Beginning in late January, former lawyer Alex Murdaugh will go on trial for the murders of his wife and youngest son. According to a scheduling order filed on Tuesday by state Judge Bentley Price, the administrative judge for Colleton County, where the trial will take place, the trial is anticipated to span three weeks, from January 23 through February 10.
The case has been assigned to Judge Clifton Newman. In a statement released on Thursday, Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said: “Alex is looking forward to his day in court, and we are certain that he will be acquitted once an impartial Colleton County jury analyses all the evidence.”
They said that Alex “continues to hope everyone accountable for Maggie and Paul’s passing will ultimately be brought to justice.” It took more than a year for a state grand jury to indict Murdaugh for the shooting murders of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, 22, in June 2021 at the family’s 1,700-acre home in Colleton County.
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The unsolved murders at that time were the subject of national and even international news interest. The case numerous television documentaries have been made or are in the works and more than six authors are penning books. There are numerous social media platforms and podcasts devoted to the case.
Murdaugh has often stated that he wants to be found not guilty at trial so that the State Law Enforcement Division can discover the “actual” murderer. He has entered a not-guilty plea. Most scientific and technological evidence, which will likely support the prosecution’s case, has not yet been made public. The evidence in the case has not received much attention from the trial or SLED.
WATCH LIVE: Alex Murdaugh double-murder trial continues https://t.co/ZawQt0N7ML
— Justin M. Lovely (@myrtleinjurylaw) January 30, 2023
Videos, eyewitnesses, and the location of the murder weapons are all unknown. A shotgun killed Paul and Maggie with a rifle. Murdaugh claims that on the evening of June 7, 2021, when he arrived home an hour after dusk, he saw their dead lying on the ground next to some distant dog kennels.
The trial, which will probably be broadcast on television, is predicted to be one of the most closely followed courtroom dramas in recent memory. Murdaugh, 54, was hit with a series of indictments accusing him of stealing from customers, other attorneys, associates, and his legal company over the years before he was charged with their deaths last July.
Murdaugh is accused of committing thefts totaling around $8.4 million over more than a dozen years, in addition to the murder accusation. The financial crimes cases have not yet been scheduled for trial. Murdaugh is a fourth-generation member of a robust legal family with a reputation for political clout, social prominence, significant land holdings, and personal wealth, heightening the case’s public attention.
His great-grandfather, grandpa, and father each worked as an elected criminal prosecutor for over 85 years in the Lowcountry’s five counties. Ironically, an oil portrait of Murdaugh’s late grandpa, the illustrious Buster Murdaugh, who served as a solicitor from 1940 to 1987, sits on the back wall of the courtroom where he will be prosecuted for murder.
Each of the prior Murdaughs also belonged to the family law practice, known for years for obtaining significant settlements and judgments against corporations in wrongful death and personal injury cases. In September 2021, the company fired Murdaugh after learning that he had stolen money, according to the company.