alex Murdaugh case: Disgraced lawyer will appeal double murder convictions

WALTERBORO, S.C. — Alex Murdaugh, found guilty last week in the murders of his wife and son, will appeal his convictions and sentences, according to a court filing on Thursday.

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Attorneys for the disgraced South Carolina lawyer filed paperwork indicating their intent to appeal his convictions and the life sentences imposed by the court, The State newspaper of Columbia reported.

The two life terms are to be served consecutively.

According to the newspaper, the notice of appeal was filed in the Colleton County Courthouse by Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. The two-sentence notice states, “Richard Alexander Murdaugh appeals his convictions and sentences.”

Murdaugh, 54, was convicted on March 2 by a Colleton County jury for the June 7, 2021, deaths of Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22.

The two were found fatally shot at the family’s nearly 1,800-acre property, WJCL-TV reported. Alex Murdaugh was convicted of executing his son inside the feed room of the kennels before shooting his wife with a high-powered rifle, The State reported.

A jury took less than three hours to reach a unanimous verdict to convict the disbarred attorney.

Alex Murdaugh has maintained his innocence.

Jurors heard testimony from more than 75 witnesses and viewed nearly 800 pieces of evidence during the 28-day trial, The Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors said Murdaugh killed his wife and son to gain sympathy as he coped with mounting pressures stemming from the family’s financial debt and a deadly 2019 boat crash that led to charges against Paul Murdaugh. In his closing statements, prosecutor Creighton Waters described Murdaugh as “a middle-aged man who is outwardly successful, who has a strong family legacy, who has a prominence in the community and has a reputation, but who is living a lie.”

During his trial, Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his clients to feed his longtime prescription pill addiction and support his family’s wealthy lifestyle. He also admitted to lying to investigators about his whereabouts on the day his wife and son were killed, a decision he blamed on paranoia caused by his addiction.

Jurors rejected Alex Murdaugh’s claim that he had left the crime scene minutes before the shootings, The New York Times reported. He made the argument while taking the stand after prosecutors played a video contradicting his claim, according to the newspaper.

The crucial, minute-long video recorded at the kennels captured Murdaugh’s voice in the background. It was taken by Paul Murdaugh in one of his last living moments, the Times reported.

Prosecutors characterized Murdaugh as a skillful liar who worked to craft an alibi to shield himself from blame in the deaths of his wife and son.

Griffin said during his closing argument for the defense that prosecutors quickly homed in on Murdaugh as the prime suspect and criticized authorities for not investigating the killings more fully. Griffin pointed to strands of hair that had been found in Maggie Murdaugh’s hands and had not apparently been tested.

“(Investigators) had decided that ‘unless we find someone else, it’s going to be Alex,’” he said.

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