Disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh has filed a motion to appeal his conviction for the murders of his wife and son.
The 54-year-old was sentenced last week to two consecutive life sentences after he was found guilty of shooting dead his wife Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, at the family’s sprawling hunting estate on the night of June 7, 2021.
His lawyers filed the motion to appeal his conviction and sentencing as a new mugshot was released showing Murdaugh with his head shaved smiling in yellow prison overalls.
He is now being held in his own cell at the Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center, where he will undergo 45 days of testing, which the South Carolina Department of Corrections carries out on every prisoner to assess where to hold them permanently.
As he is a convicted double murderer, Murdaugh is being housed with the state’s most brutal and violent inmates.
A new mugshot released Thursday shows Alex Murdaugh with his head shaved smiling in yellow prison overalls
Alex Murdaugh, 54, was sentenced last week to two consecutive life sentences for the murders of his wife, Maggie, 52, and son, Paul, 22
Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian announced on Thursday he and Jim Griffin filed the notice of 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 that they would file a notice of appeal within 10 days of his sentencing.
Then on Thursday, Harpootlian tweeted: ‘Today [Griffin] and I filed our notice of 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 appeals his convictions and sentences in the cases referenced above.’
During the trial, jurors heard from more than 75 witnesses and viewed nearly 800 pieces of evidence.
They also heard about Murdaugh’s betrayed friends and clients, his failed attempt to stage his own death in an insurance fraud scheme, a fatal crash in which his son was implicated, the housekeeper who died in a fall in the Murdaugh home and the grisly scene of the killings.
Eventually, the lawyer took the stand to admit to stealing millions of dollars from the family firm and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug habit.
He also admitted he had lied 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 killings.
Prosecutors did not have the weapons used to kill the Murdaughs or other direct evidence like confessions or blood spatter.
But they had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, including the video putting Murdaugh at the scene of the killings five minutes before his wife and son stopped using their mobile phones forever.
When he gave evidence last week, Murdaugh appeared to cry as he denied again and again that he killed his wife.
But juror Craig Moyer said he saw through yet another lie.
‘He never cried. All he did was blow snot,’ Moyer said. ‘No tears. I saw his eyes. I was this close to him.’
It took the jury just a few hours to convict him.
Murdaugh took the stand in his own trial, as he admitted to stealing millions of dollars from the family firm and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug habit
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 statue based on the statutory aggravating circumstances of two or more people being murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct. I don’t question at all the decision of the state not to pursue the death penalty.
‘But as I sit here in this courtroom and look around at the many portraits of judges and other court officials and reflect on the fact that over the past century, your family, including you, have been prosecuting people here in this courtroom and many have received the death penalty, probably for lesser conduct.
‘Remind me of the expression you gave on the witness stand. Oh, what tangled web we weave. What did you mean by that?’
‘I meant when I lied, I continued to lie,’ Murdaugh replied.
‘And the question is when will it end? When will it end? And it has ended already for the jury, because they’ve concluded that you continue to lie and lied throughout your testimony.
‘And perhaps with all the throng of people here, they for the most part all believe or 80, 90 and/or 99 percent believe that you continue to lie now when your statement of denial to the court.’
Kirkland Correctional Center will be Murdaugh’s grim new home for the next few weeks as he undergoes evaluation for where to be sent permanently
This undated file photo provided on 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 multi-million dollar homes from the coast to the hunting lands of the Lowcountry he is used to.
‘As part of the intake process, like all inmates, [Murdaugh] will undergo medical tests, mental health and education assessments, and the South Carolina Department of Corrections will gather 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 maximum-security prisons to serve out the rest of his life behind bars.
Kirkland is home to more than 1,700 of the most violent criminals in the state and churns through more than 8,000 prisoners each year for evaluation.
As well as serving as the processing site for all of the state’s convicts, it is also home to a specialized maximum-security jail for the most dangerous and violent offenders.
Adjacent to the prison is the Broad River Correctional Institution, which houses both high and medium security inmates.
More than 700 prisoners died in South Carolina’s prisons and jails between 2015 and 2021. The majority of those deaths occurred at Kirkland (160) and Broad River (101).
‘Kirkland is also responsible for the maximum-security unit which houses some of the most violent and dangerous inmates in the state,’ the site’s website says.
‘Furthermore, Kirkland Correctional Center houses inmates who are in the statewide protective custody program.’
Adjacent to the prison is the Broad River Correctional Institution which houses both high and medium security inmates
More than 700 prisoners died in South Carolina’s prions and jails between 2015 and 2021. The majority of those deaths occurred at Kirkland (160) and Broad River (101)
Trial attorney Robert Rikard tweeted on the eve of Murdaugh’s sentencing: ‘Tomorrow will be a much different day for Murdaugh. After sentencing instead of going to the county jail he will go to Reception and Evaluation on Broad River Rd.
‘They’ll shave his head and put him through a battery of tests that vet weeks.
‘Then he will be assigned to a SC Department of Corrections facility. Because he’s convicted of a violent crime, he will go to a facility that only houses the violent criminals. The worst of the worst.
‘It will be a much different scene than the county jail. These are brutal environments and it will be quite a shock after the privileged life he has lived.’