‘The Murdaughs were the law for a century in the 14th circuit:’ Corrupt legal scions finally get the Netflix treatment as streaming giant releases trailer for deep dive into murder and very ‘Southern Scandal’
- A three-part documentary series will delve into scandals and murders that plagued the Murdaugh family
- It will examine the death of Mallory Beach, 19, on board a boat driven by a drunken Paul Murdaugh, as well as his and his mother’s subsequent murders
- It will also touch on the mysterious death of their housekeeper as well as the death of Stephen Smith, who was found dead
- The series will premiere on Netflix on February 22
A new three-part Netflix documentary series promises to delve deep into the scandals and murders that have plagued a once-prominent South Carolina legal scion and his family.
The documentary series, entitled Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, will examine the death of Mallory Beach on board a boat driven by a drunken Paul Murdaugh, as well as his and his mother’s subsequent murders.
It will also touch on the mysterious death of the Murdaugh’s housekeeper as well as the death of Stephen Smith, who was found dead in the middle of a South Carolina road in 2015.
And it will feature interviews with some of those closest to the multiple Murdaugh cases, some of whom are speaking for the first time.
The show is expected to premiere on February 22, with a trailer for the much-anticipated true crime documentary released Tuesday.
A new documentary series will delve into the scandals and murders plaguing the once popular Murdaugh family, under the head of Alex Murdaugh
It touches on all of the scandals and murders that have plagued the Murdaugh family over the past few years.
‘There are facts that don’t add up and bodies tied to this family,’ one man in the trailer says, before a young man describes how ‘the Murdaughs would just make someone disappear.’
The Murdaughs were once a very powerful political family in South Carolina, with one man noting in the trailer: ‘For over a century, the Murdaughs were law and order here in the 14th Circuit.’
The disgraced former attorney is facing a total of 98 criminal charges – four related to the double murders and others for a botched suicide for hire plot
But after Mallory Beach, 19, was thrown from a boat driven by her friend, Paul Murdaugh, and killed in 2019, questions started surrounding the political dynasty.
Paul, who was 19 at the time, had been drunk when he was operating the vehicle. His older brother, Buster, was accused of lending Paul his ID in order for him to buy alcohol for the joyride.
Now, Mallory’s best friend, Miley Altman, says she and her friends were trying to stop Paul from driving drunk.
‘Everyone was like, “Paul don’t drive,” and Paul would snap back and be like “Well, this is my f****** boat,’ Altman says in the trailer, as another friend notes Paul ‘was out of his mind drunk.’
They and others in the promo say legal scion Alex Murdaugh, the head of the dynasty, was ‘more worried about a cover-up.’
Paul, 22, and Maggie, 52, were murdered over one year later on June 7, 2021, leading to speculation it was related to the fatal boating accident.
But when Alex later claimed he was shot in the head in a drive-by amid financial troubles, authorities turned their attention to him.
He is now facing a total of 98 criminal charges — four accusing him of orchestrating the double homicide of Paul and his wife, Maggie, and others for a botched suicide-for-hire plot.
‘This is a fall from dynasty,’ one man in the trailer says. ‘It was a fall from grace.’
The family’s legal troubles began after Mallory Beach, 19, was thrown from a boat being driven by a drunk Paul Murdaugh, then 19, and died
Her friends, Connor Cook and Miley Altman, describe in the Netflix show how Paul was ‘out of his mind drunk’ when he was navigating the boat
Murdaugh’s wife Maggie (right) and his younger son Paul (left) were found shot dead on the family’s property in June 2021
Last month, it was revealed that Murdaugh told law enforcement his wife’s and son’s murders were tied to the 2019 boat crash.
Prosecutors say in a court filing obtained by DailyMail.com that the legal scion tried to throw investigators off the scent by falsely linking the murders with the fatal boat crash for which Paul, drunk at the helm, was facing criminal charges, while his father and older brother Buster were facing a wrongful death lawsuit.
But, according to the state, the murders of Maggie and Paul were not revenge killings.
Instead, they now allege, the ‘only person with a true motive to kill his wife and son,’ was Murdaugh himself.
In the document filed in Colleton County Court prosecutors write that the ‘clouds of Murdaugh’s past misdeeds’ were gathering into ‘a perfect storm that was going to expose the real Alex Murdaugh’, who is, they say, ‘an allegedly crooked lawyer and drug user who borrowed and stole wherever he could to stay afloat and one step ahead of detection.’
They claim that he was facing imminent ‘legal, financial and personal ruin.’
That storm, they state, was due to break on June 7, 2021 – the very day that they allege Murdaugh gunned down his wife and son in a bid to, ‘shift focus’ away from himself and ‘buy some additional time to try and prevent his financial crimes from being uncovered.’
For the first time in his life, prosecutors contend, Murdaugh was facing ‘accountability’ and the exposure of years of misdeeds and a mountain of debt running into millions.
They will argue that he killed his own wife and son for no other reason than to create a distraction.
The state alleges that Murdaugh was confronted with an ‘immediate certainty of exposure,’ on June 7, 2021
Prosecutors say disgraced legal scion Alex Murdaugh (pictured in court in August) tried to throw investigators off by falsely linking the murders of his wife and son with a fatal boat crash for which his son Paul was facing criminal charges
On that day personnel from the family firm of which Murdaugh was once a partner – Peters Murdaugh Parker Elztroth & Detrick (PMPED) now rebranded the Parker Law Group LLP – confronted Murdaugh about financial irregularities, with an ultimatum for answers by the end of the day, answers that Murdaugh knew he could not provide.
Similarly, the walls were closing in on him in the wrongful death lawsuit as he was facing down the reality of having to produce financial documents at a discovery hearing just two days later, on June 9.
Murdaugh knew, prosecutors allege, that producing his financial records for either party would mean exposure and ruin.
Because, unknown to anyone, Murdaugh had been on an ‘incessant financial rollercoaster,’ for decades.
Things only got worse following the boat crash as suddenly Paul was facing criminal charges, and the family was facing ‘significant civil liability.’
According to the State, this was the powder keg destined to blow on June 7, 2021.
His status and reputation in the community only made things worse.
A member of the Murdaugh family had served as solicitor – South Caroina’s equivalent of a district attorney – for the 14th judicial circuit for more than 100 years starting with Murdaugh’s great grandfather.
But while outwardly Murdaugh gave the ‘illusion’ of wealth from his successful legal practice, the filing states, ‘a series of bad land deals exacerbated by the recession permanently changed his finances.’
Murdaugh was, the State alleges, overwhelmed by debts that required such, ‘a velocity of money’ just to service them that he turned to crime and fraud, syphoning off $8.7million in client settlements and taking out loans he had neither the intention nor the means of repaying.
The filing states: ‘Since people are naturally expected to love their wives and sons instead of brutally gunning them down, why Murdaugh did what he is accused of doing will unquestionably weigh on any rational juror’s mind when deciding whether the State has met it burden of proof.’
Prosecutors say Murdaugh was facing financial troubles when he allegedly murdered his wife and son. He has pleaded not guilty
Murdaugh himself put motive ‘front and center’ the motion claims, ‘through his own actions.’
According to the prosecution, ‘Within just thirty seconds of beginning to speak to the first officer to arrive at the crime scene on June 7, 2021 [he] suggested to law enforcement that the killer’s motive stemmed from the February 2019 boat wreck that resulted in the tragic death of Mallory Beach.
‘In fact, Murdaugh expressed certainty and stated that he knew ‘that’s what it is’ to the responding officer.’
In doing so, they claim, he falsely tried to tie the horrific events of that June night to something that had occurred more than two years earlier while he turned himself into an object of sympathy and support rather than scrutiny.
Prosecutors allege he tried to heighten his profile as victim when suspicion began to fall on him by claiming to have been shot in the head in September 4, 2021.
‘Only this time the facts came to light a lot quicker,’ they point out.
Within days Murdaugh had admitted to staging the incident on Old Salkahatchie Road claiming it was an attempted ‘suicide for hire’ and that his motive had been to secure his $10million life insurance pay out for older son Buster, 26.
Murdaugh’s motive is so vital to their case that the prosecution has asked the court to allow them to introduce evidence of some of the financial crimes of which Murdaugh stands accused even though he has not yet faced trial on those charges.
This evidence should be admitted, the State argues, ‘so the jury can assess why a man might murder his wife and son.’
According to the State: ‘This case is unique in South Carolina history for many reasons. One of those is that exposing what happened to Maggie and Paul necessarily has its roots in a corruption that began years go and festered until June 7 was the result.’
Murdaugh is currently being held in the Alvin S Glenn Detention Center in Columbia where he is awaiting trial on multiple charges.
His trial for the murders of Maggie and Paul is due to begin in Colleton County Court on January 23, 2023. He faces life in prison if convicted.
Beach was thrown from the boat when it crashed into Archers Creek Bridge, in Beaufort South Carolina. Her body was found five days later
Pictured: Coolers full of beers were seen on the boat. Paul was captured on security cameras inside a Parker’s Kitchen convenience store using Buster’s ID to purchase alcohol underage. The store was also named in the lawsuit brought by Mallory’s family and the survivors
Meanwhile, the family of Mallory Beach have reached a tentative settlement with Alex’s only surviving son, Buster, in a $50million lawsuit.
The cost of the settlement has not been made public, but ABC News 4 reported that it had been told it is a ‘significant’ amount.
Reports say the settlement will mean that Buster and his late mother Maggie Murdaugh – who was accused of knowing her son Paul was drunk when he went out boating that night – are no longer named on the lawsuit.
This would leave just Paul and Buster’s father Alex Murdaugh and Parker’s Kitchen convenience store, where Paul purchased alcohol underage, as the defendants.
However, the settlement is not yet final. A hearing will be held Thursday by State Judge Daniel Hall in Lexington County.
TIMELINE OF MURDAUGH FAMILY MURDERS, DEATHS, LAWSUITS AND ARRESTS
Police investigating the double murder of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith
July 8, 2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies
Smith was found on the side of the road.
Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head.
His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay.
Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation.
Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen.
Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’.
In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up.
He mentioned Smith’s death.
February 2, 2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies
Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies
Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house
The family gave her family $500,000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault.
Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Satterfield was only 57 when she died.
She left behind a husband and children.
Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend.
February 23, 2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh
Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019
Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night.
He had been released on bond.
One of the six teens on board testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’.
The boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed Beach from the boat.
June 7, 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered
The mother and son were found shot dead at the family home in Islandton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh says he found them at the home.
The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them.
It was later revealed Alex waited an hour to call 911 about their deaths.
Alex’s son Paul, 22, (left) and wife Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge
Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead
June 10, 2021: Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home
Alex Murdaugh’s alibi for the night of his wife and son’s murder was that he was visiting his ailing father in the hospital.
The father died just three days later, following a battle with cancer.
September 3, 2021: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds
The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts.
September 4, 2021: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by
He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother.
September 6, 2021: Alex resigns from law firm
In a statement he says: ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders.’
September 14, 2021: Police arrest alleged hitman in Alex’s shooting
Police said Alex Murdaugh orchestrated his own shooting in a botched assisted suicide scheme, designed so his surviving son can collect a $10 million life insurance payment.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was arrested on charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.
Smith, from Walterboro, South Carolina, is a former client of Murdaugh, who represented him in minor traffic matters as well as a 2015 lawsuit that Smith filed against a forest management company.
According to police, Murdaugh paid him to shoot him in the head and kill him, making it look like a random, drive-by attack.
September 15, 2021: Police open criminal investigation into Satterfield’s 2018 death
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced it is investigating the 2018 death of Gloria Satterfield and the subsequent handling of her estate.
Satterfield, 57, had been the Murdaugh housekeeper and nanny for around 25 years when she suffered a fatal brain injury following a mystery fall inside the Murdaugh family home.
She died several weeks later on February 26, 2018.
SLED said that hit had opened a criminal investigation inter Satterfield’s death based on a request from the Hampton County Coroner, as well as ‘information gathered during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.’
September 16, 2021: Alex turns himself into police over insurance fraud scheme
Murdaugh handed himself over to police in connection to the insurance fraud scheme, where he arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect $10 million payout.
He faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.
November 29, 2021: Murdaugh faces 27 new counts after an indictment for an alleged $4.8 million in financial crimes
Murdaugh was indicted on 27 additional charges, with prosecutors saying he stole nearly $5million in settlement money he had obtained for his dead housekeeper, an injured state trooper and other people, as well as fees meant for his law firm.
December 6, 2021: Satterfield’s family sues Bank of America for allowing Murdaugh to stash life insurance money meant for them
The bank was added as a defendant in the lawsuit against Murdaugh, who is accused of bilking the sons of Gloria Ann Satterfield out of life insurance money after the housekeeper’s mysterious death.
Statterfield’s sons say the bank looked the other way when it allowed Murdaugh to set up a fake account and transfer the insurance payouts to himself and a cousin.
June 28, 2022: Alex Murdaugh and Curtis Smith are charged with drug trafficking
Murdaugh is accused of writing 437 checks worth $2.4 million that Curtis Smith – the man he hired to murder him – cashed over eight years, until September 2021.
Smith kept some of the money for himself and used the rest for wide-ranging illegal activities, according to indictments unsealed on June 28.
That illegal activity included a ‘distribution network’ for the painkiller oxycodone, according to prosecutors.
Both men were charged with possessing, manufacturing or distributing narcotics.
Russell Lafitte, the former Palmetto State Bank CEO, is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and misapplication of bank funds for allegedly helping Murdaugh steal money from his client’s settlements
July 21, 2022: Palmetto State Bank CEO is charged with bank fraud for ‘helping Murdaugh steal money from his clients’
A federal grand jury indicted Russell Lafitte, the former Palmetto State Bank CEO, for allegedly conspiring with Murdaugh to steal $8.5 million from his client’s settlements.
He is charged with bank fraud, wire fraud and misapplication of bank funds.
November 8, 2022: Lafitte faces federal trial
Lafitte’s federal trial on the bank fraud charges began November 8.
The Associated Press reported that defense lawyers, Bart Daniel and Matt Austin, argue Murdaugh manipulated people and lied to Lafitte.
They say he was just a pawn following Murdaugh’s instructions and didn’t willfully participate in the alleged fraud.