Murdaugh Murders: a Southern Scandal is a documentary series that landed on Netflix in February 2023. The episodes became quite viral after the release because it describes the true story of the murders around Alex Murdaugh’s family. The case is still open and the trial against Alex Murdaugh is ongoing: let’s recap the whole, true story of what happened and where the trial stands.
You can watch the official trailer for Murdaugh Murders: a Southern Scandal here on Youtube.
Murdaugh Murders: the death of Maggie and Paul
South Carolina, July 7, 2021. It is about 10 PM when the police receive a call from a distraught man, who declares to have found the corpses of his wife and son in the kennel inside his property in Islandon. The caller is Alex Murdaugh, 63, a lawyer and descendant of a wealthy family known by everyone in the area.
The victims are Maggie Murdaugh (52 years old) and Paul Murdaugh (22 years old). When the agents arrive on the scene, they have the opportunity to ascertain the causes of the deaths: both were killed with a pistol. Maggie has been hit several times with an assault rifle, while Paul received multiple shots from a pump rifle.
A chilling scene. The authorities question what could have happened and why someone has made themselves the author of this terrible double murder. Investigators have to deal with a complex case. Within the Murdaugh family, there are no grudges or disagreements of all sorts; indeed, at first glance, it seems the classic perfect family unit.
Has a stranger entered the property intending to carry out a massacre?
The investigations around the Murdaugh Murders continue without particular developments; in the first months, no convincing track emerges. Then, suddenly, another unexpected event comes.
On September 4, 2021, 911 received another phone call from Alex Murdaugh, who claimed that someone shot him while he was on Hampton Road. He says he had approached a pick-up when suddenly a man appeared from the vehicle and shot him. Alex is taken to the hospital for the head injury caused by a gunshot. Is there a subject, or more subjects, who have targeted the family?
At this point, more insidious details emerge from Alex’s life. His lawyer declares that the man has an opioid addiction and is being treated privately. A few days later, an investigation is opened against him for embezzlement. And there are also surprises as regards the episode of the attack on him.
On September 14, 2021, investigators claimed that it was a conspiracy. According to the accusation, Alex would have an agreement with a man named Curtis Edward Smith: he was supposed to shoot him in the head with a gun provided by Alex. The goal was to be killed and let his other son collect his life insurance, around 10$ million. Two days later, Alex Murdaugh confesses the fact.
On September 15, the children of Gloria Satterfield, the former housekeeper of the Murdaugh family, accidentally died in 2018 within their property, accuse Alex and other people of illegally appropriating the mother’s money. Ultimately, the accused admits he had to return millions of dollars to Gloria’s children.
The figure of Alex suffers increasingly heavy blows, and Pandora’s box keeps revealing more surprises.
On October 14, he was arrested because investigators claimed he stole goods from Gloria Satterfield’s property. At the same time, the Murdaugh Murders case reopens. Was it just an accident, or is there something more?
During his stay in prison, the accusations against him multiply: money laundering, falsification, and computer crimes. In total, there are more than 80 different charges.
It seems it cannot go worse than that when the definitive blow arrives.
On July 14, 2022, Alex Murdaugh was formally accused of the murder of his wife and son. The defendant declares himself innocent. But what did the investigators lead to believe that the person in charge of the death of Maggie and Paul was him? Perhaps another tragic story dating back to three years earlier has something to do with it, which involved the name of the well-known Islandon family.
2018: a fatal accident
February 23, 2019. It is 18:30 when Paul Murdaugh receives his girlfriend at home, Morgan, and two other young couples, composed of Connor and Miley and Mallory and Anthony. The group planned to spend the evening on Paukie Island to celebrate and have fun together. To go to the designated place, they decide to use the boat in possession of the Murdaugh family.
Alcohol is expected; Paul is filmed by the surveillance cameras while buying alcoholic beverages. Subsequently, the boy comes out and heads towards the pick-up, where friends await him. The boys begin the boat trip at 19:00 and reach their destination. About five hours go by when, around midnight, they decide to leave. At this point, they head to Beaufort, where Paul and Connor enter a bar and consume alcoholic shots. Around 1 AM, the group returns to the boat.
According to the testimonies, Paul would have been driving in an evident state of alteration, arguing with some of his friends. Unfortunately, a devastating scenario is upon us.
It is 02:20 at night when 911 receives Connor’s call. The boat crashed into the Archers Creek bridge. All the young people on board are in shock. Some of them are injured, while Mallory, Anthony’s girl, appears to have disappeared. There are traces of blood on the vehicle. The worst scenario becomes more and more likely and unfortunately becomes reality on March 3, 2019, when the young woman’s body is returned by the river, about 5 miles from where the accident occurred—an excruciating event, a 19-year-old girl, beautiful and full of life, deceased brutally.
Mallory’s family opens a cause for unjust death against Murdaugh. Paul is officially accused of driving in a state of intoxication and of having caused Mallory’s death and the injury of Connor and Morgan. The suspect is released on bail and should undergo a trial where he risked up to 25 years in prison. With his death, the accusations against him are abandoned.
Could this sad story play a role in the double murder occurring two years later? Is it possible that one of the reasons that prompted Alex to kill his son (assuming that he has really been the one who fired) was to close this lousy story once and for all? For now, it’s just a hypothesis. We now deepen the case of the ex-housekeeper mentioned above.
Alex Murdaugh and Gloria Satterfield
It is February 2, 2018, when Maggie Murdaugh makes an emergency call, reporting that the housekeeper had a bad accident falling from the stairs.
Gloria Satterfield reports multiple skull injuries, rib fractures, and a partially collapsed lung. She’s hospitalized, and the doctors try in every way to save her, but unfortunately, there is nothing to do. At 57, Gloria leaves this world.
The public accusation suspects that Alex Murdaugh took advantage of the housekeeper’s death to set up an insurance fraud with the collaboration of the lawyer Corny Fleming. The dynamics of the accident have never been clarified; according to the statements, it seems that the housekeeper stumbled over the family dogs, but it is a version that has never been officially confirmed.
The investigation into this nebulous story continues, looking for a definitive truth to bring clarity.
Alex Murdaugh & the murders: the trail
Let’s go back to the Murdaugh Murders of Maggie and Paul. Alex’s trial began on January 25, 2023, and ended in March. After six weeks of hearing, the jury finds the defendant guilty and Judge Clifton Newman issues the sentence: Alex Murdaugh is sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his wife and child, without the possibility of parole.
During the hearing, the defendant admitted his financial crimes and reiterated that he orchestrated the attack against him, but he strongly denied being the murderer of his wife and child. The defense argued that according to the ballistics measurements, the height of the shooter does not match that of Alex.
During the trial, a video was shown, recovered from Paul’s cell phone, recorded a few minutes before his death. The 22-year-old was inside the family’s kennel, where he would die with his mother. Other noises are heard in the background: according to the accusation, they belong to Maggie and Alex.