Alex Murdaugh stands with his attorneys before he is found guilty on all counts for the murder of his wife and son at the Colleton County Courthouse on March 2, 2023 | Pool photo by Joshua Boucher.

Convicted murder and former lawyer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced March 3 to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his wife and younger son in June 2021.  

Jurors on March 2 found Murdaugh guilty of murdering his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul. His six-week trial in rural Colleton County has gripped the nation.

In the Colleton County Courthouse today, S.C. Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman gave Murdaugh a chance to speak before sentencing him to two consecutive life sentences.

“As I tell you again, I respect this court,” Murdaugh said, according to the Associated Press.  “But I am innocent. I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife Maggie and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son Paul-Paul,”

Newman replied, noting Murdaugh’s dependence on painkillers:  “And it might not have been you. It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person.

Verdict came in less than three hours

Jurors deliberated for less than three hours before delivering their verdict. Alex Murdaugh, 54, was found guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. 

Following a long investigation stemming from the June 2021 shootings, prosecutors argued Alex Murdaugh killed his family to gain sympathy and buy time to cover up the theft from clients of millions of dollars over years that was on the verge of being discovered.  They also said that after the murders, he staged an attempt on his own life to secure a multimillion dollar life insurance payout for his surviving son. The convicted killer still faces dozens of charges related to alleged financial wrongdoings.

During the six-week trial attended daily by more than 200 people, jurors heard from more than 75 witnesses and saw hundreds of pieces of evidence.  This week, they also visited the scene of the killings, the family’s Moselle estate in Hampton and Colleton counties. 

Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were found fatally shot near dog kennels at the estate. Alex Murdaugh admitted in court that he previously lied to investigators, telling them he was not at the kennels before finding their bodies. He also admitted to stealing from his clients, but strongly insisted he was innocent in the deaths of his wife and son. 

In other news this week:

Charleston’s IAAM sets new opening date for June 27 after delayThe International African American Museum (IAAM) is scheduled to open for visitors on June 27, five months after its January planned opening was delayed due to high humidity and temperatures inside the new building.  An opening ceremony will be June 24.

S.C. lawmakers propose bill to make abortions punishable as homicidesSouth Carolina lawmakers proposed a bill to consider the punishment for women and those who enable abortions similar to homicide punishments.

S.C. lawmakers call for impeachment of comptroller general. A panel at the South Carolina State House is in the midst of investigating the $3.5 billion error by the state’s comptroller general, Richard Eckstrom. Some want him impeached..

S.C. House OKs penalties for convictions on bond. People charged with a violent crime who commit another crime while out on bond could face more prison time under additional sentences.

S.C. House approves referendum on state aid for private schools. The S.C. House moved to repeal a prohibition on funding private schools with public dollars as a Republican-backed voucher plan advances in the General Assembly.

Nearly 800 die in S.C. prisons, jails over 7 years. Some 777 prisoners in state jails and prisons died between 2015 and 2021, according to a new report by researchers at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  “Of the 777 deaths statewide analyzed by researchers, 109 of the people had not been convicted of a crime but were awaiting trial,” according to a story in The State newspaper. “More than 500 of the deaths were attributed to medical reasons. Almost 90 were deaths by suicide.”

Harris touts broadband connection in S.C. Vice President Kamala Harris promoted the Biden administration’s achievements on broadband internet access during a visit to South Carolina. She supported the use of $175 million being spent to help improve high-speed internet infrastructure at historically Black colleges and institutions. Meanwhile, former Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to visit S.C. Thursday. 

S.C.’s Benjamin takes over major White House rolePresident Joe Biden on Monday announced the appointment of former Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin as director of the White House Office of Engagement.

Ways to combat pollen this season. Some tips to prevent a stuffy nose, itchy eyes and remedies for pollen allergies.

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