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SC AG says Murdaugh murdered wife and son to gain time against financial fraud probe

Alex Murdaugh with murdered wife Maggie and son Paul, 22.

On Thursday morning, prosecutors in South Carolina mentioned for the first time a motive that could be behind the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh by alleged killer Alex Murdaugh. The filing by the South Carolina Attorney General’s office said that the murders would cause a distraction and would stop the discovery of the multi million dollar financial fraud that he had committed.

Creighton Waters, who is the lead prosecutor, said that Murdaugh hoped to buy time and get sympathy after the horrific deaths of his wife and son. These allegations against Murdaugh came to light according to a Thursday morning filing by the AG’s office, after defense attorneys for Murdaugh asked a judge to pass an order asking the prosecutors to give their theory on the motive of death of his wife and son, through a “bill of particulars.” Maggie Murdaugh, 52 and Paul Murdaugh 22, were shot dead at their rural family estate near Moselle.

The state alleged that Murdaugh had used stolen funds to cover huge personal debts incurred by him. It said that the wrongdoings had been going on unchecked for a period of 15 years. However, a boat crash involving Alex’s Murdaugh’s son Paul which killed 19-year old Mallory Beach, in 2019 started a series of events that finally led to the exposure of the alleged financial fraud by Alex Murdaugh.

Prosecutors said that the law firm where 54-year old Murdaugh worked had asked him for accounts of $792,000 that was legal fees but was missing. On June 7, Murdaugh allegedly shot Maggie and Paul to escape exposure of his fraudulent dealings. Earlier, his father had passed away. Prosecutors believe that this chain of events provided him with sympathy and time to “cover his tracks” and avoid being held accountable for the financial losses.

Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh appears in a jail mugshot taken Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021 in Hampton County, S.C.

After the death of three of his family members the law firm stopped pursuing the loss of funds for several months. However, in September 2021, Jeanne Seckinger, who is the chief financial officer at the Murdaugh’s law firm, saw a cheque that showed that it was Murdaugh who had stolen the missing legal fees that the law firm had been looking for.

On Friday, there will be a hearing at Colleton County that will discuss pretrial motions that are pending in the Murdaugh murder trial. These include issues of motive as well as the introduction of his past financial crimes as evidence.

The State Grand Jury has charged him with 90 financial crimes, murder charges, a botched suicide attempt so that his other son could collect insurance money and county level crimes. Alex Murdaugh is in jail, in Richland County, on a $7 million bond, as he awaits trial.

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