CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Suspended Attorney Alex Murdaugh is set to appear before a Richland County judge for a bond hearing on Tuesday. Murdaugh is accused of stealing money a death settlement meant for the family of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
Murdaugh is facing two felony charges related to obtaining property through false pretenses.
The charges stem from missing death settlement funds to be paid to the Estate of Gloria Satterfield. More than $4 million was won in the settlement, $2.7 million of which was to go to the estate, but the money was allegedly diverted in checks to Murdaugh.
The attorneys for Gloria Satterfield’s estate say they plan to ask for a high bond over fears of Murdaugh being a flight risk. “Who under these circumstances would be allowed to leave the state of South Carolina and remain gone for the purpose of drug counseling? It’s ridiculous,” said Ronald Richter, one of the attorneys representing the Satterfield estate.
Former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon says given the second arrest, Murdaugh could face a higher bond.
“Much higher chance of there being a relatively high surety bond at this point because there’s been a big change in circumstance here and of course we have crimes adding up,” says Condon.
Condon says the hearing, which will happen in Columbia, is not a normal process but makes sense given the mounting charges.
“To have the bond hearing held in Richland County, miles away from Beaufort County and also to have it brought before a circuit judge is all perfectly legal but unusual,” says Condon.
State and local law enforcement have faced heavy criticism for the handling of the investigations and cases. Condon says some credit should be given.
“This defendant is being held to account,” says Condon. “And it may be a bit for some but the truth is surfacing here so he’s being held accountable for some really serious crimes.”
Richter agrees that it is best to let the legal process work. “And we will just entrust it to the court to set an appropriate bond given the circumstances with appropriate limiting conditions for Mr. Murdaugh as well.”
Murdaugh is tied to several active death investigations and lawsuits.
Tuesday’s hearing will be the second for Murdaugh in just over a month. Murdaugh appeared in a Hampton County courtroom back in September.