Alex Murdaugh: Here's how disgraced lawyer can appeal guilty verdict for murders of wife and son
WALTERBORO, SOUTH CAROLINA: Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul after jurors deliberated for three hours Thursday, March 2. The 54-year-old trembled as the verdict was read at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina. This came after six weeks of testimony.
Murdaugh, who faces 30 years to life in prison following his conviction on two counts of murder and two weapons offenses, will appear in court again at 9.30 am Friday, February 3, to announce his sentence. He also faces about 100 charges for various financial crimes, including money laundering, fraud, forgery and tax evasion.
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Can Alex Murdaugh appeal guilty verdict?
In his closing argument Thursday, Murdaugh's attorney claimed investigators fabricated evidence. He said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) focused on his client's alleged financial misdeeds instead of securing the crime scene and investigating key evidence. Assistant Attorney General John Meadors then said it was not necessary for prosecutors to prove motive because all the evidence pointed to Murdaugh.
BREAKING: The jury swiftly convicted disgraced lawyer #AlexMurdaugh of murdering his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul. pic.twitter.com/FQllIkeKvW— Law&Crime Network (@LawCrimeNetwork) March 3, 2023
However, Murdaugh can now appeal the guilty verdict. According to the Offices of the United States Attorneys, "Even after a defendant is found guilty, they can appeal to the Circuit Court if the defendant believes they were wrongly convicted or the sentence was too harsh. An appeal is not another trial but an opportunity for the defendant to try to raise specific errors that might have occurred at trial."
It adds, "A common appeal is that a decision from the judge was incorrect – such as whether to suppress certain evidence or to impose a certain sentence. Appeals are complicated and sometimes result in the case going back to the trial court. A specific conviction may be reversed, a sentence altered, or a new trial may be ordered altogether if the Appeals Court decides that particular course of action."
The murders of Maggie and Paul
Murdaugh, who was already in prison for charges relating to embezzlement and fraud, allegedly shot Paul once in the head and once in the chest. Maggie, on the other hand, was shot multiple times with an assault rifle. According to reports, the gunshot wounds were inflicted in "execution-style." According to sources, Paul's body was found partially inside one of the kennels, but Maggie's body was found several feet away. This suggests that she may have been running from her killer when she was attacked. Murdaugh had told investigators after the murders that he was visiting his dying father and mother about 11 miles away at their home in Varnville when the crime occurred.
Last September, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) launched an investigation into the 2018 death of former Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. This came just one day after investigators alleged Alex Murdaugh hired a hit man to kill him in a botched assisted suicide scheme after his wife and son were murdered. Gloria Satterfield was a longtime housekeeper for the Murdaughs. On February 26, 2018, the 57-year-old woman died "as a result of injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident" at a Hampton County home the family owned.