Lewis M. Levine/AP
WALTERBORO, S.C. — The once-powerful and now disbarred South Carolina legal professional Alex Murdaugh pleaded not responsible on Wednesday to murdering his spouse and son 13 months in the past.
Prosecutors agreed to maintain the proof secret amid media consideration. His protection mentioned Murdaugh cannot afford to put up any bond and desires a speedy trial as a result of “he believes the killer or killers are nonetheless at giant.”
The prosecution mentioned all proof reveals he was chargeable for the deadly shootings.
“The proof on this case is substantial and all of it factors again to Alex Murdaugh. There may be forensic proof in addition to different proof of his guilt of those murders,” mentioned Creighton Waters, a deputy state legal professional basic.
“Our response to that’s he is fallacious. And that is why a jury will sit in that jury field,” protection lawyer Dick Harpootlian mentioned.
Murdaugh has been behind bars since October, charged with monetary crimes and a number of other different misdeeds that have been uncovered after the killings of his spouse Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, on the household’s Colleton County searching property in June 2021.
Murdaugh, 54, was indicted final week on two counts of homicide and two counts of possession of a weapon throughout a violent crime.
The indictment wasn’t learn in courtroom on Wednesday, and courtroom papers made public to this point do not point out how police linked Murdaugh to the deaths after 13 months of investigation. Nor do they include any clues as to why a person who had no felony historical past and was a part of a rich, well-connected household that dominated the authorized neighborhood within the tiny city of Hampton might need wished to kill his family members.
Authorities have been tight-lipped for the reason that begin of the investigation. Final 12 months, they launched the late-night 911 name by which Murdaugh reported discovering the our bodies of his spouse and son exterior by the canine kennels on his property. The coroner mentioned each victims had been shot a number of instances. The indictments add a brand new element: an allegation that Murdaugh killed his spouse with a rifle and his son with a shotgun.
“It was very clear from day one which regulation enforcement and the Lawyer Basic prematurely concluded that Alex was chargeable for the homicide of his spouse and son,” the protection wrote forward of Wednesday’s listening to. “However we all know that Alex didn’t have any motive by any means to homicide them.”
Circuit Choose Clifton Newman presided. He additionally denied bond for Murdaugh on the monetary crimes expenses. A unique decide later set bond at $7 million however Murdaugh was unable to pay it and has remained in jail. His attorneys have complained a number of instances that the bond was set too excessive, and mentioned that due to lawsuits and frozen belongings Murdaugh could not even afford to purchase underwear from the jail retailer.
If convicted of homicide, Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in jail with out parole. Below state regulation, prosecutors might additionally select to hunt the demise penalty as a result of a couple of individual was killed.
The 4 new indictments related to the slayings added to a pile of 80 different expenses lodged towards Murdaugh by investigators who’ve scrutinized each a part of his life over the previous 12 months. No trial dates have been set for any of the instances.
Prosecutors mentioned the once-prominent legal professional stole greater than $8 million in settlements and different cash from shoppers, dedicated fraud and lied to police by making an attempt to rearrange his personal demise so his surviving son might accumulate a $10 million life insurance coverage coverage. Murdaugh was additionally charged final month with co-running a $2 million cash laundering and drug ring.
The homicide expenses and different instances are being prosecuted by the South Carolina Lawyer Basic’s Workplace due to hyperlinks Murdaugh has to the native 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Workplace. The workplace’s jurisdiction contains Colleton County and Hampton County, the place Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather have been the elected prosecutors for 87 consecutive years.