Disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh has filed a motion to appeal his conviction for the murder of his wife and son.
The 54-year-old was sentenced last week to two consecutive life terms after pleading guilty to shooting to death his wife Maggie, 52, and youngest son Paul, 22, at the family’s sprawling hunting estate on the night of June 7, 2021. .
His attorneys filed the motion to appeal his conviction and sentencing when a new mugshot was released showing Murdaugh with his shaved head smiling in yellow prison overalls.
He is now being held in his own cell at the Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center where he will be tested for 45 days, which the South Carolina Department of Corrections conducts on each inmate to determine where they should be held permanently.
Because he is a convicted double murderer, Murdaugh is housed with the state’s most brutal and violent inmates.
A new mugshot released Thursday shows Alex Murdaugh with his shaved head smiling in yellow prison overalls
Alex Murdaugh, 54, was sentenced last week to two consecutive life sentences for the murder of his wife, Maggie, 52, and son, Paul, 22
Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian announced Thursday that he and Jim Griffin have filed the appeal, saying it is the “next step in the legal process to fight for Alex’s constitutional right to a fair trial.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, had previously hinted they would appeal within 10 days of his conviction.
On Thursday, Harpootlian tweeted, “Today [Griffin] and I filed our appeal for Alex Murdaugh.
“This is the next step in the legal process to fight for Alex’s constitutional right to a fair trial.”
The court document simply says, “Richard Alexander Murdaugh is appealing his convictions and sentences in the above cases.”
During the trial, the jurors heard more than 75 witnesses and reviewed nearly 800 pieces of evidence.
They also learned about Murdaugh’s betrayed friends and clients, his failed attempt to fake his own death in an insurance fraud scheme, a fatal accident involving his son, the housekeeper who died in a fall at Murdaugh’s home, and the gruesome scene of the murders.
In the end, the lawyer took the stand to admit that he stole millions of dollars from the family business and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug use.
He also admitted lying to investigators about being at the kennels where Maggie and Paul died, saying he was paranoid of law enforcement because he was addicted to opioids and had pills in his pocket the night of the kill.
Prosecutors did not have the weapons used to kill the Murdaughs or other direct evidence such as confessions or blood spatter.
But they had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, including the video that placed Murdaugh at the scene of the murders five minutes before his wife and son stopped using their cell phones forever.
While testifying last week, Murdaugh appeared to cry as he repeatedly denied killing his wife.
But juror Craig Moyer said he saw through another lie.
‘He never cried. All he did was blow snot,” Moyer said. ‘No tears. I saw his eyes. I was so close to him.’
It only took the jury a few hours to convict him.
Murdaugh took the stand in his own trial, when he admitted to stealing millions of dollars from the family business and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug use.
In his sentencing last week, Judge Clifton Newman described Murdaugh as a “monster” who continued to lie even when the evidence was damning.
Alex Murdaugh with wife Maggie and their sons Buster (left) and Paul (right)
At his sentencing last week, Judge Clifton Newman described Murdaugh as a “monster” who continued to lie even when the evidence was damning.
“This case qualifies under our death penalty statute based on the legal aggravating circumstances of two or more people murdered by the defendant by a single act or under a single plan or course of action. I have no doubt at all about the state’s decision not to carry out the death penalty.
“But as I sit here in this courtroom looking around at the many portraits of judges and other court officials and reflecting on the fact that over the past century your family, including you, have prosecuted people here in this courtroom and many have received the death penalty, probably for less behavior.
“Remind me of the phrase you used on the witness stand. Oh, what a tangled web we weave. What do you mean?’
“I meant when I lied, I kept lying,” Murdaugh replied.
And the question is when will it end? When will it end? And it’s already over for the jury, because they concluded that you continue to lie and lie throughout your entire testimony.
“And maybe with all the crowd of people here, for the most part they all either believe 80, 90, and/or 99 percent that you’ll continue to lie now when your statement of denial comes out in court.”
Kirkland Correctional Center will be Murdaugh’s grim new home for the next few weeks as he is assessed where he should be sent permanently
This undated file photo, provided July 11, 2019, by the South Carolina Department of Corrections, shows the new death row at Broad River Correctional Institution in Columbia, SC
The life Murdaugh now faces is a far cry from the privileged world of multimillion-dollar homes, from the coast to the hunting grounds of the Lowlands, to which he is accustomed.
‘As part of the intake process, like all detainees, [Murdaugh] will undergo medical tests, mental health and education assessments, and the South Carolina Department of Corrections will collect other additional background information,” the South Carolina Department of Corrections said in a statement last week.
After the evaluation, Murdaugh will be sent to one of the state’s highest security prisons to spend the rest of his life behind bars.
Kirkland is home to more than 1,700 of the most violent criminals in the state and puts more than 8,000 inmates through for evaluation each year.
In addition to being the processing center for all of the state’s convicts, it is also home to a specialized maximum-security prison for the most dangerous and violent offenders.
Adjacent to the prison is the Broad River Correctional Institution, which houses both heavy and intermediate inmates.
Between 2015 and 2021, more than 700 inmates died in South Carolina jails and jails. The majority of those deaths occurred in Kirkland (160) and Broad River (101).
“Kirkland is also responsible for the maximum security unit that houses some of the most violent and dangerous inmates in the state,” the site’s website says.
“In addition, the Kirkland Correctional Center houses inmates who are in the state’s protective custody program.”
Adjacent to the prison is the Broad River Correctional Institution, which houses both heavy and intermediate inmates
Between 2015 and 2021, more than 700 inmates died in South Carolina jails and jails. The majority of those deaths occurred in Kirkland (160) and Broad River (101)
Trial attorney Robert Rikard tweeted on the eve of Murdaugh’s sentencing, “Tomorrow will be a very different day for Murdaugh. After his conviction instead of going to county jail, he goes to reception and evaluation on Broad River Rd.
“They will shave his head and put him through a series of tests that will take vet weeks.
“Then he will be assigned to an SC Department of Corrections facility. Being convicted of a violent crime, he goes to an institution that houses only the violent criminals. The worst of the worst.
“It will be a very different scene from the county jail. These are brutal environments and it will come as quite a shock after the privileged life he has led.”