Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, already serving two life sentences for the brutal murders of his wife and son, got a 27-year state prison sentence. This time, not for bloodshed but for a web of financial crimes that shook the legal community.
State prosecutor Creighton Waters characterized the plea deal as a “unique and unprecedented sentence” for white-collar crimes, noting that such an example was hard to find across state and federal jurisdictions.
Alex Murdaugh: Plea agreement
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Alex Murdaugh is mandated to serve at least 85% of the sentence, amounting to over 22 years.
An “empty soul”
Judge Clifton Newman, who presided over Murdaugh’s murder trial, expressed his disappointment in seeing the fallen attorney back in court, delivering a stern sentence. Newman acknowledged the gravity of the financial crimes, describing Murdaugh as “empty” and expressing a hope that “something will emerge within your soul.”
The financial crimes
The charges against Murdaugh originally totaled over 100 state counts related to financial crimes affecting 18 victims. Waters revealed that the attorney had stolen over $12 million over a decade, including funds from vulnerable clients who had placed their trust in him.
Among the victims was the family of Gloria Satterfield, Murdaugh’s former housekeeper. Prosecutors alleged that Murdaugh misappropriated $3.8 million in settlement funds meant for Satterfield’s family.
During the sentencing hearing, Tony Satterfield, Gloria’s son, accused Murdaugh of lying, cheating, and stealing at the cost of his mother’s death.
Jordan Jinks, who suffered a $150,000 loss, asked Murdaugh, “What kind of animal are you?” Jinks supported the 27-year sentence, reflecting the collective sentiment of those feeling the impact of Murdaugh’s misdeeds.
As the disgraced attorney begins his lengthy sentence for financial crimes, the echoes of his fall from legal grace continue to reverberate within the South Carolina legal landscape.
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