‘Don’t trust your soul to no backwoods southern lawyer’


Artwork by Adeline Theophilus

State prosecutors claim Murdaugh killed his wife and son to gain sympathy and “escape accountability” for his string of financial crimes.

Adeline Theophilus, Staff Writer

In the sweet quiet town of Islandton, South Carolina, people are seen as sweet neighbors who normally mind their own business. On the dark night of June 7, 2021, the viewpoint of this town changed for the worse. 

Murdaugh was a popular name in South Carolina. The family was a very successful chain of lawyers and the last name “Murdaugh” was widely known throughout the country. But it was the night of June 7 when the name was about to be even more known. 

On June 7, 2021, the SC police department received a disturbing late-night phone call to the Murdaugh residence. The father, Alex, made the call and was in shambles. He explained to the police that he walked into his son and wife shot dead in their family hunting lodge. He told them to hurry and save his child. 

When police arrived, they encountered the horrific sight of Maggie Murdaugh shot dead in a pool of blood. Alongside her was her son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, also shot dead. The police were stunned by the horrific sight, but Paul was in even more shock. He immediately cooperated with the police and answered all their questions. 

It is important to know more about the Murdaugh family prior to these events; aside from being a family chain of lawyers, they already had multiple criminal charges towards them. At the time of the murders, Paul, the son, had been charged with the murder of Mallory Beach in a boating accident. This incident dated back to 2019, and Paul never faced a court date. Secondly, Alex Murdaugh had been charged with conspiracy, false claim for payment and filing a false police report in the alleged botched suicide plot on Sept. 4, 2021. In the bizarre incident, Murdaugh was shot in the head on the side of a road a day after he was forced to resign from his law firm. All of this led to Maggie Murdaugh filing for divorce, which then sent Alex into a downward spiral.  

At this point, everyone was questioning Alex’s motive to kill his son and wife. Although he never admitted it, the whole nation suspected he was the killer. The trial began Jan. 25 and went into Mar. 2. Through all of the trials, Alex continued to plead innocent. The police named him as a suspect when his cell phone was tracked at the location at the exact time of the murders. In an attempt to lie his way out of this, Alex claimed he was visiting his aunt and left his phone at home. Police found this hard to believe and from that point on, they were able to gather more and more evidence. 

As the trial came to an end, there was still no justice for Maggie and Paul Murdaugh until Mar. 2, 2023 came around. That day, the court finalized Alex Murdaugh with a guilty verdict on all four counts. Murdaugh, who pleaded not guilty, was given two life sentences to run consecutively without the possibility of parole. The jury had concluded that the motive for the murders was to distract and delay investigations into his financial wrongdoing. Justice was served to his family, but they will not stop fighting to spread awareness.