CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Alex Murdaugh, the patriarch of a prominent South Carolina family, recently stepped down from his law firm after allegedly misappropriating a significant sum of money. That announcement came just hours after Murdaugh was shot in the head while changing a tire on the side of a rural Hampton County Road. Murdaugh also announced that he would be checking himself into rehab, but did not specify for what.
The whirlwind weekend for Murdaugh comes just months after his wife Margaret and son Paul were found shot to death at their family property on June 7.
“I need the police and an ambulance immediately,” Alex Murdaugh can be heard saying in 9-1-1 calls released earlier this summer. “My wife and child have been shot badly.”
As bad of a year as 2021 was for the Murdaugh family, their troubles started far earlier.
News 2 is breaking down the most significant known elements of the investigation into the Murdaugh family, which has held judicial power over the 14th circuit for decades.
On July 8th, 2015, Stephen Smith’s body was found in the middle of Sandy Run Road in Hampton County. Smith, who many connected to Buster Murdaugh — the eldest Murdaugh son — in interviews with law enforcement, was discovered with a large would to his head. Investigators were unable to find a suspect and the case went cold until 2021. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) announced that they were reopening Smith’s case based on information uncovered during the Murdaugh double-homicide investigation.
On February 26th, 2018, the Murdaugh’s housekeeper died after she allegedly tripped and fell. Alex Murdaugh reportedly settled with the Satterfield family for $500,000.
Four years later on February 24th, 2019, Paul Murdaugh and five friends were returning from a party after hours of drinking. Paul Murdaugh was allegedly driving his father’s boat erratically before crashing into a bridge piling at Arches Creek Bridge near Parris Island, throwing three passengers from the boat and killing Mallory Beach.
In April of 2019, Paul Murdaugh was charged in death of Mallory Beach. He pled not guilty and was awaiting trial when he was shot. Charges against him were later dropped.
On June 7th 2021, Alex Murdaugh discovered his wife and son brutally shot to death on the family’s Colleton County hunting property near the dog kennels. Alex arrived home around 9:30pm before calling 9-1-1. The Colleton County Coroner confirmed that both Margaret and Paul were shot multiple times with different weapons.
Three days later, Alex’s father and former 14th Circuit Solicitor Randolph Murdaugh III passed away after an extended health battle. Alex claimed to be with his father at the time of the shootings.
On August 11th, 2021, 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone recused himself from the case. He did not provide extensive details, but in a letter to Attorney General Alan Wilson, Stone said that recent SLED findings were a factor in his decision.
On September 3rd, 2021, Alex Murdaugh resigned from the family law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick (PMPED). The firm said that his resignation came after it was discovered he had misappropriated funds.
The law firm says they have hired a forensic accountant to do a thorough investigation of the law firm’s money to identify how much money is missing and where it could be.
On September 4th, 2021, Alex Murdaugh called 9-1-1 reporting he had been shot in the head while changing a tire on a rural Hampton County road.
Two days later, Alex Murdaugh released a statement announcing his resignation and plans to go to rehab. He apologized for past mistakes, which he said were exacerbated by the deaths of his wife and son.
A full breakdown of events from the Murdaugh investigations can be found below.