The murder trial of disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is underway at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, a small town about 40 miles east of Charleston. The case goes back to June 2021, when Murdaugh’s wife and son were found shot to death at the family’s Islandton property, known as Moselle.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime related to his wife and son’s deaths. Separate from the murder charges, he is also facing 99 charges stemming for alleged financial crimes.
Here are the key players in the murder trial:
Now disbarred, Murdaugh is a member of a prominent legal family in the South Carolina Lowcountry. Three generations of his family over 87 years have served as solicitor for the 14th Circuit, which oversaw prosecutions throughout the area. A portrait of his late grandfather, one of the solicitors, had hung on the wall of the courtroom; it was removed before trial. Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Alex Murdaugh’s wife, who was 52 when she was found fatally shot with the couple’s younger son at the family’s Moselle estate on June 7, 2021.
Alex Murdaugh’s 22-year-old son, who was found fatally shot with his mother at the family’s Moselle estate on June 7, 2021. At the time, he was facing charges of boating under the influence, causing great bodily harm and causing death in connection to a 2019 boat crash that claimed the life of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, court records show. He had pleaded not guilty, and the charges were dropped after his death.
South Carolina senior assistant deputy attorney general and lead prosecutor. He has been involved with the case since 2021. The state attorney general’s office is prosecuting the case because of the Murdaugh family’s close ties to the local solicitor’s office.
One of Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorneys, along with Jim Griffin. Harpootlian is a South Carolina state senator and attorney whose Columbia-based practice specializes in criminal defense.
One of Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorneys, along with Dick Harpootlian. A former federal prosecutor, he now works as a state and federal criminal defense attorney based in Columbia, South Carolina.
The South Carolina Circuit Court judge hearing the case. He has been on the bench since 2000. Newman has presided over various proceedings in the Murdaugh case since 2021.
A former client of Alex Murdaugh. Murdaugh told authorities he conspired with Smith to kill Murdaugh as part of an insurance fraud scheme, per court documents, purportedly so Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster, could collect a $10 million life insurance payout. Smith admitted in 2021 to being present at the shooting and disposing of the firearm afterward, according to an affidavit.
Alex Murdaugh’s surviving son. He was in court for opening statements – the first time he has appeared at legal proceedings for his father – and is listed as a witness at trial. His father’s scheme for Smith to kill Murdaugh was “an attempt on his part to do something to protect his child (Buster),” Harpootlian, the attorney, said.
Alex Murdaugh’s younger brother. He is listed as a witness at trial and accompanied Buster Murdaugh to court this week.
The Murdaugh family’s longtime housekeeper who died in 2018 in what was described as a “trip and fall accident” at their home. Murdaugh is accused of misappropriating funds meant for Satterfield’s family as part of a wrongful death settlement.
An expert in bloodstain pattern analysis who analyzed the shirt worn by Alex Murdaugh on the night his wife and son were killed. In a motion filed just before the trial, the defense asked the court to prohibit Bevel from testifying.