Disgraced former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh has been found guilty of the murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
The jury's decision, which was reached after just a few hours of deliberation, comes after Murdaugh, who hails from a powerful and wealthy family from the South Carolina Lowcountry, put himself on full display by taking to the witness stand to testify in his own defense at the end of a trial that lasted several weeks. He now faces a potential sentence of 30 years to life.
Murdaugh's lawyers filed a motion for a mistrial, but the judge immediately denied their request.
The trial captivated much of America due to the strange and complicated saga behind the killings, which was laid bare in a Netflix documentary, "Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal."
Murdaugh who, according to his own colleagues, faked and charmed his way through his law career, committed extensive financial misconduct, defrauding his own clients and law partners of millions of dollars to support a $50,000 a week drug habit — all details he and his legal team admitted at trial — and was accused of stealing a $4 million settlement from his housekeeper, who died in a mysterious "trip and fall" accident in 2018.
Maggie and Paul were found shot near the dog kennels of the family's hunting lodge on June 7, 2021. Prosecutors argued that Murdaugh killed Maggie and Paul when they confronted him about his financial crimes.
On top of everything else, Murdaugh tried to fake his own death three months after the murders, to arrange a fraudulent $10 million insurance payout to his surviving son, Buster, who testified in his father's defense. Some legal experts previously speculated that Buster could have helped his father commit the killings, based on some evidence and claims by the defense that at least one of the shots may have come from a second shooter. But evidence put Buster somewhere else on the night of the killings, and prosecutors have not charged him with any crime.
In his defense, Murdaugh consistently maintained his innocence of murder, even as he confessed to a broad array of fraud and misconduct.
Experts have said Murdaugh likely doomed his defense in his decision to take the stand himself, during which he admitted that he was present at the hunting lodge on the night of the killings, something that was backed by audio evidence but that he, his lawyers, and his surviving family spent months falsely claiming was not true.