RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Judge Clifton Newman again denied bond for Alex Murdaugh on Monday.
The decision comes following a psychiatric evaluation provided by Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin.
The evaluation was ordered during Murdaugh’s October 19th appearance in a Richland County courtroom on charges of obtaining property by false pretenses, stemming from Murdaugh allegedly taking millions of dollars in a wrongful death lawsuit involving their housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
“After considering the arguments of counsel, the evaluation submitted, pending charges and other investigations, and the apparent character and mental condition of the defendant, the court finds that the defendant is a danger to both himself and the community,” Judge Newman wrote in his order.
Former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon says the battle over bond is likely not over for Alex Murdaugh. Attorney’s representing victims of Murdaugh call the ruling a step towards justice.
“And that again that there are not two tiers of justice in South Carolina so Mr. Murdaugh and his experience in South Carolina justice is the same as anyone else would,” says Ronnie Richter, Co-Counsel representing the Estate of Gloria Satterfield.
Murdaugh was denied bond for charges related to allegedly stealing millions of dollars from the estate of his late housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. Richter calling it a win for the estate of Gloria Satterfield.
“Obviously, their trust in the system was shaken badly by their experience with Alex (Murdaugh), which is understandable,” says Richter. “I think judge Newman’s ruling reassured them that justice is real in South Carolina.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys have filed a challenge with the State Supreme Court to overrule Judge Newman. Former Attorney General Charlie Condon says they may have a case.
“Under our state constitution it does say that everyone is entitled to a bond unless they’re charged with an offense that carries life imprisonment,” says Condon. “So I do they think they have a possible state constitutional argument that might win the day for them.”
Richter says his clients, the Satterfield Estate will continue to pursue claims against Murdaugh.
“There will come a day when we will be in court together and we will get a final resolution to this problem,” says Richter.
Attorney Joe McCulloch represents a victim from another death investigation Murdaugh is tied to the 2019 boat crash involving Murdaugh’s son. He says this decision was needed so that Murdaugh can be investigated fairly.
“To secure him for a balance of this process that’s going to play out quite painfully-so for everybody concerned,” says McCulloch.
McCulloch says the ruling is just a tipping of the iceberg with more likely to come.
“In this case, there always seems to be another shoe dropping or a body jumping out of a cake,” says McCulloch.
In a statement to News 2, Murdaugh’s legal team said, “We’re obviously disappointed in the decision and examining legal options.”
Murdaugh was arrested while receiving drug treatment at a facility in Florida. He will remain in the Richland County jail.
News 2 has learned the content of that psychiatric evaluation will be sealed.