Disgraced legal scion Alex Murdaugh is under 24-hour guard in a cramped concrete cell, fearing he could be a target for other inmates at the high-security Kirkland Correctional Institution.
The former lawyer, who will spend the rest of his life in prison for the murder of wife Maggie and son Paul, now spends up to 23 hours a day in his dingy cell, with only a steel bed, toilet and sink.
Prison officials believe his former life as the patriarch of a prominent legal family makes him a target for other inmates at the notorious prison, which houses some of the state’s most violent criminals.
Meals are brought to Murdaugh, 54, in his cell and he eats alone. He is also accompanied by at least one prison guard when he gives a short break from confinement.
Murdaugh will spend 45 days in jail while Department of Correction officials conduct medical tests, assess his mental health and “gather other additional background information.”
Alex Murdaugh will spend 45 days under 24-hour security in a cramped cell – with only a steel bed, toilet and sink – over fears he could be a target for other notorious inmates at the notorious Kirkland Correctional Institution
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
Alex Murdaugh with wife Maggie and their sons Buster (left) and Paul (right)
After the evaluation, he will be transferred to the general population in Kirkland or another prison, depending on the conclusions. Because he is a double murderer, Murdaugh is housed with the most brutal and violent inmates in the state.
The grim conditions are in stark contrast to the privileged world of multi-million dollar homes from the coast to the hunting grounds of the Lowlands to which he is accustomed.
Another mug shot of Murdaugh was released yesterday showing him grinning, shaved bald and dressed in a yellow prison jumpsuit and white undershirt.
Murdaugh 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 hunting estate in Moselle on the night of June 7, 2021.
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.
Alex Murdaugh is led out of the courthouse into a waiting prison van to begin his life sentence
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.”
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.”
Judge Clifton Newman has previously issued a searing conviction, describing 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.
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)
The majority of inmate deaths in the state occurred in Kirkland (160) and Broad River (101)
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
“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% or 99% believe that you are now continuing to lie when you present your denial to the court.”
Murdaugh met his fate in the same courtroom on the circuit where his father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served cases as elected prosecutors for more than 80 years.
His grandfather’s portrait hung in the back of the room until the judge ordered it removed before trial.