true crime

Alex Murdaugh was at the centre of Netflix's Murdaugh Murders. That was just the beginning.

In 2023, Netflix released a docuseries exploring the brutal murders of Margaret Murdaugh and her son, Paul, both members of South Carolina's prominent Murdaugh family. 

Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal examined the murders, and the fascinating trial of family patriarch, Alex Murdaugh, who was charged and ultimately convicted of the murders. 

But the killing of his wife and son was just the beginning of the renowned prosecutor’s stunning fall from grace, with new revelations about his conduct coming to light this week, resulting in an additional 40-year prison sentence.

Watch the trailer for Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal. Post continues after the video.

Video via Netflix.

The murders. 

The murder of 52-year-old Margaret Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh and the subsequent investigation into their deaths sent shockwaves through South Carolina’s Lowcountry community, shattering the reputation of the family who held top prosecution roles for more than 90 years. 

In 2021, Margaret and Paul were found dead on the Murdaugh property, near the family’s dog kennels. Alex Murdaugh quickly became a suspect, and within a year, he’d been indicted on two counts of murder.


During the six-week trial, which began in January 2023, the jury was shown tapes of Murdaugh’s police interviews, including one where the husband and father describes discovering his slain family. 

"When I came back here, I mean, I pulled up and I could see them, and, you know, I knew something was bad," he said. "I called 911 pretty much right away."

The Murdaugh family - Buster, mother Maggie, Paul, and father Alex. Image: Netflix.


First responders reported discovering a particularly gruesome scene after arriving at the Murdaugh home.

The mother and son had been shot, with investigators arguing the guns used belonged to the Murdaugh family. While the actual weapons were never found, the jury found Murdaugh guilty of all charges, and he received two consecutive life sentences. 

Whilst Murdaugh never admitted guilt, the murders triggered a string of other accusations, including that Murdaugh hired someone to kill him so his oldest son could collect his life insurance. There was also speculation around his involvement in the death of the family’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died after a fall at the Murdaugh home.

Guilty of fraud.

During the trial, Murdaugh admitted to embezzling money from his law firm, misleading clients and lying to his family about his drug addiction. Last year, he pleaded guilty to 14 counts of money laundering, five counts of wire fraud, one count of bank fraud and other charges. 

Satterfield, the housekeeper, was among his financial victims. Murdaugh was also accused of cheating clients out of settlement money and creating fraudulent bank accounts. 

A year after admitting to the financial misconduct, but denying the murders of his wife and son, Murdaugh was sentenced to 27 years in state prison. 

Prosecutors suggested Murdaugh killed his family to generate sympathy and create enough distraction to divert attention from the financial crimes putting his family’s pristine reputation at risk. Murdaugh was found to have lied about his whereabouts on the night of the murders but blamed his longtime addiction to prescription opioids for any discrepancies. 


A new conviction.

This week, Murdaugh was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for a string of additional fraud schemes to steal from clients. In September, the convicted murderer pleaded guilty to money laundering, wire fraud and bank fraud. Both his state and federal sentences will run concurrently. 

District Judge Richard Gergel told the court Murdaugh took advantage of “the most needy, vulnerable people,” according to AP. "They placed all their problems and all their hopes on Mr. Murdaugh and it is from those people he abused and stole. It is a difficult set of actions to understand," Gergel said.

Murdaugh blamed his drug addiction for his wrongdoing. 

"I do believe that my addiction contributed to me doing some of the things that I did," Murdaugh said, according to NBC News. "And Judge Gergel, I hope with every cell of my existence, I hope that I will not have done what I did had I not been addicted to opioids."

Murdaugh was also ordered to pay more than $8.7 million to his victims. 

While Murdaugh intends to appeal his murder convictions, he will remain in prison for at least 40 years, regardless of the outcome. 

Feature image: AP.

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