HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone has recused himself from the investigation into the murders of Paul and Margaret Murdaugh, a spokesperson for SC Attorney General Alan Wilson confirmed Wednesday.
Alex Murdaugh, Paul’s father and Margaret’s husband, found the two after they had been shot to death back in June.
The Murdaugh family reigned over the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for generations, and still maintains ties to the office.
“Duffie stone has the wherewithal and ethical background to make the right decision and I think he made the right decision,” says South Carolina Defense Attorney and a former solicitor Susan Williams.
Solicitor Stone, had been feeling the pressure to turn the case over since the double homicide. Stone released a statement on June 21st saying he didn’t believe there to be a conflict of interest and would continue to seek expert advice.
“He indicated and he gave a statement about two weeks after the double murder that said he would get off the case should there be a conflict,” says Williams.
Stone has served as the 14th Circuit Solicitor since 2006 taking over for the Murdaugh family. Stone recused himself from a 2019 boating accident involving the family but said the conflict wasn’t as clear in this case.
“In the boat crash, it was immediately apparent to Duffie Stone why there was a conflict,” says Williams. “The double murders is an on-going investigation and he promised us that he would act promptly should a conflict arise and that’s exactly what he did.”
The case will now head to the desk of Attorney General Alan Wilson. Williams says next steps will take some time.
“I think there will be a team assigned I mean I think that Alan Wilson will have direct involvement in this,” says Williams.
Stone sent a letter to Wilson’s office reading in part:
“Considering the events of today in SLED’s investigation of the homicides of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, I am asking that you assume all prosecutorial functions in this matter effective immediately.”
The letter was dated August 11.
In a previous statement about the case, Stone said that his office “is available to [the State Law Enforcement Division] for legal advice and investigative support, as it would be to any law-enforcement agency leading an investigation of this type in the 14th Circuit.” He reiterated that his office would “act promptly and ethically should conflict arise in this case.”