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Alex Murdaugh trial opening statements


Alex Murdaugh sits with his legal team as jury selection continues before his trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, on January 24.
Alex Murdaugh sits with his legal team as jury selection continues before his trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, on January 24. (Joshua Boucher/Pool/The State/AP)

Alex Murdaugh is a member of one of the most powerful family dynasties in coastal South Carolina.

Three generations before him served as 14th Circuit Solicitors — leading prosecutions for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties in the state.

Murdaugh worked at the law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED), according to the firm. He was married to Margaret Murdaugh and they had two sons: Buster and Paul.

On June 7, 2021, Murdaugh called 911 to report he had found his wife and son Paul shot dead outside their home in Islandton, a community about an hour away from Hilton Head Island, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said.

Less than three months after the double homicide, he was shot in the head.

In the week following his shooting, his law firm announced Murdaugh resigned after the discovery that he had “misappropriated funds.”

The state then Supreme Court suspended his license to practice law in South Carolina. Murdaugh also announced he planned to begin an unspecified rehabilitation treatment, saying in a statement through his attorney the killings of his wife and son “caused an incredibly difficult time in my life” and exacerbated a “long battle.”

On Sept. 13 — nine days after his shooting — Murdaugh admitted to authorities he had arranged for a former client to kill him as part of a suicidal fraud scheme, according to an affidavit to support charges against the alleged gunman.

In a statement obtained in September 2021, two of his attorneys, Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian, said Alex Murdaugh’s life “has been devastated by an opioid addiction” and early that month, “it became clear Alex believed that ending his life was his only option. Today, he knows that’s not true.”



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