Richard “Alex” Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer found guilty of murdering his wife and son in a gruesome and complex case that has received international attention, faces 30 years to life if sentenced by a judge today.
On Thursday, a South Carolina jury found Murdaugh, 54, guilty of shooting dead his wife Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, 22, on their family estate on June 7, 2021, on June 7, 2021. He was also convicted of two related firearm charges. cost.
Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman scheduled a sentencing hearing for 9:30am, which is 2:30pm in the UK.
Murdaugh, the scion of an influential legal family in an area west of Charleston, faces 30 years to life in prison for each of the two counts of murder under South Carolina law.
Mr Newman, who will administer the sentence, told the jury he believed they had made the right decision. After listening to testimonies for five weeks, it took the jury just three hours to deliberate before reaching a verdict.
“The evidence of guilt is overwhelming,” Newman said Thursday as he rejected a defense motion for a mistrial.
Follow the latest updates below.
How this will turn out
Murdaugh will soon be brought into court.
Victim statements may be read in court.
Buster Murdaugh, whose mother and brother were killed in the attack, will now watch as his father is taken away to likely spend the rest of his life behind bars. He was on the witness stand during the trial, but is allowed to speak again today.
Maggie Murdaugh’s parents were on the witness list, but were never called. They could also issue a victim impact statement.
Then comes the sentencing. Murdaugh faces anywhere from 30 years to life. Commentators expect him to receive a lifetime tariff.
He will then be taken into custody by the corrections department.
The Murdaugh family dynasty fell apart
As Alex Murdaugh stands before a judge to learn his fate, he will be in the same courtroom on the circuit where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases for over 80 years as elected prosecutor. His grandfather’s portrait hung in the back of the room until the judge ordered it removed before trial.
Instead of the shirt and sport coat he wore during the six-week trial, the lawyer who made millions suing major corporations on behalf of people injured in wrecks arrived in New York the day after he was convicted of two murders. a prison jumpsuit at court. .
Why the extraordinary story grips America
Between the drama unfolding in the courtroom and a well-timed Netflix documentary on the small screen, the nation is hooked.
Read Josie Ensor’s piece on how the trial has gripped America.
Sentencing begins at 2:30pm GMT (9:30am EST)
The Telegraph will broadcast a live stream of Alex Murdaugh’s sentencing, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in South Carolina, which is 2:30 p.m. in the UK.
The 54-year-old faces a prison sentence of 30 years to life.
How we got here
The case has attracted significant media attention given the family’s immense political power in and around Colleton County, where the trial took place. For decades until 2006, family members served as the area’s leading plaintiff, and Murdaugh was a prominent personal injury attorney in the Deep South state.
During the trial, prosecutors portrayed Murdaugh as a serial liar and argued that only he had the means and ability to commit the murders. Prosecutors said he shot his wife and son to distract from a string of financial misdeeds, including the theft of millions of dollars from his law partners and clients — money used to fuel a years-long addiction to opioids and an expensive lifestyle to support.
For their part, Murdaugh’s lawyers tried to portray their client as a loving family man who, though struggling financially and suffering from an opioid addiction that led him to lie and steal, would never harm his wife and child.
Murdaugh pleaded not guilty, but admitted to lying about his whereabouts the night of the murders after evidence emerged allowing him to be at the scene, eroding his credibility with the jury.