Alex Murdaugh has been found guilty of murdering his wife and son after jurors spent less than three hours deliberating.

The disgraced legal scion, 54, was shaking while the verdict was read out at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, following six weeks of harrowing testimony.

His surviving son Buster appeared stony-faced and sat with his hand covering his mouth beside his girlfriend Brooklynn White who looked down at the ground. 

The disbarred attorney, 54, turned to face the pair, as well as his sister Lynn, when the bailiff cuffed him and led him away. Neither of his brothers John Marvin or Randy, who had attended court most days, were in attendance. 

Murdaugh brutally shot dead his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, at the family’s sprawling hunting estate in Moselle, South Carolina, on the night of June 7, 2021.

The disbarred attorney lied to cops about his whereabouts that night before making the stunning decision to take the stand last week, claiming his opioid addiction had made him paranoid.

But the State convinced jurors he killed the pair to distract from the millions he had stolen from his law firm and a looming lawsuit over Paul’s drunken boat wreck which threatened to ruin him financially. 

Murdaugh will return for sentencing at 9.30am Friday. He faces 30 years to life in prison after being convicted of two counts of murder and two weapons charges.

The disgraced legal scion, 54, shook as he stood while the verdict was read out at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, following six weeks of harrowing testimony

The disgraced legal scion, 54, shook as he stood while the verdict was read out at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, following six weeks of harrowing testimony

His surviving son Buster appeared stony-faced and sat with his hand covering his mouth beside his girlfriend Brooklynn White he looked down at the ground

Murdaugh stands as the verdict is read out

His surviving son Buster appeared stony-faced and sat with his hand covering his mouth beside his girlfriend Brooklynn White he looked down at the ground

Murdaugh is led away in handcuffs after being convicted of shooting dead his wife Maggie and son Paul

Murdaugh is led away in cuffs after the verdict

Murdaugh is led away in handcuffs after being convicted of shooting dead his wife Maggie and son Paul

Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh at Lake Kiwi in May 2021 to celebrate the birth of Maggie's niece's child

Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh at Lake Kiwi in May 2021 to celebrate the birth of Maggie’s niece’s child 

Judge Clifton Newman dismissed a defense move for a mistrial and thanked the jury for their finding.

The judge said: ‘The circumstantial evidence, direct evidence, all of the evidence pointed to one conclusion, and that’s the conclusion that you all reached.’

Prosecutor Creighton Waters yesterday told jurors in his closing argument: ‘The pressures on this man were unbearable and they were all reaching a crescendo the day his wife and son were murdered by him.’

On the day of the killings he had been confronted over $792,000 that had gone ‘missing’ from a recent case. In the subsequent months it would be revealed that he had stolen more than $10m from clients and partners at his firm.

Three days after the killings he was due in court for a hearing in a lawsuit over his son’s drunken boat crash in which a teen girl had died two years earlier.

The family patriarch, Randolph III, who Murdaugh had continually turned to for massive six-figure loans and relied upon emotionally, was badly ill with cancer. He died three days after the murders.

Compounding this, prosecutors say Murdaugh’s opioid pill habit was spiraling and on the defendant’s own admission, ‘withdrawals would make him do anything.’

Waters told jurors: ‘Nobody knew who this man was. He avoided accountability his whole life, he had relied on his family name, he had a powerful family, he carried a badge and used that in authority, he lived a wealthy life – but now finally he was was facing complete ruin. 

He added that the legal scion ‘is the kind of person for whom shame is an extraordinary provocation’ and faced with financial ruin which his ‘ego couldn’t stand … he became a family annihilator.’ 

He concluded the speech with the fervent plea: ‘This defendant has fooled everyone, everyone. Everyone who thought they were close to him he’s fooled them all and he fooled Maggie and Paul too and they paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him fool you too.’

In closing arguments earlier on Thursday, Murdaugh’s lawyer accused investigators of fabricating evidence.

He said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the state’s version of the FBI, failed to secure the crime scene and examine key evidence that could have exonerated Murdaugh, and instead focused on him due to scrutiny over his financial misdeeds.

Maggie's body was found a few yards to the right of a doghouse, while Paul's was by the doorway at the end of the kennels. Judge Clifton Newman yesterday granted the defense request for jurors to visit the scene to gain a better understanding of the shootings

Maggie’s body was found a few yards to the right of a doghouse, while Paul’s was by the doorway at the end of the kennels

WHERE MAGGIE DIED: A pool of blood outside the kennels where Maggie Murdaugh was shot dead with two AR bullets to the head

WHERE MAGGIE DIED: A pool of blood outside the kennels where Maggie Murdaugh was shot dead with two AR bullets to the head 

Paul's body was found lying in the doorway of the feed room at the end of the row of dog cages at the kennels

Two of the family dogs  – who appear to be Bubba and Maggie – based on descriptions in court – are seen in the kennels on the Moselle Road property on June 7, 2021 when Alex Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul Murdaugh were shot and killed

WHERE PAUL DIED: Blood spatters on the floor inside the storage room at the kennels where Paul Murdaugh was shot dead. He was killed with a shot to the chest and a second to the head

WHERE PAUL DIED: Blood spatters on the floor inside the storage room at the kennels where Paul Murdaugh was shot dead. He was killed with a shot to the chest and a second to the head

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh in a photo the mother posted for Father's Day in 2020

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh in a photo the mother posted for Father’s Day in 2020

‘That made him an easy, easy, easy target for SLED,’ Jim Griffin said, arguing Murdaugh could have been ruled out as a suspect. ‘SLED failed miserably in investigating this case.’

On rebuttal on Thursday, Assistant Attorney General John Meadors stressed the prosecution didn’t need to prove motive but said all the evidence pointed at Murdaugh – who, he said, cared about himself above everyone else – as the murderer.

‘I don’t know why he killed his wife and son. I don’t have to say why. I think he did it to protect the one he loved the most, the one he really loved the most so he could keep his lifestyle and not be embarrassed financially,’ Meadors said.

For their part, Murdaugh’s lawyers have tried to paint their client as a loving family man who, while facing financial difficulties and suffering from an opioid addiction that led him to lie and steal, would never harm his wife and child.

They have floated alternative theories, with Murdaugh testifying that he believed someone angry over a deadly 2019 boating accident involving Paul likely sought revenge on his son.

Griffin described the state’s alleged motive as preposterous, arguing the murders would only draw more scrutiny, not less, to the allegations of Murdaugh’s financial misdeeds.

Buster Murdaugh, his girlfriend Brooklynn White and Alex's sister Lynn arrive at the court Thursday

Buster Murdaugh, his girlfriend Brooklynn White and Alex’s sister Lynn

Buster Murdaugh, his girlfriend Brooklynn White and Alex's sister Lynn arrive at the court Thursday

Buster Murdaugh, his girlfriend Brooklynn White and Alex’s sister Lynn arrive at the court Thursday

Griffin repeatedly highlighted the high legal bar in criminal cases of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, underscoring the challenge for prosecutors who have built their case on circumstantial rather than direct evidence.

‘If there’s any reasonable cause for you to hesitate to write ‘guilty,’ then the law requires you to write ‘not guilty,” he said.

Griffin also outlined a handful of examples where he alleges the state fabricated evidence. They included the claim that Murdaugh had high-velocity blood spatter on his shirt, an assertion contradicted by testing by SLED.

Among the state’s strongest evidence is Murdaugh’s admission from the stand last week that he’d lied about his whereabouts on the night of the killings, telling investigators he wasn’t at the dog kennels before the murders.

Murdaugh changed his account after the jury listened to audio evidence placing him at the crime scene minutes before it occurred.

Griffin attacked the in his closing argument, saying ‘there is nothing to indicate any strife or anger’ in the footage. In fact, it showed a family ‘doing what families do.’

‘Four minutes later the State would have you believe that Mr Murdaugh blows his sons brains out of his head and murders his wife,’ he added.



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