Court is adjourned
The almost six-week-long double murder trial that captured nationwide and global attention — a saga of fraudulent crimes, deaths and lies — has come to an end. Jurors were escorted out of the courtroom as spectators, the media and family members rose from their seats.
“Our business is done here in Colleton County,” Newman said as he banged the gavel.
Murdaugh still faces dozens of financial crimes charges
While Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison for the double murders of his wife and son, it likely won’t be his last time in court.
The disbarred lawyer still faces at least 99 financial-related crimes in 19 different indictments tied to stealing from his law clients over several years.
Murdaugh admitted to various financial crimes when he took the stand in his defense last week. During the trial, he was being held on a $7 million bond for the financial charges.
Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison without parole
Alex Murdaugh is punished with the maximum sentence of life in prison without parole for the fatal shootings of his wife, Margaret, and their younger son, Paul.
For a separate charge of two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, he is not sentenced because of the life sentence.
Judge to Murdaugh: ‘When will the lies end?’
Earlier in Murdaugh’s testimony, the disgraced lawyer said that the lies he told were compounding: “What a tangled web we weave, once you tell a lie.”
Newman asked Murdaugh what he meant when he testified about the web of lies.
“I meant when I lied, I continued to lie,” Murdaugh replied.
Newman noted that the jury has concluded he has lied throughout his testimony, particularly about his alibi and his omission of being at the scene of the murder moments before his wife and son were fatally shot.
“When will it end?” Newman asked.
Judge speaks of the ‘monster you became’ to Murdaugh
Murdaugh declined to speak further when asked by Newman if he wanted to address the court before his sentencing.
“I’ll tell you again, I respect this court, but I’m innocent. I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son, Paul Paul,” Murdaugh said.
“It might not have been you,” Newman said. “It might have been the monster you became.”
Newman gets personal
Murdaugh was a once-prominent lawyer in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Newman addressed the community they shared as legal practitioners.
“As a member of the legal community and well-known member of the legal community, you’ve practiced law before me and we’ve seen each other in various occasions throughout the years,” Newman said to Murdaugh.
“It was especially heartbreaking for me to see you go in the media from being a grieving father who lost the wife and son to being the person indicted and convicted of killing them.”
Murdaugh addresses the court
Murdaugh spoke briefly during his sentencing, telling the court: “I’m innocent. I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son, Paul Paul.”
No victim impact statements
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters told Newman that there will be no victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing on behalf of the prosecution.
A victim advocate said none of them wished to speak.
“I want to commend our victim advocate on the excellent job handling this complex situation,” Waters said.
Judge will hear from both sides as he weighs the sentence
Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman is going to balance a number of factors in the sentencing today.
Watch for the defense to try to argue there are mitigating factors that should weigh against life in prison — such as Murdaugh’s lack of criminal history and drug addiction. But the prosecution will point to other factors, including his lack of remorse.
Murdaugh will also have an opportunity to speak, if he chooses. But he may decide to keep quiet today, especially if he wants to file an appeal.
Murdaugh arrives at the courthouse
Murdaugh arrived at the Colleton County Courthouse just before 9:30 a.m. for his sentencing hearing.
Unlike during his trial, when he wore a dress shirt and jacket each day, Murdaugh arrived in a tan jail jumpsuit, white socks and orange slippers. His hands were cuffed and his legs were chained.
South Carolina AG details what worked
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson spoke Friday ahead of the sentencing about the moments in the high-profile trial that sealed Murdaugh’s fate.
“That kennel video that no one knew existed until months after the murders occurred, it was basically Paul speaking from beyond the grave. That, yes, Alex Murdaugh was there just moments before Maggie and Paul were brutally murdered. That was a major piece of the state’s case,” he said on NBC’s “TODAY” show.
In the case, the state presented the Snapchat video evidence taken from Paul’s cellphone that placed Murdaugh at the estate’s kennels at 8:44 p.m. the night of the murders, countering his denial to investigators that he had last seen his family at dinner time.
The attorney general said Murdaugh himself was the “biggest piece of evidence.”
“When he took the stand, I think that was fatal for him ultimately,” Wilson said.
- Court is adjourned
- Murdaugh still faces dozens of financial crimes charges
- Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison without parole
- Judge to Murdaugh: ‘When will the lies end?’
- Judge speaks of the ‘monster you became’ to Murdaugh
- Newman gets personal
- Murdaugh addresses the court
- No victim impact statements
- Judge will hear from both sides as he weighs the sentence
- Murdaugh arrives at the courthouse
- South Carolina AG details what worked