The scion of a wealthy family is now just another convict

The scion of a family that controlled the justice system in parts of South Carolina for a century and who sent many Black men to death row, will not face the death penalty for murdering his wife, Maggie, and their son Paul.

Judge Clifton Newman, a Black judge, sentenced Alex Murdaugh, 54, to life behind bars during a recently completed trial in Walterboro, South Carolina, without the possibility of parole.

“Over the past century, your family—including you—have been prosecuting people in this courtroom, and many have received the death penalty, probably for lesser conduct,” Judge Newman, told Murdaugh.

Murdaugh’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather had all served as the top regional prosecutor in Walterboro, South Carolina.

The New York Times reported that Randolph Murdaugh was a prosecutor in cases against Willie Daniels, convicted of rape and burglary in 1957, and Benjamin Heyward, convicted of murder and electrocuted in 1941. 

The Murdaugh family’s line of prosecutors, has more than 30 people executed from 1920 to 2006. 

In South Carolina, like most like many other states, most of those condemned to death row are Black men. No one has been executed in South Caroline since 2011.

Murdaugh claimed he was innocent of the murders before being led away. His lawyers said he would appeal.