Is the Family Name Murdaugh or Murder?


For over 100 years, the Murdaugh family has ruled over the small town of Hampton, SC with their prominent law firm and name. The Murdaugh name has sullied its reputation after Alex Murdaugh’s court trial with his involvement in several murders, opioid usage, stealing clients’ money, and especially his involvement in the gruesome murder of his wife and youngest son. 

Last week on Mar 3, Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh at the Colleton County Probate Court in Walterboro, SC. He was also found guilty of two counts of weapon possession during a crime. The next morning at 9:30am, the court met again and sentenced Alex Murdaugh to two life sentences, which means life in prison without possibility of parole. It may seem shocking that a father and husband would kill his own son and wife, but is it for Alex Murdaugh? The Murdaugh family may have started out with humble beginnings and believed in hard work to get to success, but in recent decades the Murdaughs have turned their famous name into one that is infamous.

Randolph Murdaugh Sr., Alex Murdaugh’s great-grandfather, started a civil litigation firm in 1910, starting the Murdaugh family legacy. Ever since then, every generation of the Murdaugh’s have had at least one family member working as a lawyer and/ or attorney at that same law firm founded over a century ago. In 2014, the Murdaugh family were found to be involved in an array of illegal endeavors, something you would probably think they wouldn’t be associated with since most of them were practicing law. 

The first of the deaths that the Murdaughs have been rumored to be involved in is the death of Stephen Smith in 2015. Smith and Alex Murdaugh’s eldest son, Buster Murdaugh, were classmates with one another and were rumored to be in a relationship with one another but kept it secret because Alex Murdaugh would have disowned him for being in a homosexual relationship. Smith’s death was ruled as a “hit-and-run” despite having many factors in his death that didn’t match up with that scenario. The coroner who was at the crime scene does not agree with the cause of death either because he doesn’t agree that Smith was hit by a vehicle and instead looked more like a staged murder and that his body was placed in the middle of the country road. Many people in Hampton believe that the Murdaughs have something to do with his death because of their shady past in Hampton and the stop of his investigation. 

In 2018 at the Murdaugh Family home, known as the Moselle property, the Murdaugh’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, fell down the porch steps. Maggie Murdaugh called 911 after finding Satterfield outside on the ground and described her bleeding out of her left ear because she had cracked her skull. Later in the call, Paul Murdaugh intervened and asked “Ma’am can you please stop asking all of these questions?” after a series of typical dispatcher questions to find the story of Satterfield’s fall. Satterfield was rushed to the hospital and died three weeks later after multiple injuries to her head and brain. 

According to Maggie Murdaugh, Satterfield’s fall was because of the family dog’s crowding her near the top of the steps and causing her to tumble down. Some believe that Maggie or Paul, who were both present at the home during her fall, to be the reason why she fell. One theory is that the housekeeper knew too much after finding drugs belonging to Alex taped under his bed. Creating further suspicion around her death, Alex ensured Satterfield’s family that he would sue himself for her death, but ended up just keeping all of the money and not giving a single penny to any of them. 

The next year in 2019, Paul Murdaugh, then 19 years old, caused a boating crash into a bridge in Beaufort County, SC. Paul was three times over the legal limit for his blood alcohol level (0.24), which his friends say was the main cause of the boating incident. The crash resulted in injuries for all passengers on the boat, and the death of Mallory Beach. Beach was missing for eight days until she was found in the waters near the crash. Beach’s death was determined to be from blunt force that occurred during the initial boating crash and drowning according to her autopsy report.

After Beach’s body was found, many truths came out about the Murdaugh family and their true colors were shown. Paul Murdaugh blamed the boating crash on Conor Cook, one of his friends and passengers on the boat, and did not take the blame for Beach’s death. The Murdaugh family also did not allow Beach’s parents to come close to the scene, even though it was their daughter who was missing because of their close affiliation with the local police and them being above the law. Beach’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Paul Murdaugh and the trial ended in a $700,000 settlement for Beach’s family. 

Arguably the most shocking event of the Murdaugh saga, and the one for which he was indicted and convicted, is Alex Murdaugh’s involvement in Maggie and Paul’s murders. On Jun 7, 2021 Alex made a frantic 911 call stating that his wife and son had been shot “badly” while he was out of the home visiting his parents. Alex claimed that he came home to find his wife and son shot dead in the shed on their Moselle property and checked to see if they still had a pulse despite their bodies laying in pools of blood. There were many holes in Alex’s story including his voice being heard in a Snapchat video from Paul moments before the murders occurred and his faulty timeline of the night of the murders. Alex also changed his shirt before the police came to the crime scene causing further suspicion that he murdered them. Maggie was shot five times by a rifle and Paul was shot two times by a shotgun. The blast from the shotgun would have transferred onto Alex’s shirt if he shot them, which is a sensible reason to change his shirt and shower like he did that night. 

More information and records were uncovered at Alex’s murder trial. In his testimony, Alex admitted to lying about some things the night of the murder such as first denying it was his voice in the Snapchat video, but then admitting it was in fact him. Other testimonials exposed Alex’s opioid addiction, stealing his clients’ money, and him being in debt millions of dollars. If he were to lie about things like that, why would he not be the suspect of other deaths that have occurred over the years in Hampton? If a husband and father could murder his own wife and child, he surely could be involved in much else.