Murdaugh Family Murders Explained, What You Need to Know (2023)

The story of the Murdaugh murders stems from a 100-year-old family legal dynasty in Hampton, South Carolina, that was put in the hands of fourth-generation lawyer Alex Murdaugh.

But what took a century to build came crashing down in June 2021, when Alex called authorities after finding his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and his youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, shot dead in their 1,770-acre hunting lodge at 4147 Moselle Road in Islandton, South Carolina.

These crimes led to a series of revelations about the family, which HBO Max is set to unpack in the new true crime documentary, Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty, airing on November 3.

Murdaugh Family Murders Explained, What You Need to Know (1)

Image credit: Courtesy of Maggie Murdaugh via Facebook.

Who Are the Murdaugh Family?

The Murdaugh family began in South Carolina at the turn of the century and have been prominent lawyers in the state for decades. Beginning with Alex Murdaugh's great-grandfather Randolph Murdaugh Sr., who started Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick in 1910, generations of his family have continued to work at the firm, including his son, Randolph "Buster" Murdaugh II, grandson, Randolph Murdaugh III, and his great-great-grandsons Randolph "Randy" Murdaugh IV and Alex Murdaugh.

The firm was successful with personal injury cases by taking advantage of a South Carolina law that allows people to sue in any county and not where an incident may have occurred — which can often result in favoritism and landed Hampton County on the 2004 list of "Judicial Hellholes". However, this made the Murdaugh group the "go-to" lawyers in the county.

Randolph Sr. also became the first elected solicitor, (or district attorney), of the 14th judicial circuit (district) in 1920. Randolph Sr. held the role for 20 years until his death. His son, Randolph "Buster" Murdaugh II, was elected to the position next. He worked from 1940 to 1986, until his son Randolph Murdaugh III took over, working from 1986 to 2006. Alex volunteered and worked part-time in the solicitor's office after graduating from USC Law School in 1994 until 2021.

The Murdaugh family were solicitors in South Carolina for 86 years straight; leading criminal prosecutions for their district, and playing a key role in deciding which cases get prosecuted (and when) from 1920 to 2006.

What Happened to Paul and Maggie Murdaugh?

Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot dead on June 7, 2021. Alex Murdaugh called 911 at around 10 p.m., claiming he had discovered the bodies. However, the coroner found that the two had died between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., per NPR, and they had been shot with different weapons — Maggie with an assault-style rifle and Paul with a shotgun.

(Video) South Carolina Lawyer Family Murder Mystery: Everything You Need to Know

In October 2021, Alex was named as a person of interest in the case, although his lawyer denied the allegations and said he had no motive for the crimes, according to People.

According to NBC News, sources close to the investigation said authorities found cellphone video evidence that places Alex at the scene of the crime.

On July 14, 2022, he was indicted by a grand jury in connection to Paul and Maggie's murders. He was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Alex Murdaugh's lawyers maintain his innocence.

Murdaugh Family Murders Explained, What You Need to Know (2)

Image credit: Courtesy of Maggie Murdaugh via Facebook.

What Other Crimes Were Uncovered After the Murdaugh Family Murders?

As investigators looked into the deaths of the mother and son, other unsolved crimes relating to the Murdaugh family were discovered.

Two years before his death, in February 2019, youngest son Paul, 22, had been involved in a boat crash that left his friend, Mallory Beach, dead after being thrown from the boat. Though various witnesses said Paul had been driving the boat while intoxicated, according to a previous NBC documentary on Peacock, key evidence had gone missing in the case.

Paul was charged with one count of boating while intoxicated and two counts of causing bodily injury, though people suggested he received special treatment thanks to his family's legacy. He was released on bond and a date for his trial was never set, per People.

Additionally, two weeks following the double murders that took place in June 2021, the state reopened an investigation into a 2015 case of a man, Stephen Smith, who had been found dead on the side of the road.

(Video) The Murdaugh family saga a tangled web of secrets and murder

While South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has not revealed what evidence caused them to reopen the case, per NPR, the Murdaugh name kept coming up in relation to the case. Sources speculated that Buster Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh's eldest son who also worked at the family law firm, had a relationship with Smith, according to the Daily Mail.

Furthermore, although Smith's death was ruled a hit-and-run, he had a gunshot wound above his right eye and his injuries were not consistent with those sustained from vehicle trauma, according to the Daily Mail.

Buster has not been named a person of interest in Smith's death.

What Happened to Gloria Satterfield?

In addition to Smith's death, SLED began investigating another case involving the Murdaugh family. In 2018, the family's longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, died after Maggie Murdaugh called 911, claiming Satterfield had fallen down the stairs. It was noted that Paul was present during the call.

Satterfield was a longtime caretaker of the family, and according to sources featured in Discovery + documentary Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty, she had told several people that Paul would kill small animals and often disregarded authority.

Her cause of death remains unclear.

At the funeral, Alex approached Satterfield's sons and said since the accident happened on his property, he was going to sue himself for wrongful death so the boys can get some insurance money, according to The New York Times.

With all legalities handled by Alex, the sons were told to wait for a settlement.

Alex and his insurers did reach a $4.3 million settlement in the months after Satterfield's death, but the Satterfield family didn't see a dime.

The Satterfield sons filed a lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh in September 2021, and SLED decided to exhume the body for an autopsy in June 2022, according to South Carolina's WCSC. That same month, Alex agreed to pay the Satterfield family $4.3 million.

(Video) What we know about the Murdaugh murder investigation | Rush Hour

Where Is the Murdaugh Law Firm Now?

The alleged misappropriated funds in the wrongful death suit uncovered various other financial crimes including Alex stealing millions from clients and his family law firm, according to The New York Times.

He was then forced out by his partners in September 2021, just three months after the double murders. The firm changed its name to the Parker Law Group, LLP in January 2021, according to WOTC South Carolina.

Alex was also stripped from being a lawyer in the state of South Carolina indefinitely, and his name was removed from the firm that was once known as the "Murdaugh Law Firm."

What Happened to Alex Murdaugh?

The following day, after Alex was forced out of the firm, he was shot in the head while changing a tire on the side of the road. The shot only caused minor damage and he was able to call for help.

Days after he was shot, he checked into rehab for opioid addiction. It was there that he admitted to lawyers that he had hired Curtis Eddie Smith to kill him so his son Buster could collect $10 million in insurance money.

On Sept. 16, 2021, he turned himself in to Hampton County Law Enforcement in connection to the suicide-for-hire scam, per People.

Later, on Oct. 14, 2021, Alex was arrested on felony charges for misusing millions from the Satterfield estate and obtaining property under false pretenses, per NPR, and was hit with tens of charges in the months that followed concerning numerous financial crimes and deaths.

He was indicted on murder charges for the deaths of his wife and son in July 2022.

Murdaugh Family Murders Explained, What You Need to Know (3)

Image credit: Tracy Glantz/The Island Packet/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

(Video) Analysis of Murdaugh Family Mystery | Collection of Suspicious Deaths

Where Are the Murdaughs Now?

Alex Murdaugh is currently in jail and is set to go on trial for the June 2021 murders of his son Paul and his wife Maggie in January. If convicted, he could face 30 years to life in prison without parole and could be eligible for the death penalty, according to USA Today.

Murdaugh faces a total of 90 charges, many of which include financial crimes such as stealing from the family law firm, money laundering through a drug ring, and committing insurance fraud.

As for the rest of the surviving Murdaugh family, eldest son Buster was last reported to be "not doing well at all" since his father was arrested for the double murders, sources told People in July 2022.

Despite previously working at his family's law firm, Buster appears to have no involvement in the rebranded Parker Law Group.

Meanwhile, Alex's brother Randy still works as a practicing lawyer at the now-renamed Parker Law Firm. He denounced Alex's actions and claimed he had no involvement in his mishandling of company funds in a statement to People in September 2021.

Randy is also suing Alex for thousands in unpaid loans.

How Much Are the Murdaughs Worth?

It's unclear exactly how much wealth the Murdaugh family once had, but several accounts and properties were found to be worth millions.

When Murdaugh was held on a $7 million bond for 51 criminal charges, the court detailed Murdaugh's assets, which included numerous real estate properties and even small islands, according to Greenville News.

Additionally, the court found a retirement account worth between $2.1 and $2.2 million, and an IRA retirement fund valued at $350,000 to $400,000.

He was also supposed to receive a trust for an undisclosed amount after his father Randolph Murdaugh III's death in June 2021, plus probate assets after his wife's death that same month.

(Video) History of the Murdaugh family

Furthermore, the family hunting lodge where Paul and Maggie were killed was listed in February 2022 for $3.9 million.


What is the story of the murdaugh murders? ›

The fatal shooting of Mr. Murdaugh's wife, Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, a 22-year-old junior at the University of South Carolina, rocked the state's Lowcountry region, where the family had established its legal dynasty. The killings began to be known as the Murdaugh murders.

Are there any documentaries about the Murdaugh family? ›

Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty | Now Streaming | HBO Max. This chilling three-part docuseries chronicles the legacy of the Murdaugh family, whose century long powerful influence over the legal system in South Carolina's lowcountry unravels amid accusations of fraud, deception, and murder.

What happened to the Murdaugh family in South Carolina? ›

But what took a century to build came crashing down in June 2021, when Alex called authorities after finding his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and his youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, shot dead in their 1,770-acre hunting lodge at 4147 Moselle Road in Islandton, South Carolina.

Who killed the Murdaughs in SC? ›

Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh. On July 14, 2022, a grand jury in Colleton County, S.C., indicted Alex Murdaugh in connection with the 2021 murders of his wife and son. Murdaugh, 54, was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Was Yara's killer ever found? ›

Massimo Bossetti, 46, was found guilty of killing Yara Gambirasio in November 2010 and dumping her body in a field where she was found three months later. The 13-year-old had been on her way home from a gym class in Brembate di Sopra, a town close to Milan, when she was abducted and suffered multiple injuries.

Who is the shoelace killer? ›

DeWayne Lee Harris (born 1963), also known as The Seattle Jungle Killer or Chilly Willy, but most widely known as The Seattle Shoelace Slasher is an American serial killer who killed three women in Seattle between 1997 and 1998, dumping their bodies near freeways.

Is there a documentary about the murdaugh murders? ›

'Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty' (HBO MAX)

The new true-crime documentary series on the Murdaugh murders in South Carolina hits HBO Max today, with all three episodes available to stream immediately.

Where to watch the Murdaugh documentary? ›

Right now you can watch Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty on fuboTV or Discovery+. You are able to stream Murdaugh Murders: Deadly Dynasty by renting or purchasing on Amazon Instant Video, iTunes, Google Play, and Vudu.

Where can I listen to the murdaugh murders podcast? ›

Murdaugh Murders Podcast | Podcast on Spotify.

What happened to other Murdaugh son? ›

In June 2021, Alex Murdaugh's wife and son Paul were murdered. Alex has been charged with their murders. Alex was also accused of embezzlement from his law firm, from which he resigned in September 2021. He has been incarcerated since October 2021 pending trials and has been disbarred by the state of South Carolina.

What happened Mallory Beach? ›

Mallory Beach was 19 when she died in a 2019 boat crash in which an underage Paul Murdaugh was allegedly driving under the influence.

Is Paul Murdaugh still alive? ›

June 14, 2021: The Colleton County Coroner confirms both Paul and Maggie Murdaugh died from multiple gunshot wounds. The estimated time of death is somewhere between 9 and 9:30 p.m.

Who killed Mallory Beach? ›

Beach, 19, was killed in a boating crash in which Paul Murdaugh was reportedly driving his father's boat while under the influence.

Who was the last person executed in South Carolina? ›

Jeffrey Motts was the last person executed in the state, having died by lethal injection in May 2011. The last death by electrocution was in June 2008 when James Reed was executed. Only three inmates in the United States have been executed by firing squad, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Who killed Reesa in Salisbury NC? ›

The remains of Curtis Edward Blair, Sr., were brought back to Salisbury and he was buried in the City Memorial Park. Solved. @SalisburyNCPD say 1984 stabbing death of Reesa Trexler, 15, solved. Police didn't say name of suspect, warrant says Curtis Blair, whose remains were exhumed in June, is likely suspect.

What really happened to Yara? ›

Details leaked from the autopsy suggest that Yara had sustained a large heady injury, six cut wounds and had ultimately died from exposure.

Who was the first killer ever? ›

H. H. Holmes
Mugshot of Henry Howard Holmes, c. 1895
BornHerman Webster MudgettMay 16, 1861 Gilmanton, New Hampshire, U.S.
DiedMay 7, 1896 (aged 34) Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
13 more rows

What is the true story of Yara? ›

Based on true events, Yara tells the story of 13-year-old Yara Gambirasio, who lived in a quiet town, Brembate di Sopra, just north of Milan. The young girl went missing walking home from the gym in November 2010. Her body was found three months later.

Who is the blue ribbon killer? ›

SALLISAW - The admitted slayer of Blue Ribbon Downs racetrack executive Harley Dwayne Burrows was sentenced Monday to life in prison without parole. A guilty plea in April by Mike Morgan, 32, might have spared him the death penalty, a possibility had he gone to trial and been convicted.

Who is the Rolex killer? ›

Albert Johnson Walker (born 1946) also known as "The Rolex Killer" (before being caught) is a Canadian criminal serving a prison term for embezzlement and murder. He is known for murdering an Englishman whose identity he had been assuming, and for posing for years as though his daughter were his wife.

Why is he called the eyeball killer? ›

On three occasions, Dallas Police found three dead bodies of prostitutes in the Oak Cliff neighborhood. All three were naked, suffered from multiple bruises, and had their eyes gouged - hence the moniker Eyeball Killer.

Is the documentary population zero true? ›

POPULATION ZERO is a mockumentary or fake documentary the strongest aspect of which is an intelligent plot based on real-life issues. A man kills three young hikers in Yellowstone National Park, then immediately turns himself in and confesses, but offers no motive.

Is crime scene on Netflix a true story? ›

The true-crime limited series Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields reveals how the suspected killers evaded capture for years and tells the stories of the many victims whose lives they cut short. Viewers take heed, as this series contains disturbing descriptions of sexual violence.

Is the TV series code of a killer based on a true story? ›

Code of a Killer is a three-part British police drama television series which tells the true story of Alec Jeffreys' discovery of DNA fingerprinting and its introductory use by Detective David Baker in catching the double murderer Colin Pitchfork.

How many episodes are in the Murdaugh murders? ›

The docuseries is directed by Loushy and Sivan. All three episodes will drop on HBO Max on November 3.

What is the first episode of Murdaugh murders? ›

Episode #1. The Murdaugh Double Homicide The Murdaugh Family Murders: Impact of Influence. Maggie Murdaugh and her son Paul were murdered June 7, 2021. The murders shook the low country of South Carolina because they were from a powerful family that been in power for almost 100 years.

What is the #1 true crime podcast? ›

1. Casefile. One of the highest rated true crime podcasts ever made, Casefile is lauded as Casefile "engaging" and very "well-researched", while it refrains from being exploitative.

What is the best true crime podcast right now? ›

Here are some of the best true-crime podcasts that you must stream right now
  • Dirty John (2017-2018) Image credit: Dirty John/ IMDb. ...
  • Serial (2014-) ...
  • Jensen & Holes: The Murder Squad (2019-2022) ...
  • Park Predators (2020) ...
  • Root of Evil (2019) ...
  • Missing and Murdered (2016-) ...
  • Dr. ...
  • The Shrink Next Door (2019)
25 Aug 2022

What happened to crime junkie podcast? ›

Crime Junkie co-host Brit Prawat shared that she is in recovery for alcohol abuse. Prawat, who hosts the Indianapolis-based true crime podcast with her best friend Ashley Flowers, took a step back from the podcast in May after suffering a sudden brain bleed.

Is one of Alex Murdaugh's sons still alive? ›

Alex Murdaugh's surviving son Buster, 26, has become a recluse and gained weight after his mother and younger brother were murdered - allegedly by his father.

How old is buster Murdaugh? ›

Murdaugh, 54, is accused of using two different guns to execute his son, Paul, and wife, Maggie, June 7, 2021, on the family's Islandton hunting estate.

Are Mallory Beach's parents divorced? ›

Beach said he and his former wife — they divorced when Mallory was a child — have turned over all evidence to attorneys. They know that what happens now is in God's hands.

Are Mallory and Sally still together? ›

The former couple explained that, although they'd met for a coffee after the show ended, it never led to anything romantic.

Did they ever find Mallory Beach's body? ›

It was recently announced that the South Carolina State Law Enforcement division has launched a criminal probe into whether Alex Murdaugh obstructed justice in the boat crash investigation. Mallory Beach's body was found a week after the crash by two fishermen about five miles from the site.

Does Mallory end up with Sal? ›

During the Love Is Blind Season 2 finale, there was one surprising couple that didn't end up getting married: Sal and Mallory.

Where does Buster murdaugh work? ›

Buster attended the University of South Carolina School of Law from 2018 to 2019, and worked at his father's law firm. After the murders, he began slowly closing his circle of friends.

Did Paul Murdaugh go to college? ›

Paul Murdaugh

He was fatally shot on June 7 alongside his mother. At the time of his death, Paul, 22, was a student at the University of South Carolina and was facing three felony boating under the influence charges tied to the 2019 boat crash in Beaufort County that killed Mallory Beach.

Who was on the boat with Paul Murdaugh? ›

A turning point for the family came in February 2019 when Paul, then 19, drunkenly crashed his family's boat into a bridge, killing Mallory Beach, 19, and injuring her boyfriend Anthony Cook, Paul's girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, Anthony's cousin Connor Cook, and his girlfriend Miley Altman.

Who killed Maggie and Paul podcast? ›

Part Two Murdaugh Murders Podcast. Almost seven months after Paul Murdaugh and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered in Colleton County, South Carolina, multiple sources close to the investigation said physical evidence directly ties Alex Murdaugh to the double homicide.

What is the most humane method of execution? ›

Lethal injection avoids many of the unpleasant effects of other forms of execution: bodily mutilation and bleeding due to decapitation, smell of burning flesh in electrocution, disturbing sights or sounds in lethal gassing and hanging, the problem of involuntary defecation and urination.

Is the firing squad painful? ›

Firing Squad Constitutes “Torture”

This is extremely painful unless the person is unconscious, and experts testified the person is likely to be conscious for at least 10 seconds after impact—more if the ammunition does not fully incapacitate the heart.

What do death row inmates do all day? ›

They stay in their cells except for medical issues, visits, exercise time or interviews with the media. When a death warrant is signed, the inmate may have a legal and social phone call. Prisoners get mail daily except for holidays and weekends. They are permitted to have snacks, radios and 13-inch TVs, but no cable.

How was Karli short killed? ›

An arrest has been made in the death of 26-year-old Karli Short, who was found shot and killed in McKeesport on Sept. 13. Short was found dead in the 300 block of 25th Street from a gunshot wound to the head. Police also said detectives determined that Short was 5 months pregnant when she was killed.

Who killed Laura in North Carolina? ›

Jury finds Grant Hayes guilty of ex-girlfriend's grisly murder. After deliberating less than two hours Monday, a Wake County jury found Grant Hayes guilty of first-degree murder in the July 2011 death of his ex-girlfriend, Laura Ackerson.

What did the Murdaugh family do? ›

In 2019, amid allegations of special treatment, Alex's son, Paul Murdaugh, and other members of the Murdaugh family were implicated in a fatal boating accident. In June 2021, Alex Murdaugh's wife and son Paul were murdered. Alex has been charged with their murders.

Is the Smiley Face Killer a true story? ›

While some might confuse them with the Happy Face Killer, also known as Keith Hunter Jesperson, the Smiley Face Killer or Killers was a theory floated for law enforcement believed might be the culprit behind a string of unsolved murders of male college students.

Who was the killer in the alphabet killer? ›

In April 2011, a 77-year-old named Joseph Naso was arrested in Reno, Nevada for the murders of four women in California committed between 1977 and 1994, all of whom are believed to have been prostitutes and each of whose surname began with the same letter as that of her first name.

Who killed Mirack? ›


What were Mallory Beach's injuries? ›

Her body was found by a local boater in Beaufort County and has been taken custody of by the Beaufort County Coroner's Office. The coroner's office later reported that she had died of drowning and secondary blunt force.

Did they ever find Mallory beach body? ›

In February 2019, a South Carolina teenager, Mallory Beach, went missing during a boat crash while onboard with her boyfriend and friends. After eight days of exhaustive searching via local law enforcement, her body was discovered about five miles from the crash scene in the Beaufort River.

Is Alex Murdaugh's dad still alive? ›

The double homicide of the Murdaughs caused Alex Murdaugh's house of cards to collapse. He immediately fell under suspicion for the murders, and the case made national headlines. Three days after the murders, his father, Randolph III, died.

Why did Keith Jesperson confess? ›

Upset that he was not getting any media attention, Jesperson drew a smiley face on a bathroom wall hundreds of miles from the scene of the crime and wrote an anonymous letter confessing to Bennett's murder, providing proof.

Is the Lipstick Killer real? ›

William George Heirens (November 15, 1928 – March 5, 2012) was an American criminal and possible serial killer who confessed to three murders. He was subsequently controversially convicted of the crimes in 1946. Heirens was called the Lipstick Killer after a notorious message scrawled in lipstick at a crime scene.

Where is raincoat killer now? ›

Yoo Young-chul claimed to have killed 26 people but was only convicted of 20 murders along with other aggravated crimes. He was given a death sentence and is currently on death row in Seoul Detention Center.

Who was the Smiley case killer? ›

Robert Lee Yates (born 1952), serial killer who used plastic bags with a smiley face printed on them to cover the heads of his victims.

What are the serial killer letters called? ›

The Zodiac sent three more ciphers: the Z340 on November 8, 1969; the Z13 on April 20, 1970; and the Z32 on June 26, 1970. The names of the different ciphers refer to the number of letters and symbols in each coded message. “Cryptography was extremely popular post World War II.

How did DJ Freez know Christy? ›

26, Rowe testified that he met Mirack when she came up to his DJ booth at Chameleon a couple of months before her death. They talked multiple times, leading to a sexual encounter in his car, he testified. They had sex two other times at her house, when no one esle was home, he said.

Who killed school teacher Christy? ›

Raymond 'DJ Freez' Rowe attempts to withdraw guilty plea to the rape, murder of Christy Mirack in 1992.

How was DJ Freeze caught? ›

Rowe was never a suspect in Mirack's killing until 2018, when genetic genealogy led detectives to him after his half-sister uploaded her DNA to a public genealogy database.


1. Inside The Shocking Fall Of The Murdaugh Family Dynasty
2. A dead housekeeper and a hitman: Murdaugh family mystery gets more strange
3. Alex Murdaugh Expected To Face Charges In Murders Of Wife And Son
4. Murdaugh murders timeline: Lawyer's botched insurance fraud plot | USA TODAY
5. Murdaugh family murders: Rise and fall of their South Carolina dynasty | USA TODAY
6. Disgraced South Carolina Lawyer Alex Murdaugh Expected to be Charged in Murders of Wife, Son
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