A jury has found disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh guilty of the 2021 brutal murder of his wife and youngest son at the family property.
The jury reached its verdict after deliberating nearly three hours on Thursday after hearing five weeks’ worth of testimony from more than 70 witnesses – including Alex Murdaugh himself, who denied the murders but admitted lying to investigators and defrauding his clients .
He was found guilty of all four charges – two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime.
Judge Clifton Newman said the court would reconvene Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. local time for sentencing. Alex Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison for the murder charge.
Alex Murdaugh, 54, appeared to show no emotion as the verdict was read. He was handcuffed and silently led out of the courtroom.
The verdict proved that “no one in society is above the law,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson told reporters outside the courthouse after the verdict.
“It doesn’t matter how prominent you are – if you do wrong, if you break the law, if you kill, justice will be served in South Carolina,” Chief Prosecutor Creighton Waters told reporters.
The jury visited the family estate, Moselle, on Wednesday to view the crime scene ahead of deliberations. The bodies of Margaret Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found dead in June 2021 from multiple gunshot wounds near the dog kennels on the family estate, authorities said.
Alex Murdaugh, who called 911 to report the discovery, was charged with their murders more than a year later.
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Prosecutors allege that Alex Murdaugh, who comes from a legacy of prominent lawyers in the region, killed his wife and son to gain sympathy and distract from his financial misdeeds.
Meanwhile, the defense has portrayed him as a loving husband and father, arguing that police ignored the possibility that someone else could have killed them. While testifying, Alex Murdaugh blamed lying to investigators for his addiction to painkillers, which he said caused “paranoid thoughts.”
During his nearly four-hour closing argument on Wednesday, Waters stated that Alex Murdaugh was the only person “who had the motive, who had the means, who had the opportunity to commit these crimes” and that his “guilty conduct following these crimes betrays him .”
Waters told the jurors that credibility is important and portrayed Murdaugh as someone who could lie well and was used to anticipating how jurors read things.
“This is a person trained to understand how to put together cases, complex cases. He’s been a prosecutor,” Waters said. “He has given closing arguments to juries before. So if you have a defendant like that, think about whether or not this person is building defenses and alibis.”
Waters recounted a timeline that investigators put together of Murdaugh’s three cellphones on the day of the murders, including a video of Paul Murdaugh’s phone that Alex Murdaugh placed at the kennels minutes before authorities believed the shootings happened — contradicting with previous statements saying he was never in the kennels.
Waters said the last time Alex Murdaugh saw his wife and child alive was the “most important thing” he could have told police.
“Why would an innocent, reasonable father and husband lie about that and lie about it so early?” Waters said.
MORE: Alex Murdaugh says he lied to investigators during testimony in double murder trial
The defense argued that the state had failed to prove its guilt and that investigators “failed miserably” in the case, immediately deciding that Alex Murdaugh was responsible for killing his wife and son and never looked anywhere else. been looking.
Defense attorney Jim Griffin told jurors during his closing argument on Thursday about the many missed opportunities and pointed to evidence investigators had not collected, including footprints, fingerprints and DNA. He also played videos of prosecution witnesses testifying how much Alex Murdaugh loved his wife and son.
“That brings us to the question, why?” said Griffin, ignoring the state’s proposed motive that years of lies and theft were about to catch up with Alex Murdaugh and that the murders were a way to divert attention.
“Even as the financial day of reckoning approached, if it was right there, he wouldn’t have killed the people he loved most in the world,” he said. “There is no evidence that he would.”
Griffin also shared that Alex Murdaugh admitted to lying to investigators about his alibi the night of the shooting.
“I probably wouldn’t be sitting there right now if he wasn’t lying. But he was lying, and he told you he was lying,” Griffin told 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 to be looked at anymore.”
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In the months following the murder of his wife and son, Alex Murdaugh resigned from his law firm, which sued him for allegedly funneling stolen money from clients and the law firm to a bogus bank account for years. He also said he entered rehab for opioid addiction.
Alex Murdaugh faces about 100 other charges on charges ranging from money laundering to faking his own death so his surviving son could cash in on his $10 million life insurance policy. He was also charged with embezzling settlement funds in the death of his housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who reportedly died following an accident at the Murdaugh family home in February 2018.
Janice McDonald of ABC News contributed to this report.
Alex Murdaugh found guilty of murdering wife, son originally appeared on abcnews.go.com