Tuesday’s bond hearing was denied for a prominent South Carolina lawyer who became embroiled in two multimillion dollar insurance fraud cases. This comes months after he discovered his wife and son dead at their home.
Judge Alex Murdaugh stated that Alex Murdaugh’s financial and mental stability make it difficult for him to be tried outside of prison on charges that he took $3.4 million in insurance money meant for his sons.
This ruling will land Murdaugh, 53, in prison for several weeks or even months. He inherited a large legal business in South Carolina’s tiny Hampton County. Murdaugh’s grandfather, great-grandfather and father were all elected prosecutors. The law firm of the Murdaugh family, which is located in the tallest building in town, has won multimillion-dollar verdicts over the past century.
The legal issues and at least six state investigations into Murdaugh’s family remain unsolved.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman was asked by defense attorneys to release Murdaugh in his own recognizance. He had been charged with trying to arrange Murdaugh’s death to get a $10 million insurance plan. For the most recent charges of obtaining property through false pretenses, Prosecutors requested a $200,000 bond as well as GPS monitoring.
Newman stated that he was not satisfied with his mental state and added that he needed more information. After receiving the information, he said that he would reconsider his decision.
Dick Harpootlian was one of Murdaugh’s lawyers. He said that after the hearing, therapists from the Georgia and Florida drug rehab centers where Murdaugh had spent the past six week will send their records on to a local psychiatrist who will then prepare a report for him.
“We are sensitive to the concerns expressed by the judge about Alex’s mental state. Harpootlian stated that we are more than happy to fulfill his request. He also said of Murdaugh that he seemed more focused today than any time I’ve ever seen him.
Harpootlian and Murdaugh’s other attorney Jim Griffin said that he is suffering from crushing grief and guilt following the discovery of his son and wife’s bodies. Murdaugh has repeatedly denied any involvement in their deaths, and no one has been arrested.
According to investigators, Murdaugh is being charged with insurance fraud. The payments were supposed to be made to Gloria Satterfield’s sons. Gloria Satterfield died in 2018, just weeks after she fell at his family home.
A coroner ruled that her death was incorrectly listed as natural on her death certificate. Tuesday’s court hearing heard that the state police are still investigating her death. Harpootlian stated that Murdaugh denied any involvement in her death after the hearing.
According to a lawsuit, Murdaugh said that he would help Satterfield’s children get insurance settlements for her passing. He also suggested they hire Cory Fleming without telling them Fleming was a friend of their family.
Murdaugh made more than $4,000,000 in payments. The checks were then sent, minus attorney fees, to , a fake bank account,investigators claimed.
The sons’ lawyer said that they have not received any money from the settlements.
He stole. Eric Bland, attorney for Eric Bland, told Tuesday’s judge that he was a cheat and a liar.
Creighton Waters, South Carolina Assistant Attorney General, said that Murdaugh took the money quickly and placed it in his personal accounts.
Waters stated that Waters had seen him carrying a $100,000 credit card debt for several months. Waters said, “That gets paid off. He writes his father 300 and some odd grand checks. He writes a check to himself for 610 grand. He writes a check of 125 grand for himself. This family receives not a penny.”
Waters requested a $200,000 bond with GPS monitoring. Waters stated that a man who is dangerous to himself is also a danger for others.
Griffin and Harpootlian said Murdaugh requires more treatment for an opioid addiction which has been ravaging her for over a decade.
Harpootlian stated, “He’s certainly not going to run.” “That’s not where Harpootlian is now.”
Griffin claimed that Alex Murdaugh, who isn’t dependent on drugs, has led a happy and fruitful life. He also believes that he was a law-abiding citizen.
Griffin stated that Griffin only realized the extent of his addiction to opioids when things turned south. Griffin also said that he regrets his actions.
Murdaugh was taken into custody Thursday night at a drug rehabilitation center in Orlando, Florida.
State police are also investigating the case of Murdaugh’s housekeeper’s insurance. State police are also investigating the case of Murdaugh’s ex-law firm, which was founded over a century ago by his great-grandfather.
At Tuesday’s hearing, the prosecution suggested that Murdaugh had sold his property and boat in Beaufort County and turned over his affairs to his son. This was in an apparent attempt to hide money from at most three ongoing lawsuits.
Each count of obtaining property through false pretenses can carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. If convicted, the three felony charges stemming from his botched attempt at arranging his own death could lead to up to 20 years imprisonment.
Murdaugh insists that he did not have anything to do with the June deaths his wife Maggie (52), and their son Paul (22) in June. Murdaugh claimed he went back to their home in rural Colleton County to see them killed. The state police are not naming any suspects and have not ruled out anyone.
State police are also investigating whether Murdaugh is connected to a hit-and-run death in 2015 and whether other family members attempted to block the investigation into the boat accident that resulted in the death of a 19-year old woman in 2019. Harpootlian also stated Tuesday that Murdaugh denied any wrongdoing in the cases.
For nearly a century, the Murdaugh family has been the dominant force in Hampton County’s legal community. Murdaugh’s grandfather, great-grandfather and father were all elected as prosecutors. Their prestigious law firm was known for their ability to sue railroads.