ABC News: Personal connections show lawyer Alex Murdaugh’s downfall

– The shooting deaths of South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son started a chain of investigations, strange happenings and legal maneuvers over the past 13 months that led to murder charges Thursday.

But Murdaugh’s life was quietly unraveling behind the scenes long before that. Authorities said he was stealing money, addicted to painkillers and desperately trying to avoid an in-depth examination of his finances tied to a wrongful death lawsuit involving his son — all while lying to just about everyone in his life.

Like the whiteboard on a detective show, the spokes of a half-dozen investigations radiated from Murdaugh after the killings of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and 22-year-old son Paul on June 7, 2021.

Suddenly, a whole cast of people became victims or unwitting players in the drama — the family of a teenager killed in a boat crash determined to fight for justice, the slain wife who led a quiet life, the Murdaugh client who may have been hired to stage an attempt on the lawyer’s life and the housekeeper who died in a fall in the Murdaugh home.


More than a year before the killings, 19-year-old Mallory Beach died when she was thrown from a Murdaugh family boat after it crashed into a bridge pier. Police said Paul Murdaugh was drunk while driving the boat in February 2019.

Beach’s family demanded justice not just criminally, but in civil court too, filing a wrongful death lawsuit that still is awaiting trial.

That lawsuit likely meant a close look at the Murdaugh family’s finances. Murdaugh fought the suit at every turn as Beach’s attorneys suggested he was fearful they would discover how he was managing to live so far above his current means. Prosecutors said they have learned since that Murdaugh was stealing money from his law firm and clients.

The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating if Murdaugh, his family or his friends tried to obstruct the investigation into the boating crash. Others on the boat said Murdaugh was at the emergency room that night, looking up their rooms and trying to convince them to tell investigators his son wasn’t driving.

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