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Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison for murder of wife, son

Murdaugh's lawyers are expected to appeal the decision

Published: March 3, 2023 9:16am

Updated: March 3, 2023 11:05am

Disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced Friday to life in prison after being found guilty of murdering his wife and son.

"This case qualifies under our death penalty statute based on the statutory aggravating circumstances of two or more people being murdered by the defendant," Judge Clifton Newman said before the sentencing in the South Carolina Circuit Court, in Walterboro, S.C.

Murdaugh's lawyers are expected to appeal the decision. 

The jury heard closing arguments late Thursday afternoon and took as little as 45 minutes to reach an unanimous decision that Murdaugh was guilty of murder, after a six-week trial.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters before the judge announced the sentencing called Murdaugh a "manipulator."

He also said, "The depravity, selfishness, the callousness of these crimes are stunning."

Murdaugh, who appear Friday morning in a khaki prison outfit and stood silently during the roughly 20-minute hearing, was sentenced to consecutive life sentences for the murders.

The murders were apparently the final unraveling of the 54-year-old Murdaugh's once well-respected life that appeared to have taken a drastic turn for the worse when he became addicted to narcotics, then lied and stole millions to supply his addiction. 

Murdaugh's wife, Margaret, and his  22-year-old son, Paul, were found dead in June 2021 near the kennels on their family property.

The authorities came to the conclusion that Paul sustained two shotgun blasts while Margaret was hit with rifle rounds.

Murdaugh took the stand in his own defense during the trial and adamantly denied his guilt, saying "I did not shoot my wife or son any time, ever."

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