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Alex Murdaugh was talentless lawyer who got plum job with family connections, per local editor


Alex Murdaugh has been dismissed as a ‘talentless’ lawyer who only made a successful career because of his family’s generations-old legal connections.   

‘Alex inherited the last name and the red hair, and very little of the talent,’ Hampton Country Guardian editor Michael DeWitt told CBS on Saturday

Hampton County Guardian editor Michael J. DeWitt Jr. pulled no punches when discussing the legal abilities of his local area’s most infamous resident.

The local journalist, who has extensive knowledge of the disgraced family, told CBS’s 48 Hours: ‘The Murdaughs built an empire of sorts here in the Lowcountry.

‘It began over a century ago when the family established a law firm. Three generations of Murdaugh men also held the public office of solicitor, the chief prosecutor. Alex Murdaugh didn’t continue that tradition.’

‘Alex inherited the last name and the red hair, and very little of the talent.’

Murdaugh did work as an attorney for PMPED, a firm his family set up last month.

But he was ousted in a double-disgrace that saw him accused of stealing millions in cash from the firm, and also using its reputation to withhold a $4 million settlement from the sons of a housekeeper killed in a mysterious 2018 accident at his home. 

Murdaugh has confessed to battling an opioid addiction for years, which his attorney says has ruined him financially. 

DeWitt called the period before 2019, when a boat driven by Murdaugh’s now-deceased son Paul took the life of Mallory Beach and set off a domino effect of death and scandal for the Murdaughs, the ‘good old days.’ 

Before the convoluted happenings surrounding the Murdaugh family became a scandal factory, Hampton County Guardian editor Michael J. DeWitt Jr. (pictured) - like many journalists in quiet communities - often had to dig deep to find headlines. He shared his first-hand experience with the Murdaugh family saga with CBS's 48 Hours on Saturday

Before the convoluted happenings surrounding the Murdaugh family became a scandal factory, Hampton County Guardian editor Michael J. DeWitt Jr. (pictured) – like many journalists in quiet communities – often had to dig deep to find headlines. He shared his first-hand experience with the Murdaugh family saga with CBS’s 48 Hours on Saturday

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh. Murdaugh's wife Maggie and son Paul were found shot dead at the family's hunting lodge in a horrific double murder in June

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh. Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were found shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge in a horrific double murder in June

On September 2, Alex Murdaugh allegedly instructed his friend and alleged Oxycontin dealer Curtis Smith to shoot him dead along the road pictured here - the attempt failed and Murdaugh survived

On September 2, Alex Murdaugh allegedly instructed his friend and alleged Oxycontin dealer Curtis Smith to shoot him dead along the road pictured here – the attempt failed and Murdaugh survived

On September 2, Alex Murdaugh allegedly instructed his friend and alleged Oxycontin dealer Curtis Smith to shoot him dead – the attempt failed and Murdaugh survived. 

On September 16, Murdaugh turned himself in on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy and filing a false police report.

The attempt was a fiasco and his story quickly imploded as it transpired that he was suspected of embezzling millions from Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick, the family law firm of which he was a partner. He issued an apology of sorts in which he confessed to years of opioid addiction and said that he had checked himself into rehab.

‘The fact that a Murdaugh sat in a chair in a jumpsuit with handcuffs is somethin’ I’ve never seen in my lifetime,’ DeWitt told CBS, expressing shock at the sudden and total disgrace inflicted on the famed family. 

'The fact that a Murdaugh sat in a chair in a jumpsuit with handcuffs is somethin' I've never seen in my lifetime,' DeWitt told CBS

‘The fact that a Murdaugh sat in a chair in a jumpsuit with handcuffs is somethin’ I’ve never seen in my lifetime,’ DeWitt told CBS

Buster (pictured), 25, is the only surviving heir to family fortune - on June 7 of this year, Alex Murdaugh called police, telling dispatchers that he came home to find his wife, Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22, 'shot bad'

Buster (pictured), 25, is the only surviving heir to family fortune – on June 7 of this year, Alex Murdaugh called police, telling dispatchers that he came home to find his wife, Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22, ‘shot bad’

In court, Murdaugh said he set up the elaborate ruse so that his  surviving son, Buster, would receive his $10M insurance policy. 

Buster, 25, is the only surviving heir to family fortune – on June 7 of this year, Alex Murdaugh called police, telling dispatchers that he came home to find his wife, Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22, ‘shot bad’ at the family’s hunting lodge. 

The circumstances surrounding their deaths are still a mystery.

‘Sources tell media that Maggie was killed with some type of automatic rifle like an AR-15 of some sort,’ DeWitt said. ‘And Paul was killed with a shotgun and they were both shot multiple times.’

This information has yet to be released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the state’s top law agency – attempts by DailyMail.com to contact SLED were not successful. 

Despite the alleged generational gap of courtroom talent, Murdaugh’s family spent their time on a 1,700-acre estate and, DeWitt said, two private islands off the Carolina Coast, one of which was nicknamed ‘Murdaugh Island.’ 

Alex Murdaugh’s empire was mentioned in two murder investigations, but no convictions were made.

The 2015 death of Stephen Smith, was characterized as a hit-and-run despite ‘no vehicle debris, no broken headlight or paint scrapes or— or anything,’ said DeWitt. The Murdaugh family was brought up ‘multiple times’ in an investigation into the death, it was revealed after Margaret and Paul were found dead.

Smith, 19, was a popular local teenager. He was gay, with some worrying that his sexuality may have ultimately led to his death.  

And, three years after Mallory Beach died in a boat that was driven from one of the family’s private islands by inebriated Paul Murdaugh before crashing into a Beaufort County Bridge at more than 30 miles per hour, her family has yet to receive a payout. 

The 2015 death of Stephen Smith (pictured) in 2019, was characterized as a hit-and-run despite 'no vehicle debris, no broken headlight or paint scrapes or— or anything,' said DeWitt

The 2015 death of Stephen Smith (pictured) in 2019, was characterized as a hit-and-run despite ‘no vehicle debris, no broken headlight or paint scrapes or— or anything,’ said DeWitt

And, three years after Mallory Beach (pictured) died in a boat that was driven from one of the family's private islands by inebriated Paul Murdaugh before crashing into a Beaufort County Bridge at more than 30 miles per hour, her family has yet to receive a payout

And, three years after Mallory Beach (pictured) died in a boat that was driven from one of the family’s private islands by inebriated Paul Murdaugh before crashing into a Beaufort County Bridge at more than 30 miles per hour, her family has yet to receive a payout

Pictured is the boat that crashed into a Beaumont County bridge, leading to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach. 'If the lawsuit would be settled... we can get on with our lives,' Beach's mother, Lynn Reavis, told 48 Hours. 'Because Mallory died almost three years ago. And every time these stories come out, it's like it happens all over again'

Pictured is the boat that crashed into a Beaumont County bridge, leading to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach. ‘If the lawsuit would be settled… we can get on with our lives,’ Beach’s mother, Lynn Reavis, told 48 Hours. ‘Because Mallory died almost three years ago. And every time these stories come out, it’s like it happens all over again’

‘If the lawsuit would be settled… we can get on with our lives,’ Beach’s mother, Lynn Reavis, told 48 Hours. ‘Because Mallory died almost three years ago. And every time these stories come out, it’s like it happens all over again.’

DeWitt had two theories regarding the unsolved slaying of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh: 

‘One, Alex Murdaugh had somethin’ to do with it.’ he posited. 

‘The other theory was it’s — this was somehow related to the boat crash. Somebody wanted justice that they didn’t think they would get in the courts, in relation to the boat crash.’

 The four survivors of the boat crash, who were all under the age of 21 at the time of the incident, all submitted to DNA testing shortly after Paul and Margaret’s deaths of their own volition. 

The family of Mallory Beach is currently suing the Murdaugh estate, as is the family of Gloria Satterfield, the family’s maid of 22 years who ‘tripped over the family dogs,’ sustaining a head injury that killed her 21 days later, in the same home where Paul and Margaret would be found dead three years later. 

The family of Mallory Beach is currently suing the Murdaugh estate, as is the family of Gloria Satterfield (pictured), the family's maid of 22 years who 'tripped over the family dogs,' sustaining a head injury that killed her 21 days later, in the same home where Paul and Margaret would be found dead three years later

The family of Mallory Beach is currently suing the Murdaugh estate, as is the family of Gloria Satterfield (pictured), the family’s maid of 22 years who ‘tripped over the family dogs,’ sustaining a head injury that killed her 21 days later, in the same home where Paul and Margaret would be found dead three years later

Satterfield’s sons were personally promised an insurance payout by Murdaugh at their mother’s funeral that never came. 

He has been formally charged with swindling that $4m in cash by setting Satterfield’s two sons up with a lawyer and banker investigators say danced to Murdaugh’s tune, and who helped him pocket insurance payouts for Satterfields’ sons.  

Mallory’s mother, surviving boat passenger Connor Cook and Satterfield’s family fear that money and justice may continue to evade them, even with Alex Murdaugh behind bars. 

In three identical motions, they argue that Murdaugh and Buster must be prevented from ‘hiding, concealing, misappropriating, selling, encumbering, transferring, impairing the value of or otherwise disposing of any of the Alex Murdaugh Assets and any of the Buster Murdaugh Assets, in whole or in part.’ 

DailyMail.com exclusively revealed that Murdaugh’s brother Randolph ‘Randy’ Murdaugh IV filed his suit against his disgraced brother in Hampton County court Thursday, claiming that he owed him $477,000 in unpaid loans.

Randy alleged in court filings that his brother asked to borrow $75,000 just days before he orchestrated the failed hit on his own life.

According to the filing Murdaugh, 53, told Randy, ‘In the days leading up to September 2 Defendant represented to Randolph Murdaugh IV that he needed a loan to cover an overdrawn bank account and that [he] had already written other checks including checks to workers which will make the bank account more overdrawn.’

Murdaugh asked for money to be deposited into his checking account. He did not reveal his ‘poor financial condition’ but promised that he would repay the money within 30 days. 

‘A powerful legal family in small-town South Carolina has a lot of levers they can pull.’ said University of South Carolina Professor Seth Stoughton to CBS. 

‘They … have now generations of political power and political support and contacts and access, and with access comes power.’

Family murders, deaths, drug addictions, thefts and arrests: The riddles facing investigators who’ve now charged Alex Murdaugh 

2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies

Smith was found on the side of the road. 

Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith (above)

Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith 

Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head 

His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay 

Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation. 

Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen 

Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’. 

In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up. 

He mentioned Smith’s death.  

2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies

Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies

Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies

Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house

The family gave her family $500.000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault. 

Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit. 

Satterfield was only 57 when she died. 

She left behind a husband and children. 

Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend.  

2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh

Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019

Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019 

Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night. 

He had been released on bond.  

Other kids were on the boat but were unharmed.

One testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’. 

That boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed her 

June 7 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered 

The mom and son were found shot dead at the family home in Hampton, South Carolina. 

Alex Murdaugh says he found them  at the home. 

The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them.  

Paul, 22

Margaret, 52

Alex’s son Paul, 22, (left) and wife Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge 

Alex's father Randolph Murdaugh III died 'peacefully' at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead

Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead 

June 10 2021:  Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home

September 3: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds

The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts 

September 4: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by. 

He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother

September 6: Alex resigns from his law firm

The South Carolina legal scion releases a statement confirming his resignation from the firm and announcing he has entered rehab 

He said: ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders.’ 

September 16: Alex turns himself into police over insurance fraud scheme

Murdaugh handed himself over to cops in connection to insurance fraud scheme where he arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect $10 million payout.

He faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.  



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