One Year Later: Still no arrests in death of Murdaughs; mystery around disgraced S.C. attorney continues

Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 4:00 AM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Tuesday marks one year since Paul and Maggie Murdaugh died from “multiple gunshot wounds” near the dog kennels at their Colleton County property.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has been in charge of the case and no suspects have ever been named and there have been no arrests.

Attorney Alex Murdaugh, who’s law license is currently suspended, is the husband of Maggie and father of Paul. Alex found Paul and Maggie’s bodies on the night they were killed, according to what he told SLED. He called police around 10 p.m.

The Murdaugh name made headlines several time before Paul and Maggie’s June 7, 2021 deaths.

Most recently, Paul was charged in the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach after a boating crash. The crash happened on February 24, 2019. Those charges were dropped after Paul’s death.

In 2018, the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, died after a “trip and fall” accident at the Murdaugh’s home. Just last week SLED confirmed they will be exhuming Satterfield’s body. In September of last year, SLED opened a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s death.

Early last week, Murdaugh confessed to owing the Satterfields $4.3 million for the wrongful death settlement. In a statement, SLED says the process of exhuming Gloria Satterfield’s remains will be complex and could take several weeks.

In July 2015, the Murdaugh name was mentioned multiple times during the investigation into the death of Stephen Smith, according to SLED. The investigation into Smith’s death was reopened last year due to evidence found during the investigation into Paul and Maggie’s deaths.

On September 3, 2021, Alex Murdaugh resigned from his law firm previously known as Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick. The law firm said in a statement they forced Alex to resign for misappropriating funds.

The next day, September 4, 2021, Alex Murdaugh was shot on the side of a road in Varnville, South Carolina. Murdaugh was airlifted to a hospital in Savannah, Georgia. Murdaugh’s lawyer said at the time the shooting was not self-inflicted and there was an entry and exit wound.

Two days after the shooting, Murdaugh announced he would be going to rehab.

On September 8, 2021, Murdaugh’s law license was suspended. Then on September 13, SLED opened an investigation into allegations of misappropriated funds by Alex Murdaugh. SLED opened the investigation on Murdaugh based upon allegations that he misappropriated funds in connection to his position as a former lawyer with the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, & Detrick (PMPED) law firm in Hampton, South Carolina.

The next day, 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith was arrested by SLED in connection to Alex Murdaugh’s shooting. Smith was charged with assisted suicide, among other charges. Alex admitted to SLED his involvement in his shooting on September 13. According to SLED, he admitted to the scheme of having Smith assist him for the purpose of his only living son, Buster Murdaugh, collecting his life insurance policy valued at approximately $10 million. According to SLED, Smith admitted to his involvement on September 14.

Alex Murdaugh turned himself in on September 16 after a warrant for his arrest was issued for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, insurance fraud, and filing a false police report. Murdaugh was arrested after turning himself in at the Hampton County Detention Center.

On September 23, SLED announced the FBI was involved in the investigation of Paul and Maggie’s death. SLED said as a result of the “brutal murders” of both, SLED’s initial priority was finding anyone responsible for their deaths. They say during the course of the double murder investigation, agents with SLED have uncovered other potential crimes that warrant further investigation.

The South Carolina Supreme Court named Judge Clifton Newman to oversee all pretrial matters in investigations related to Alex Murdaugh. The court order includes “pretrial matters relating to all pending and future criminal investigations” concerning the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie Murdaugh; his son, Paul; the family’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield; and Stephen Smith.

In October 2021, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick (PMPED) law firm filed a lawsuit against former partner Alex Murdaugh in state court, seeking to recover money they say he stole from the firm and clients of the firm.

On October 14, 2021, Alex Murdaugh was charged was charged in connection with misappropriated funds from a wrongful death settlement for the family of his longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, State Law Enforcement Division agents said. Murdaugh was charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. Agents with SLED and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took Murdaugh into custody upon his release from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Fla.

On May 4, 2022, a South Carolina grand jury indicted Murdaugh on four new charges, suspended attorney Cory Fleming on five new charges and former banker Russell Lucius Laffitte on 21 charges, South Carolina Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said.

Also in May, assets belonging to Murdaugh were recently sold with the money applied to loans and medical bills associated with his opioid addiction treatment. A court filing states Murdaugh’s brother, John Murdaugh, assisted Alex Murdaugh’s son, Buster, in the sale of more than $700,000 of assets.

You can view a complete timeline of the Murdaugh case below:

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