Judge sentences Alex Murdaugh to life in prison without parole

March 3 (UPI) -- Former high-powered South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the fatal shooting deaths of his wife Margaret and son Paul in 2021 by state Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman on Friday.

Murdaugh, who also faces nearly 100 counts of financial fraud-related charges, was not sentenced on two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime because of the life sentence.


Murdaugh continued to plead his innocence in sentencing, leaving Newman to ask, "When will [the lies] end?" During the trial, Murdaugh admitted to lying to investigators at various stages of the investigation, including being with his wife and son just before they were shot to death.

Murdaugh insisted, though, he left the dog kennel shortly before they were killed only to return later to find them dead. Prosecutors repeatedly poked holes into his story and his timeline of events.

"I'm innocent," Murdaugh said during sentencing. "I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son, Paw-Paw."


Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, died of multiple gunshot wounds near the dog kennels at the family's estate in June 2021.

Newman addressed Murdaugh's family history, where his grandfather Randolph "Buster" Murdaugh Jr. served as South Carolina's 14th Circuit Solicitor from 1940 to 1986. Newman had his portrait removed from the courthouse to prevent potential bias in the trial.

"This has been perhaps one of the most troubling cases, not just for me as a judge, for the state, for the defense team, but for all of the citizens in this community, all citizens in this state," Newman said.

"A person from a respected family who has controlled justice in this community for over a century. A person whose grandfather's portrait hanging at the back of the courthouse that I had to have ordered removed in order to ensure that a fair trial was held by both the state and the defense."

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