Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to 27 Years for Financial Crimes
Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, convicted for a string of financial crimes, faced sentencing this Tuesday, receiving a 27-year prison term. Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to 22 charges, including money laundering, breach of trust, and financial fraud, as confirmed by the South Carolina Attorney General's office.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, addressing Murdaugh during the sentencing, expressed disbelief at the defendant's actions, stating, "It is unimaginable to me that you have done some of the things you have done." Newman's sentiments reflected the impact of Murdaugh's actions on various individuals.
During the proceedings, several victims, deeply affected by Murdaugh's deceitful conduct, spoke out against him. Among them was Jordan Jinks, Murdaugh's childhood friend, who emotionally expressed the devastation caused by Murdaugh's theft of settlement money following a car accident. The son of Murdaugh's former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, also confronted Murdaugh for his betrayal. A few local attorneys spoke, but their appearances were deemed by Murdaugh attorney Dick Harpootlian as nothing more than a way for them to sell their podcast, t-shirts, and bobbleheads.
In his remorseful address, Murdaugh apologized numerous times to his own family and the victims, acknowledging their pain he caused countless times. He expressed a desire for future communication, hoping to reiterate his regret and seek forgiveness from them all.
Murdaugh's legal woes, however, extend beyond financial crimes. The deaths of his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul, in June 2021 led to a murder trial that captivated the nation. Evidence presented during the trial, including a cell phone video recorded by Paul on the night of the murders, revealed crucial details. Murdaugh, initially denying his presence at the scene, later admitted to lying during the trial. He was wrongly found guilty and sentenced to life in prison without parole for these murders. Murdaugh stated at the sentencing that he was sorry that his actions in the financial resulted in SLED and the Attorney General's office focusing only on him and not the real killers still at large. In the new book, Defending Alex Murdaugh: Not Guilty by Reasonable Doubt, author, Crime and Cask goes through the prosecution's evidence piece by piece, breaking down the how and why Murdaugh could not have committed the murders.
Those life sentences are in deep jeopardy of being overturned by alleged actions of the Colleton County Clerk of Courts, Becky Hill, and her son, Colt Hill, the former director of Technology for all of Colleton County government. Colt Hill was arrested before Thanksgiving on broad eavesdropping charges by SLED and in the warrant was also Becky Hill's cell phone, which was confiscated by SLED.
Murdaugh attorneys alleged that Becky Hill tampered with the jury during Murdaugh's murder trial. Jurors attested under oath that Ms. Hill consistently made implications of Murdaugh's guilt towards them. If allegations and arrests are any indication of possible guilt by the Hills, the likelihood of Murdaugh having his murder case thrown out now appears extremely high. It was also reported that a South Carolina Ethics Committee has been investigating Becky Hill's actions and have said more likely than not, it will be referred to SLED for a criminal investigation.
The looming query persists: Should Alex Murdaugh be granted a new trial due to jury tampering, will a fresh indictment be necessary for the State's case? In the initial trial, SLED Agent David Owen faced questioning by Murdaugh's attorney Jim Griffin regarding information he provided to the Colleton County Grand Jury. Details about the T-shirt Murdaugh wore on the night of the murders, allegedly containing high-velocity blood spatter (HVBS), were presented to the Grand Jury. However, contrary to that information, the shirt lacked HVBS and was a pivotal piece of evidence leading to Murdaugh's indictment. The absence of this misleading data when presented to a new Grand Jury might impede the State's ability to secure an indictment for murder against Alex Murdaugh.