was sentenced to life in prison Friday morning after a jury in South Carolina reached a guilty verdict in his double murder trial. The disgraced former attorney was convicted Thursday on four counts: the 2021 murder of his wife Maggie Murdaugh, the murder of his son Paul Murdaugh, and two counts of possession of a weapon during a crime.
Judge Clifton Newman announced a sentence of “the rest of your natural life” in prison for each of the two murder counts, to be served consecutively. Murdaugh, 54, wasn’t sentenced for the other charges because of the life sentence.
Murdaugh spoke briefly in court before the sentence was handed down and denied that he had ever hurt his wife or son.
“I respect this court, but I’m innocent,” Murdaugh told the judge. “I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife Maggie, and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son.”
“And it might not have been you,” Newman responded. “It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person.”
The convicted former attorney and the judge exchanged words a few times during Friday’s brief hearing. At one point, Newman asked Murdaugh why he used the expression “tangled web we weave” when he testified in his own defense.
“I meant when I lied, I continue to lie,” Murdaugh said.
“And the question is, when will it end, when will it end?” the judge said. “It’s ended already for the jury because they’ve concluded that you continued to lie and lie throughout your testimony.”
Newman said he expected Murdaugh to appeal his conviction. He noted that prosecutors chose to not pursue the death penalty in the case and that Murdaugh once prosecuted defendants who were sentenced to death.
“Probably for lesser conduct,” Newman said.
When Murdaugh, he repeatedly broke down in tears over two days of testimony as he denied the killings. But his testimony also included admissions that he had lied to investigators, and evidence presented by the prosecution placed him at the scene on the night of the murders.
“Our criminal justice system worked tonight. It gave a voice to Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, who were brutally mowed down by someone they knew and trusted,” Wilson said.
After the verdict was read, the defense moved to have it thrown out and a mistrial declared, but Judge Clifton Newman denied the request, citing the massive amount of evidence and testimony the jury had considered, The Associated Press reported.
“The jury has now considered the evidence for a significant period of time, and the evidence of guilt is overwhelming,” he said.
Murdaugh faces another trial in the future over numerous financial crimes.
“48 Hours” will air “The Trial of Alex Murdaugh” Saturday at 10/9c.