The unsolved murders of a lawyer’s wife and son have sparked new investigations into three other deaths in recent years.
Islandon, SC – The unsolved murder of a mother and son. Theft amounting to crores of rupees. The latest investigation into a fatal boat accident and the fatal fall of a housekeeper.
The mysteries swirling around a lawyer and his family in South Carolina have only gotten more tragic and perplexing this summer, and with them have come two arrests, surprising twists and complicated theories – as many more parts of the case remain unsolved. Huh. At its center is the Murdoff family, whose members have held powerful legal positions in the southern part of the state over 100 years ago.
It all began on June 7, when Alex Murdog, a lawyer whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather all served as top prosecutors in a large area of the state, was late to find his wife and one of their two sons. Came home at night shot to death.
His murders remain unsolved, and things have become more complicated since then. Preliminary investigations have led to several more in the last three deaths near the family, and Mr Murdog ends up in handcuffs after making a bizarre plan to commit his own suicide to look like a murder on 16 September. done.
Here’s what to know.
What Happened In The Original ‘Murdog Murders’?
The fatal shootings of Murdoff’s wife, 52-year-old Maggie, and their son, Paul, a 22-year-old junior at the University of South Carolina, rocked the state’s Lowcountry region, where the family had established their legal dynasty. The killings became known as the Murdoff murders.
Few details have been released about the attack, and no arrests have been made.
Mr Murdoff discovered their bodies when he returned to the family’s secluded home in Islandton, a rural village about 65 miles west of Charleston.
In the audio of his call to 911, which he placed after 10 p.m., a distraught Mr Murdog said he had reached home and found their bodies on the ground “in my kennel”.
“I’m up for it now, it’s bad,” Murdoff told the dispatcher. He said neither his wife nor his son was breathing, and asked emergency responders to hurry. “Are they close, ma’am?”
Officials from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office wrote in reports that they had discovered several shell casings and called a tow truck company to the scene. He also said he had looked for surveillance cameras from neighboring homes and businesses, although the heavily revised police report does not indicate whether he found any.
How was Alex Murdaugh shot and why was he arrested?
Nearly three months after the murder of his wife and son, 53-year-old Alex Murdoff was forced to resign from his family law firm, PMPED – the firm’s leaders said Mr Murdog had misappropriated millions of dollars. Client and surety money, which has not been denied by his lawyers.
The next day, September 4, Mr. Murdog called 911 and was told that he had been shot in the head on the side of a rural road not far from his home. He survived with only a minor wound and initially claimed he was shot by someone who pulled up next to him as he was inspecting a flat tire on his car. But the story soon broke down.
Mr Murdoff soon admitted that he had actually paid a former client to be shot in the head. Murdoff’s lawyers said he had come up with a plan to make his suicide look like a homicide because he had a false belief that his life insurance plan would not cover his death if his death was ruled a suicide. He wanted to leave his eldest son, Buster, with a payment of $10 million.
Two days after the shooting, Mr Murdoff issued a statement apologizing to his “family, friends and coworkers” and said he was entering rehab. His lawyers said he had been addicted to oxycodone for years and that his abuse of painkillers had worsened after the deaths of his wife and son.
His plan to kill his former client ended with the arrests of both Mr. Murdoff and former client, Curtis E. Smith, 61. Mr. Smith was charged with aggravated assault, attempted suicide and aiding in insurance fraud.
Mr Murdoff presented himself to police on 16 September and was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report, all offences.
In a Hampton County courtroom, Mr Murdoff cried behind a face mask as he sat handcuffed and in prison jumpsuits as one of his lawyers described his “fall from grace”. He was released from prison without any money and returned to the rehabilitation center, which was told by his lawyers to be in another state.
Mr. Murdaugh and his lawyers have strongly denied that he had any involvement in the deaths of his wife and son.
One of his lawyers, Dick Harputlian, who is also a state senator, told the court, “He has been involved in only one violence, which he himself perpetrated.”
What does this have to do with the boat accident?
At the time of his death, the slain son, Paul Murdog, was out on bail on charges of drunkenly crashing a boat in a crash in 2019 that killed one of his passengers, Mallory Beach, 19, and injured one. many others.
Documents & Videos released after his death Questions have been raised on whether the police was lax or treated him favourably. One of the boat’s six passengers told a Department of Natural Resources official shortly after the accident that Paul Murdog was driving the boat, but the officer wrote in a report that the passenger said he was not sure who was driving. Was.
South Carolina’s attorney general is still investigating the accident, in which Paul Murdog faced a charge of boating causing death and two counts of boating under the influence, which caused major bodily injury, all hooliganism. Officials have not made any connection between the boat accident and the double murder.
In June, two of Alex Murdaugh’s brothers appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” and said in one of the family’s few public comments that their nephew Paul had been receiving threatening messages since he was charged in a boat accident.
How did a housekeeper die in Murdoff’s house in 2018?
In February 2018, Gloria Satterfield, who had worked as a nanny and housekeeper for Alex Murdaugh and his family for more than 20 years, collapsed at their home and died of her injuries later that month.
At the time the death was thought to be an accidental fall, but on September 15, the coroner in Hampton County, SC wrote in a letter to state police that Ms. Satterfield’s death had not been reported to the coroner and no autopsy was performed. had gone. operated. The coroner, Angela Topper, said the death was listed as “natural” on Ms Satterfield’s death certificate, which by no means meant it was an accidental fall.
That same week, Ms. Satterfield’s two sons said they had never received any money from the $505,000 settlement that their previous lawyer had reached with Mr. Murdaugh in the trial for Ms. Satterfield’s death. That trial filed a wrongful death claim but did not allege any criminality on Murdoff’s part. The sons, now represented by the new attorneys, filed a new lawsuit against Murdoff and his old lawyer, demanding transparency as to where the money had gone.
All of this led the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, which is investigating the Murdoff murders, to launch a new investigation into Ms. Satterfield’s death and settlement payments.
Ronnie Richter, one of Ms Satterfield’s sons’ attorneys, said: “I don’t remember a case requiring more sunlight than this.” “Where it comes from, that’s a good thing.”
And the young man met on the side of the road in 2015?
The housekeeper’s death isn’t the only one to warrant fresh investigation.
In June, weeks after the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdoff, the South Carolina Department of Law Enforcement announced that it was launching a new investigation into the death of a 19-year-old man, Stephen Smith, who was found near a street in the United States. 10 miles from Murdoff home.
His death has not been fully explained, and no arrests have been made. It was initially investigated as a possible shooting, then it was considered a hit and run. Police files suggest that Mr Smith ran out of gas several miles from the side of the road where his body was found.
Police have not accused the Murdoff family of wrongdoing in the case, and they have not said what prompted them – during Murdoff’s investigation – to launch an investigation into Mr. Smith’s death.
“I’ve been waiting for this day for 2,174 days,” said Mr. Smith’s mother, Sandy Smith, told FITSNews, an online news outlet, in June after learning that the state police would review her son’s death.
How powerful is the Murdoff family?
The Murdoff legal dynasty goes back to Randolph Murdoff, who ran a one-man law office before being elected in 1920, as the first chief prosecutor for the five-county area, which covers 3,200 square miles.
He served in this position for two decades before he was killed in a train accident. Then his son, Randolph “Buster” Murdoff, Jr. took over the office known as the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. The younger Murdoch was in this position for 46 years and when he retired, his son, Randolph Murdoff III, was elected father of Alex Murdaugh, serving until 2006.
Alex Murdog never ran for a prosecutor’s job, but he worked as a volunteer prosecutor and occasionally helped his father with cases. She was officially removed from that volunteer role in September, Island Packet newspaper reported.