Former attorney Alex Murdaugh was once one of the most influential people in the southeastern corner of South Carolina. Now he’s behind bars, facing charges over a conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, as well as multiple investigations into a string of mysterious deaths connected to the Murdaugh family.
The bizarre story has both captivated and appalled the state as well as the rest of the US, as it includes everything from drug addiction to grisly murders. What’s happening in the Low Country of South Carolina?
Alex Murdaugh’s son, Paul, was driving his father’s boat while intoxicated when he crashed into a bridge support beam. The 2019 accident claimed the life of one of Paul’s passengers, Mallory Beach. Paul was set to face charges for the accidents and had pleaded not guilty to charges including boating under the influence.
Paul and his mother, Maggie, Alex’s wife, were both murdered in June of 2021. Alex reportedly came home to find his wife and son shot and contacted the authorities immediately. Murdaugh was not a person of interest in the case and wasn’t charged with any crimes in their deaths.
The investigation into the deaths of Paul and Maggie, however, led police to reopen a long-closed case: the 2015 death of Stephen Smith. Smith was a gay man who was killed in Hampton County after being attacked by a group of young men. Smith’s mother has maintained that her son was killed by the children of many influential families in the Hampton County region. Police have not stated what developments in the Paul and Maggie Murdaugh investigation led them to reopen Smith’s case.
The incidents have also shed light on the 2018 death of Murdaugh’s housekeeper. At the time, Alex Murdaugh told authorities that she had suffered from an accident, having slipped and fallen to her death.
With the scrutiny now on Murdaugh’s personal life, even more sordid details have come to light. Recently, Murdaugh himself was shot in the head by an assailant, though the bullet only grazed him. An investigation into the shooting revealed that Murdaugh himself put the assailant up to it so that his other son, Buster, could collect on his life insurance policy. Now, both Murdaugh and the hired gunman are facing charges of conspiracy and insurance fraud.
As the investigations into Murdaugh continue, people in South Carolina brace for more bombshell news any minute. The story has only gotten stranger and more upsetting as more details have become public.