Three days after a South Carolina mother and son from a wealthy legal family were fatally murdered outside their 1,700-acre hunting home, a slew of unanswered issues linger.
Deputies from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call about two dead corpses outside a remote property about 10 p.m. on Monday.
Officers discovered the bodies of Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, in the area.
The two were shot with separate weapons, according to the Island Packet, one with an assault rifle and the other with a shotgun.
The deaths were purportedly discovered by attorney Richard Alexander Murdaugh Sr., Maggie’s husband and Paul’s father, though he informed authorities he was not home at the time of the shootings.
The killings did not appear to be the result of a murder-suicide, according to sources quoted by local NBC station News 2 and are being investigated as a double homicide.
Despite the fact that there is no evidence that Monday’s incident was linked, Paul Murdaugh died as he awaited trial for allegedly murdering Mallory Madison Beach, 19, in a drunken boating accident.
Beach was a passenger on a boat operated by Paul Murdaugh when it collided with a bridge piling near Parris Island in February 2019.
He had been at an oyster roast with members of the Murdaugh family and was a passenger on a boat operated by Paul Murdaugh when it collided with a bridge piling near Parris Island.
Beach was thrown into the ocean by the force of the collision. A week later, her body was discovered.
Beach’s mother Renee Beach said on Facebook six weeks after her daughter’s death, “I never anticipated I wouldn’t be able to celebrate your 20th birthday with you. Mallory Madison Beach, have a wonderful birthday in Heaven. I miss you terribly!”
According to a police report quoted by the Post and Courier, when policemen got on the scene, Paul Murdaugh was “grossly inebriated.”
Murdaugh was eventually charged with one felony count of boating under the influence causing death and two felony charges of boating under the influence causing injury and pleaded not guilty in May 2019.
His case was still ongoing when he died, and he was freed on a $50,000 recognizance bond.
“We certainly cannot proceed with the prosecution,” a representative for the South Carolina Attorney General’s office stated.
“Once we receive a death certificate or other suitable documentation, we’ll officially drop the charges.”
The Beach family’s civil action against the Murdaughs, on the other hand, isn’t going away anytime soon.
Mallory Beach’s mother filed a wrongful death action following her death, stating that Paul’s brother handed him a phoney ID to buy alcohol at a convenience shop, among other things.
The action does not mention Paul Murdaugh.
Weather conditions were not ideal the night of the oyster roast, according to transcripts of two depositions linked to the case given in January 2020 from a friend of Paul’s as well as Anthony Cook, a relative, and Paul was inebriated.
Instead of letting him call an Uber, Paul insisted on bringing his boat home from the party, according to his cousin.
Paul and his girlfriend allegedly fought on the boat, and Paul smacked her before stripping down to his underpants, according to Cook. He then allegedly cranked up the boat’s engine and slammed it into the piling a short time later.
For more than a century, the Murdaugh family has been a formidable presence in South Carolina. Randolph Murdaugh, III, “is the third generation of the Murdaugh family to serve as Solicitor of the 14th Judicial Circuit,” according to his bio on the family law firm’s website.
After the death of his father, Solicitor for the 14th Judicial Circuit Randolph Murdaugh, Sr., who began practicing law in 1910, Randolph’s father, the late Randolph “Buster” Murdaugh, Jr., was sworn in as Solicitor for the 14th Judicial Circuit.
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, the firm he founded, still operates today.
“They are the law around here,” one man who did not want to be identified told The State newspaper.
“The Murdaugh family and PMPED wish to thank everyone for the numerous calls and sympathies in the loss of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh,” the business said on Facebook after Paul and Maggie were slain. We beg for your patience and prayers as we go through this difficult time.”
“I cleaned Mrs. Maggie’s pool in Hampton for over 4 years she was a very beautiful, very brilliant, very funny, very sweet, lady!” said a former employee who claimed to know the family in a separate posting.
“She is deserving of greater respect. Mrs. Maggie Murdaugh, may you rest in peace.”
On Tuesday, the day after Paul and his mother were discovered dead, Mark Tinsley, the attorney representing the Beach family in the civil claim, published a statement.
“During this difficult time, the Beach Family expresses its deepest and sincerest sympathy to the Murdaugh family,” the statement stated. “The family prays that the Murdaughs can find some measure of peace after the awful death of their own daughter,” said the family. They want the Murdaugh family and the community to know that they are thinking of them and praying for them. Their deepest want is for someone to come forwards and cooperate with authorities so that the perpetrators of these heinous acts might be brought to justice.”
According to Colleton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Shalane Lowes, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) is the main investigative agency on the matter.
SLED’s public information officer, Tommy Crosby, did not reply to a request for comment.
The Murdaughs were to be subjected to a forensic autopsy on Thursday morning.
- Paul Murdaugh Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh: Facebook