Since the 1920s, the Murdaugh family has been a prominent legal force in the Low Country region of South Carolina. But this all changed when a string of deaths and other related controversies plagued Alex Murdaugh and his family in the late 2010s.
Following the suspicious death of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield; the murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul; and the tragic death of Paul’s friend Mallory Beach during a boating accident, Alex Murdaugh has been incarcerated since October 2021. With Alex currently on trial for Paul and Maggie’s murders, it’s a fitting time to revisit the sordid story. This is precisely what Netflix has done with Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal. The three-part docuseries reveals shocking revelations about the case and the traumatic events leading up and contributing to the downfall of the family.
The history of cover-ups surrounding Paul Murdaugh
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It’s no secret that the Murdaughs; prominence in South Carolina meant that they got away with a lot more than many believe they should have. But the extent to which Alex Murdaugh and his father, Randolph, went to protect the rebellious and troublemaking Paul is jarring. Based on various accounts given by Paul Murdaugh’s former friends, including his ex-girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, Paul seemingly did whatever he wanted without repercussions.
Specifically, he drank in excess, allegedly to deal with the pain of being the “black sheep” of the family. He felt, his friends believed, that his mother favored his brother, Buster, over him since Buster was following in his ancestors’ footsteps, getting a good education and pursuing work in the legal field.
In one particularly troubling instance, Doughty recalls that, after a night of drinking, Paul insisted he drive his own truck home. He crashed into a ditch, and before Doughty could dial 911, he stopped her and called his grandfather instead. The Murdaugh patriarch showed up with Alex and Paul’s mother, Maggie, after which the trio cleared the car of the many guns and empty beer cans that were inside. Nothing ever came of the crash, presumably with the events hidden from or covered up by law enforcement, in collaboration with the Murdaughs. Most shocking, however, is when Doughty recalled how the family seemed more concerned about hiding any nefarious evidence that could tarnish their reputation versus checking to make sure the kids were alright.
The coldness of Randolph Murdaugh
In the events following the boat crash that led to the death of Beach, the other parents who were at the scene were understandably distraught. When one mother commented to Randolph Murdaugh about the gravity of the situation and the importance of finding out what happened to Beach, she was taken aback by his cold response.
“I’m pretty sure we know how that’s going to end up,” he emotionlessly replied to her query. She could see then that he was more concerned about protecting his grandson than he was about the young woman who had likely died in the accident. He seemingly had no interest in finding Beach’s body, nor did he display any remorse about what happened to her. This mother and others pointed out that it would have benefitted the Murdaughs not to find Beach’s body because that would eliminate the possibility of murder charges.
Missing conversation in transcripts
In the docuseries, it’s noted that a distraught Anthony Cook commented to police officers when they first arrived at the scene that “Paul Murdaugh killed my girlfriend.” Yet this statement was completely left out of any transcripts that were placed into evidence after the events.
Police officer Michael Brock, who it’s noted in a title card still works for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), was reportedly the officer assigned to cover the first 24 hours of the incident. The other officer, meanwhile, Michael Paul Thomas, is said to have been close friends with Alex Murdaugh’s brother, John Marvin Murdaugh. Doughty blatantly referred to him as “Alex Murdaugh’s bitch.”
Engineer analysis of the accident
An engineer who analyzed what happened with the boat and the injuries of each of the teenagers on board, hired by the Beach’s attorney, Mark Tinsley, reportedly confirmed that Connor Cook, who Paul claimed was the one actually driving the boat, could not logically have been in that position.
Based on his injuries and those of Paul, the engineer confirmed that it would not have been possible for Connor to have been steering the boat at the time of the impact. Nonetheless, the family initially claimed this was the case, purportedly to save their son from being in legal trouble for the accident and the death of Beach.
There’s proof Alex was at the scene of Paul and Maggie’s murders
The most shocking revelation from the docuseries, which has been central to the case currently in court, relates to Alex’s long-held claim that he was out visiting his ailing parents during the time of Paul and Maggie’s murders. New evidence, however, shows that he was actually there at the time. His voice can be heard in a video that was being filmed at the dog kennels where Maggie and Paul’s bodies were found. In the trial that is currently underway, Alex now admits that he lied about this, blaming paranoia caused by his drug use and addiction as his reason for lying about this critical piece of information. As revealed in the docuseries, Alex had long been addicted to opioids.
The video and audio of Alex’s voice has become crucial to the murder trial against him. Based on timing, it would place Alex on the scene just minutes prior to the deaths of both family members. Nonetheless, Alex maintains his innocence and says he did not kill his wife nor son. Alex Murdaugh’s trial is ongoing and is being streamed by a number of outlets.