“Why, why, why would Alex Murdaugh, on June 7, execute his son Paul and his wife, Maggie, who he adored and loved?” Mr. Griffin asked, noting the number of people who knew the Murdaugh family and testified about their loving relationship.
Creighton Waters, the lead prosecutor, noted that Mr. Murdaugh admitted on the witness stand that he had told many lies over the years to cover up his financial misdealings and addiction to painkillers. Mr. Waters urged the jurors to avoid becoming the next ones to believe his lies. “Don’t let him fool you, too,” he said.
Mr. Waters told jurors that a “perfect storm” had been approaching Mr. Murdaugh — and, by extension, his wife and son — on the day of the murders. Earlier that day, Mr. Murdaugh had been confronted by his law firm’s financial chief, who accused him of pocketing a six-figure check that he was supposed to pass along to the law firm.
That confrontation, Mr. Waters said, was one of two inquiries into Mr. Murdaugh’s finances that led him to fear the walls were closing in. The other was an effort by another lawyer, Mark B. Tinsley, who had sued Mr. Murdaugh over his son’s involvement in a drunken boat crash in 2019 that resulted in the death of a 19-year-old woman. The authorities said the boat was driven by Paul Murdaugh, and Mr. Tinsley had been asking a lawyer to force Mr. Murdaugh to disclose detailed financial records so that he could go after Mr. Murdaugh’s personal assets.
Initially, prosecutors said, Mr. Murdaugh’s scheme worked: For several months after the murders, the inquiries into his finances were halted. But then, in September 2021, an employee at his law firm found a missing check in Mr. Murdaugh’s office, leading to the firm’s discovery that he had siphoned off millions of dollars. They forced him to resign.
The next day, in a bizarre series of events, Mr. Murdaugh reported that he had been shot in the head on the side of a rural road. It turned out, as Mr. Murdaugh admitted from a detox facility days later, that he had actually asked a distant cousin, Curtis Eddie Smith, to kill him. Mr. Murdaugh said he had wanted to frame his death as a murder so that his surviving son, Buster, could collect on his insurance policy.