Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal documents the crimes and the cover-ups linked to one of South Carolina’s most prominent families. The three-part docuseries is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
The Murdaughs are known as the most influential family in Hampton County. They run the biggest law firm in town; in fact, they are the law in this area. The family comprises Alex and Maggie and their two sons, Buster and Paul.
Paul’s relationship with his girlfriend, Morgan, is not the best. There is abuse involved, and Paul’s drinking habit is out of control. His friends claim that he becomes a completely different person when he gets drunk, which happens very often.
In February 2019, Paul, Morgan, and two other couples, Mallory and Anthony as well as Miley and Connor, decide to go to a party, and Paul insists they all ride in his boat. After stopping at a bar, a drunk Paul starts driving the boat, ignoring the complaints and warnings from his friends.
He slaps his girlfriend and continues recklessly driving the boat, resulting in a crash. The boat hits the bridge in Archers Creek, throwing Mallory and Anthony off the board and injuring the others.
Anthony swims out of the water, but Mallory is nowhere to be found. The others are taken to the hospital, where Alex and his father, Randolph, try to prevent anyone from speaking to the police about the incident. They further claim that Connor, not Paul, was driving the boat.
While the authorities are looking for Mallory, it is clear that the Murdaughs are trying to cover up Paul’s crime. Mallory’s body is found seven days later.
Her parents hire an attorney, Mark Tinsley, who finds out that Michael Broach, the lead investigator for the first 24 hours, and another officer, Michael Paul Thomas, have close links to Alex. Hence, the investigation was not carried out the way it should have been.
Two months after Mallory’s death, Paul is indicted on felony charges, including boating under the influence, causing death. However, Paul is given special treatment by the authorities. Mark also filed a wrongful death lawsuit related to Mallory’s death, but it still has not gone to trial.
Paul then moves into the family cabin on Moselle, and he continues living the life that he did before. His parents take no measures to get him to change it.
Soon, Buster gets expelled from college, and other such incidents put the Murdaughs under significant stress. In June 2021, Alex, after visiting his parents, comes home to find his wife and Paul dead on their property.
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal ending explained in detail:
Why are Stephen and Gloria’s cases related to the Murdaughs?
In July 2015, the body of a boy named Stephen Smith was found on a rural highway. The authorities did not get to the root of it, so his mother hired a private investigator, Steve Peterson.
He interviewed people close to Stephen, and the name of Buster came up again and again. Additionally, Stephen’s murder is not the last one to be linked to this family.
In February 2018, Murdaughs’ housekeeper, Gloria, died on their property. They claimed that she tripped over their hogs and fell down the stairs, hitting her head.
Alex was addicted to painkillers, and Gloria had recently found Alex’s hidden drugs. She then gave it to Paul, who was usually very concerned about his father’s health. Paul tried to prevent him from abusing drugs.
Steve talked to the caretaker of the property and discovered new details, including the fact that Alex was not home at the time of Gloria’s death, as he had claimed. The caretaker and Paul were asked to move Gloria’s body and put it down horizontally.
When new evidence comes to light, the authorities reopen Stephen’s case in connection to the murder of Maggie and Paul. The Murdaughs have denied any involvement in Stephen’s death.
What are Alex’s financial crimes?
Around the same time, Alex is forced to resign from the Murdaugh law firm when the partners find out that he has been misappropriating money from the client.
Soon, Alex claims that he has been shot in the head in the middle of the road. However, it is revealed that Alex hired someone to shoot him, and he is sent to rehab for opioid addiction.
Curtis Smith, a former client of Alex, says that Alex called him for help and then staged a struggle with the gun. Curtis feels that he was being framed for something, possibly an attempt to murder Alex and the murders of Maggie and Paul.
In September 2021, SLED opens an investigation into Alex’s financial crimes when it discovered that Alex recovered $4.3 million from the commercial insurance policy on Moselle, which he had taken out a month before her death.
However, Gloria’s family never received that money. As a result, Alex is taken into custody. He then appears before a Carolina circuit court judge, and surprisingly, his bond gets denied.
The investigation into the case of Gloria’s death is still ongoing.
Who is charged with Maggie and Paul’s murders?
Later, forensic evidence that links Alex to the murders of his wife and son also comes to light. Contrary to his claim, the evidence suggests that Alex was at the property when they were killed.
On July 14, 2022, Alex, a lawyer himself, is not only disbarred but also faces two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife and son. He is charged with their murder, but he pleads not guilty. However, if he is found guilty, he will face life without parole.
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