Jurors Will Hear About Alex Murdaugh’s Other Alleged Crimes At Murder Trial, Judge Rules

Prosecutors can introduce evidence of other crimes allegedly committed by disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, thanks to an inadvertent move by defense attorneys, a judge ruled Thursday.

Judge Clifton Newman ruled that he would allow prosecutors to bring up Murdaugh’s other alleged crimes during the trial to decide if he killed his wife and son. Newman said the defense “opened the door” to allow that evidence in when they questioned Murdaugh’s friends about his character, Buzzfeed News reported.

“The witness was asked whether he could think of any reason … why Mr. Murdaugh would commit the crimes he’s accused of committing,” Newman said, according to the outlet. “That, in effect, turned the cross-examination of that witness from dealing with specific issues in the case to having that witness testify as a character witness for Mr. Murdaugh.”

Newman said that questions about whether Murdaugh was a good father and provider “opened the door for the state to respond by asking questions as the state did.”

Now jurors will hear about Murdaugh’s other alleged crimes, including financial crimes and charges related to his alleged attempt to stage a fake “hit” on himself. Those charges, according to The Washington Post, were brought against him in September 2021, after his wife and son were killed, but he had not been indicted for their deaths until July 2022.

The murder charge was the last in a long and bizarre story regarding the once-prominent South Carolina attorney. After Murdaugh’s wife and son were murdered, police began looking into Murdaugh’s life and discovered numerous disturbing details.

Murdaugh was accused of stealing $8.5 million from people who had hired him as their attorney. He is also alleged to have orchestrated his own murder by hiring a friend to kill him so that his surviving son, Buster, could receive a $10 million life insurance payout. Murdaugh allegedly lied to police about the incident, claiming a stranger shot him on the side of the road. This all took place just days after Murdaugh’s firm discovered he had stolen money from clients.

Further, state police began looking into the hit-and-run death of a 19-year-old in July 2015 as a possible connection to Murdaugh, but no additional details have been released. Authorities also exhumed the body of Murdaugh’s former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who was said to have died after a fall in 2018. Murdaugh allegedly collected more than $4 million from his home insurer by claiming wrongful death and saying he was working for Satterfield’s family, but the family didn’t receive any of the money, according to prosecutors.

In June 2022, Murdaugh was also indicted for alleged money laundering and creating a “distribution network” for painkillers, the Associated Press reported at the time. Murdaugh allegedly ran the drug ring with the same friend he allegedly hired to kill him.

Murdaugh has repeatedly denied killing his wife and son, saying he was visiting his parents when they were killed. He’s been in jail since October 2021 with a $7 million bond. Last summer, the South Carolina Supreme Court disbarred him, with his attorneys declining to contest the arguments against his disbarment.

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