After deliberating for three hours on Thursday, a jury of seven men and five women convicted 54-year-old Alex Murdaugh of two counts of murder in the fatal shootings of his wife Margaret, 52, and their youngest son, Paul, 22, in June 2021. The disgraced South Carolina lawyer was accused of murdering his wife and son to gain pity and distract from financial crimes threatening to topple his reputation; he faces 30 years to life in prison without parole. The jury also convicted Murdaugh of two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, which carry five more years in prison.
The verdict followed a lengthy trial that began in late January and included nearly six weeks of testimony from 75 witnesses, including Murdaugh. Lawyers for Murdaugh moved for a mistrial after the verdicts were read, which was denied by Circuit Judge Clifton Newman, who said that the verdict was a matter for the jury and that there was enough evidence to have found Murdaugh guilty: “The evidence of guilt is overwhelming, and I deny the motion.” Thanking the jurors, Judge Newman said their verdict was support by the evidence: “All of the evidence pointed to only one conclusion. That’s the conclusion that you all reached.”
Sentencing will take place begining 9:30 a.m. Friday in South Carolina’s Colleton County. Prosecutors have indicated they will spare Murdaugh the death penalty, and instead seek life in prison without the possibility of parole. Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison for the murder charge.
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