The murder trial of disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is underway at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, a small town about 40 miles east of Charleston. The case dates back to June 2021, when Murdaugh’s wife and son were found shot dead at the family estate in Islandton, known as Moselle.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime in connection with the deaths of his wife and son. Besides the murder charges, he also faces 99 counts of alleged financial crimes.
Here are the key players in the murder trial:
Now disbarred, Murdaugh is a member of a prominent South Carolina Lowcountry legal family. Three generations of his family for more than 87 years served as attorneys for the 14th Circuit, which oversaw prosecutions throughout the region. A portrait of his late grandfather, one of the notaries, hung on the wall of the courtroom; it was removed before trial. Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The wife of Alex Murdaugh, who was 52 when she was found shot and killed with the couple’s youngest son at the family estate in Moselle on June 7, 2021.
Alex Murdaugh’s 22-year-old son, who was found fatally shot with his mother at the family’s Moselle estate on June 7, 2021. At the time, he was facing charges of browsing under the influence, causing grievous bodily harm and causing death in connection with a 2019 boating accident that claimed the life of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, court records show. He pleaded not guilty and the charges were dropped after his death.
Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Attorney of South Carolina. He has been involved in the case since 2021. The state attorney general’s office is pursuing the case due to the Murdaugh family’s close ties to the local notary’s office.
One of Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorneys, along with Jim Griffin. Harpootlian is a South Carolina state senator and attorney whose Colombia-based practice specializes in criminal defense.
One of Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorneys, along with Dick Harpootlian. A former federal prosecutor, he now works as a state and federal criminal defense attorney based in Columbia, South Carolina.
The South Carolina circuit court judge hearing the case. He has been a judge since 2000. Newman has presided over various proceedings in the Murdaugh case since 2021.
A former client of Alex Murdaugh. Murdaugh told authorities he conspired with Smith to kill Murdaugh as part of an insurance fraud scheme, according to court documents, allegedly so that Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster, could collect a payout. $10 million life insurance. Smith admitted in 2021 to being present during the shooting and disposing of the gun afterwards, according to an affidavit.
The surviving son of Alex Murdaugh. He was in court for opening statements – the first time he has appeared in legal proceedings for his father – and is listed as a witness at trial. His father’s scheme to have Smith kill Murdaugh was “an attempt on his part to do something to protect his child (Buster),” said Harpootlian, the attorney.
The younger brother of Alex Murdaugh. He is listed as a witness at trial and accompanied Buster Murdaugh to court this week.
The longtime housekeeper of the Murdaugh family, who died in 2018 in what was described as a “trip and fall accident” at their home. Murdaugh is accused of embezzling funds intended for Satterfield’s family as part of a wrongful death settlement.
A bloodstain pattern analysis expert who analyzed the shirt worn by Alex Murdaugh the night his wife and son were killed. In a motion filed just before trial, the defense asked the court to bar Bevel from testifying.