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South Carolina Jury Finds Alex Murdaugh Guilty Of Murdering His Wife And Son

Disgraced  South Carolina attorney faces 30 years to life on four counts after murdering his wife and son.

Former trial lawyer and prominent South Carolina figure Alex Murdaugh, was found guilty of murdering his wife and son on his family property on June 7, 2021.

Judge Clifton Newman speaks during the trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager at the Charleston County court November 22, 2016, in Charleston, South Carolina. Newman was the presiding judge in the Murdaugh case. GRACE BEAHM-POOL/GETTY IMAGES

The jury reached the verdict after deliberating nearly three hours on Thursday after hearing five weeks of testimony from more than 70 witnesses. 

The jury found Murdaugh guilty on four counts of murder. Each of the two counts included murder and possession of a weapon to commit a crime.

Murdaugh had testified on the witness stand denying the murders, but also admitted to lying to the investigators and cheating his clients.

Trial prosecutor Creighton Waters presented the state’s closing arguments for over three hours on Tuesday. He focused on four factors: motive, means, opportunity, and guilt of conscience, according to a CBS affiliate.

“This is an individual who was trained to understand how to put together cases, complex cases. He’s been a prosecutor,” said Waters in his closing statements on Tuesday. “He’s given closing arguments to juries before. So, when you have a defendant like that, be thinking about whether or not this individual is constructing defense and alibis.”

Prosecutors made the case that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to gain sympathy and to distract from financial fraud [Murdaugh admitted to embezzling funds from his family firm].

Walterboro, South Carolina 7-15-2014 The Tuskegee Airmen Monument at the Lowcountry Regional Airport. The Murdaughs were once the most prominent family in Colleton County, South Carolina prior to Alex Murdaugh’s crime. MARK REINSTEIN/GETTY IMAGES

Murdaugh’s attorney Jim Griffin reminded the jury of how much Murdaugh loved his family.  Investigators didn’t collect footprints and DNA fingerprints in his closing arguments, according to ABC News.

“I probably wouldn’t be sitting over there right now if did not lie. But he did lie, he told you he lied,” said Griffin, addressing the jurors. “He lied because that’s what addicts do. He lied because he had a closet full of skeletons, and he didn’t want any more scrutiny on him.”

Griffin stated in the closing arguments that law enforcement was quick to pinpoint at him as the main suspect for the murder of his family that he called not properly investigated otherwise.

Prior to this 2021 incident, the Murdaugh family had been dealing with a tragic incident under suspicious circumstances. Murdaugh’s teenage son, Paul, drunkenly crashing a boat near Parris Island, South Carolina, killing his 19-year-old friend Mallory Beach on February 23, 2019. Paul never got his day in court, as he was murdered alongside his mother on June 7, 2021. 

The bodies of Paul and Maggie were found near the dog kennels at the Murdaugh family estate in June 2021. Murdaugh himself called 911 to report the findings of the bodies, according to ABC News.

Judge Clifton Newman reminded the jury that Murdaugh was innocent until proven guilty until the evidence and testimonies were taken into consideration.

“The presumption of innocence is like a robe of righteousness placed about the shoulders of the defendant, which remains with the defendant until it has been stripped from the defendant by evidence, satisfied with you that guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” said Clifton in addressing the jury.

Sentencing is expected to take place on Friday morning.

The minimum sentence for murder is 30 years for each count.

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