Victims of Alex Murdaugh’s monetary fraud face him in court docket earlier than sentencing: NPR

Victims of Alex Murdaugh’s monetary fraud face him in court docket earlier than sentencing: NPR

Alex Murdaugh, proper, talks together with his attorneys Dick Harpootlian, left, and Jim Griffin throughout his sentencing for stealing from 18 shoppers on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, on the Beaufort County Courthouse in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Andrew J. Whittaker/The Submit And Courier/Pool by way of AP


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Andrew J. Whittaker/The Submit And Courier/Pool by way of AP


Alex Murdaugh, proper, talks together with his attorneys Dick Harpootlian, left, and Jim Griffin throughout his sentencing for stealing from 18 shoppers on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023, on the Beaufort County Courthouse in Beaufort, South Carolina.

Andrew J. Whittaker/The Submit And Courier/Pool by way of AP

For years, South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh has seemed into the eyes of his grieving shoppers and promised to assist them pay their medical payments, battle, or just keep alive. Then he stole a few of what he received from a lot of them, if not all of it.

These shoppers needed to look Murdaugh within the eye on Tuesday and inform him how he had destroyed their belief, because the disgraced lawyer was sentenced to 27 years in jail for stealing almost $12 million.

“I am not crying about what he stole from me. I am crying about what he did to everybody,” mentioned Jordan Jenks, Murdo’s childhood pal.

The courtroom drama marks one other step within the downfall of a strong, revered lawyer whose household identify has dominated the authorized scene in small Hampton County for generations, and whose alleged crimes have been a frequent matter of true crime podcasts and on-line discussion groups.

In court docket, carrying an orange jail jumpsuit, Murdaugh listened as victims informed how the person with a commanding presence and seductive Southern appeal had deceived them.

Jenks went to Murdo after incurring tons of of 1000’s of {dollars} in medical payments attributable to a neck harm when somebody rear-ended his automobile. Jenks paid the payments prematurely, after Murdoch assured that he would obtain a settlement to pay him. Murdoch received the cash, however stored it himself, financially ruining his pal.

“The cash you stole from me, I used to be going to offer it to you,” Jinks mentioned. “Why, brother? Why?”

Prosecutors and protection attorneys negotiated a 27-year jail sentence for Murdoch, who’s already serving a life sentence with out parole after a jury convicted him of killing his spouse, Maggie, with a shotgun, and his youthful son, Paul, with a shotgun. in June 2021. It was accepted by Choose Clifton Newman, who additionally presided over the homicide trial.

Murdo strongly denies killing his relations. His attorneys are looking for a brand new trial, citing allegations that the court docket clerk tampered with the jury. A distinct decide will determine whether or not to grant Murdaugh a listening to wherein the jurors, the clerk, and maybe even Newman, may be questioned below oath.

The sentence for Murdo’s monetary crimes is a sort of insurance coverage coverage to forestall his launch if his homicide conviction is overturned. Underneath South Carolina legislation, Murdoch should serve almost 23 years of his sentence, whilst a mannequin prisoner. He will probably be 76 years outdated earlier than he’s launched. Murdoch was pressured to waive his rights to attraction as a part of the deal.

Newman mentioned Tuesday that Murdoch had an emptier soul than anybody he had seen in his 23 years on the bench, aside from a person sentenced to loss of life for killing an off-duty police officer and burning his physique.

“The query was requested: What sort of animal are you?” Newman mentioned, referring to extra feedback Jenks made throughout his testimony. “You are a mysterious individual. I do not assume you perceive your self.”

For his half, Mardo spent almost 45 minutes apologizing to his household for bringing disgrace and dishonor to them, and addressing all his victims, though he didn’t cry as a lot as he did when he testified in his personal protection throughout his homicide trial.

“I would like every of you who spoke to know that I listened to you. I heard you. Your ache and damage are palpable. … I promise you this resonates with me,” Murdaugh mentioned.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters of the state Legal professional Basic’s Workplace opened Tuesday’s listening to with an in depth account of all of Murdaugh’s thefts and the way he was in a position to transfer greater than $12 million he stole to keep away from detection for almost 10 years.

It ended greater than an hour later with the precise determine: $12,425,254.32.

Waters mentioned his shoppers trusted Murdough, and he used “the belief of his household identify and the authorized license on this wall” to proceed stealing to repay loans and bank card payments, by no means catching up with the dangerous investments and lavish spending.

Prosecutors initially charged Murdo with 101 monetary crimes, together with breach of belief, cash laundering and tax evasion, involving 18 victims.

Underneath the plea deal, the rely was lowered to 22 crimes towards every of his shoppers.

Amongst his victims was Gloria Satterfield, the household’s longtime maid who died in a fall on the Murdough residence. Murdo put his arm round Satterfield’s son at her funeral and promised him that he would care for her household. He pocketed about $4 million from his insurance coverage firms and later admitted to stealing each penny.

Satterfield’s son, Tony, mentioned he prays for Murdo and forgives him, however he can’t neglect how he was handled.

He mentioned: “I actually do not have the phrases. You lied, you cheated, you stole. You betrayed me and my household.”

Sandra Taylor was killed in a crash with a drunk driver, forsaking three youngsters. Murdo informed her property he may solely get a $30,000 settlement. Prosecutors mentioned he took $150,000 himself.

“They misplaced their mom. And I stole each dime from them. Do not you might have a soul?” requested Ginger Hadwin, Satterfield’s sister.

Tuesday’s listening to didn’t mark the tip of Mardo’s authorized issues. He’s additionally awaiting sentencing on federal monetary crimes costs, and nonetheless faces insurance coverage fraud and different native costs after he requested a pal to kill him in September 2021 so his surviving son may gather $10 million in life insurance coverage. The bullet solely hit Murdoch’s head.

In his speech on Tuesday, Murdaugh once more blamed his drug habit to painkillers for all of the thefts. He made detailed apologies to his surviving son, household, in-laws and legislation companions. He informed all his victims that they have been welcome to go to him behind bars.

“I hope that every of you’ll be keen to speak to me on the applicable time,” Murdo mentioned. “I would really like over time to proceed to emphasise how sorry I’m and the way vital it’s to me to know this.”

After the speech, Waters informed the decide — simply as he had executed earlier than sentencing within the homicide trial — that Murdaugh may lie and conjure false honesty like nobody had ever seen earlier than.

“He is good. He can look folks within the eye. However we have seen all of it earlier than,” Waters mentioned. “The principle factor he was involved about was how he thought others seen him.”

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