Alex Murdaugh pleads not guilty to murdering spouse and son

WALTERBORO, S.C. — The when-highly effective and now disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh pleaded not responsible Wednesday to expenses he murdered his spouse and son 13 months back, with a single of his protection lawyers contacting for a fast demo to distinct his title and prod authorities to “go for the genuine killers.”

Wearing a white deal with mask beneath his shaved head and ankle chains previously mentioned shiny leather shoes, the 54-yr-outdated Murdaugh built his first court appearance in Colleton County given that currently being indicted in the murder situation previous 7 days. Irrespective of his not responsible plea, he agreed to remain jailed without having bond.

One particular of his legal professionals, Dick Harpootlian, explained the protection group wished to stay away from a bond listening to that could reveal new data about the killings and risk prejudicing possible jurors when the case goes to demo. He also stated Murdaugh, currently saddled with $7 million in bond on unrelated felony fees, won’t be able to pay for to set up funds for his release pending demo.

Murdaugh has been behind bars because Oct, charged with fiscal crimes and quite a few other misdeeds that have been uncovered following the killings of his spouse Maggie, 52, and their 22-12 months-old son, Paul, at the family’s Colleton County searching estate in June 2021.

Harpootlian informed a judge Wednesday that Murdaugh would like to stand demo within just the subsequent 3 to 4 months to display that investigators from South Carolina’s State Law Enforcement Division focused the incorrect guy.

“He believes that the killer or killers are continue to at large and this would let SLED to set this driving them and go for the actual killers,” Harpootlian reported.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters, a deputy point out legal professional common, replied that striving the situation by January or quicker would be “very intense.”

“The proof in this situation is sizeable and it all details back to Alex Murdaugh,” Waters said. “There is forensic proof as perfectly as other proof of his guilt of these murders.”

Circuit Judge Clifton Newman made no rulings in courtroom other than denying bond for Murdaugh. He reported he would concern penned orders later on on the speedy demo request as properly as a ask for for a gag purchase to prohibit lawyers and investigators in the situation from speaking to information retailers.

Murdaugh is charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possessing a weapon for the duration of a violent crime. The indictment alleges that he fatally shot his wife with a rifle and utilised a shotgun to kill his son.

Authorities have introduced no proof of how police linked Murdaugh to the fatalities right after 13 months of investigation. And the hearing Wednesday furnished no clues as to why a person who had no felony heritage and was aspect of a wealthy, properly-related loved ones that dominated the legal group in the little city of Hampton may have desired to kill his very own relatives users.

Authorities have been tight-lipped due to the fact the start out of the investigation. Previous year, they unveiled the late-night time 911 call in which Murdaugh noted locating the bodies of his spouse and son outdoors by the pet kennels on his estate. The coroner claimed each victims had been shot many moments.

Newman, the choose who presided more than Murdaugh’s hearing Wednesday, experienced formerly denied bond for Murdaugh on the economic crimes rates. A diverse decide later established bond at $7 million but Murdaugh was not able to shell out it and has remained in jail. His lawyers have complained quite a few periods that the bond was set far too significant, and explained that mainly because of lawsuits and frozen belongings Murdaugh could not even manage to obtain underwear from the jail store.

If convicted of murder, Murdaugh faces 30 decades to existence in jail without the need of parole. Underneath point out legislation, prosecutors could also pick to look for the loss of life penalty mainly because far more than a single person was killed.

The 4 new indictments connected to the slayings additional to a pile of 80 other costs lodged versus Murdaugh by investigators who have scrutinized just about every component of his life around the earlier year. No trial dates have been established for any of the scenarios.

Prosecutors mentioned the when-outstanding legal professional stole additional than $8 million in settlements and other income from consumers, committed fraud and lied to law enforcement by making an attempt to arrange his own death so his surviving son could obtain a $10 million lifestyle insurance coverage coverage. Murdaugh was also billed past month with co-operating a $2 million money laundering and drug ring.

The murder fees and other conditions are becoming prosecuted by the South Carolina Legal professional General’s Business office due to the fact of inbound links Murdaugh has to the nearby 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office environment. The office’s jurisdiction includes Colleton County and Hampton County, wherever Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and wonderful-grandfather had been the elected prosecutors for 87 consecutive many years.