After months of speculation, Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers have finally admitted the South Carolina attorney—who’s already accused of orchestrating his own murder—is a person of interest in his wife and son’s double homicide.
Jim Griffin, one of the scion’s attorneys, confirmed that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) began investigating Murdaugh “from the get-go” in the June 7 murders of his 52-year-old wife, Margaret, and his 22-year-old son, Paul. Authorities say that Murdaugh called 911 around 10:07 p.m. after finding his family brutally shot near the dog kennels outside their 1,770-acre estate in Colleton County.
In the seven-minute call, Murdaugh tells a dispatcher, “I’ve been up to it now—it’s bad,” while dogs bark in the background.
Despite being named a person of interest, Murdaugh’s lawyer insisted to Fox Carolina on Wednesday that his client was visiting with his mother, who has dementia, at the time of the murders and “had no motive to kill them.”
“You would think that if Alex was the one who did it, that SLED would have been able to establish that pretty easily that night,” Griffin said. “You would think they would have searched his house and found blood somewhere. You would think they would have found the murder weapons on the property. You would think they would come up with something to link Alex to the murders, forensically or independent evidence. To my knowledge, they have not done that.”
Griffin, however, admitted that state authorities “are not sharing information but I believe if they had that [information] they would have charged Alex and they have not charged him.” SLED did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment about Murdaugh being a person of interest.
“He loved his wife. He loved his son. The murders were done in the most brutal fashion,” Griffin said, noting that he had reviewed Murdaugh’s text messages with his wife and there was no indication of a “domestic dispute.”
“He didn’t do it. I feel strongly that he didn’t do it,” Murdaugh’s lawyer added. “Nobody wants to solve these murders as much as Alex.”
The admission that Murdaugh is being investigated in his wife and son’s murders is just one of several legal entanglements the once powerful lawyer currently faces. In the last month, Murdaugh has admitted to a decades-long addiction to opioids, been accused of funneling millions from his former law firm, and admitted he tried to stage his own murder in an attempt to leave a $10 million life insurance payout for his remaining son, Buster.
Both Murdaugh and his alleged dealer face criminal charges in the bizarre attempted suicide episode—but Murdaugh was allowed to leave jail and go to rehab in another state. Griffin said Wednesday that his team was working to “peel back more layers of this onion” to see if Murdaugh’s addiction or various alleged financial misdeeds were the motives for someone to harm his family.
Murdaugh has also been implicated in a series of lawsuits, ranging from allegations he conspired to influence the 2019 investigation into a boat crash that killed a teenage girl to claims he swindled millions from a wrongful death settlement meant for the sons of his late housekeeper. SLED has opened criminal investigations into both cases.
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick (PMPED), the law firm founded a century ago by Murdaugh’s great-grandfather, also accused the scion in a lawsuit of funneling money from his clients and his former employer into a fake bank account for years.
The firm first made the allegations in September, after Murdaugh issued a surprise announcement stating he had quit his job and was entering rehab for drug dependency just hours after calling police to say he’d been shot in the head by a mystery truck driver on a Lowcountry backroad.
On Wednesday, Griffin insisted that details of the staged murder are still murky—though Murdaugh has said he called his alleged accomplice, Curtis Edward Smith, and asked him to meet on a rural backroad. There, Murdaugh allegedly asked Smith to shoot him with a .38 revolver.
Smith and his lawyers have insisted that he tried to stop Murdaugh from shooting himself after he refused to fire the gun. The handyman told The New York Times that after the gun went off, Smith was left holding the weapon as Murdaugh fell to the ground—and ran to his truck to drive away. Smith later admitted to police he ditched the gun along the side of the road.