By JAMES POLLARD Associated Press/Report for America
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The mysterious shooting deaths of a prominent South Carolina lawyer’s wife and son have spun investigations revealing charges of money laundering, a narcotics ring, a staged attempt on his life and millions of dollars in stolen money.
On Thursday, Alex Murdaugh was charged with murder, the latest in a steep fall that has spanned the past 13 months. Here is a look at the events surrounding his indictments:
June 7, 2021: Murdaugh calls police to report his wife Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22, have been fatally shot near a dog kennel on their property.
June 23, 2021: An investigation into the hit-and-run death of Stephen Smith, 19, unsolved for six years, is reopened based on information gathered by agents looking into the shooting deaths. It’s not clear what evidence in the Murdaugh case prompted the move.
Sept. 4, 2021: Alex Murdaugh attempts to arrange his own death in a plan to secure his surviving son a $10 million life insurance payment, officials say. The plot fails when the shot — which police said was fired by Murdaugh associate Curtis Edward Smith — only grazes Murdaugh’s head. Smith was ultimately charged with assisted suicide, insurance fraud and several other counts.
Oct. 14, 2021: Police arrest Murdaugh at a drug rehab facility in Orlando, Florida, on charges that he stole insurance settlements totaling more than $4 million intended for the sons of his late housekeeper.
Oct. 19, 2021: A judge denies Murdaugh bond, saying his considerable financial resources and mental instability make it too risky to allow him to await trial outside jail.
Nov. 2, 2021: A judge freezes Murdaugh’s assets, citing concerns that he and his surviving son might be scheming to hide money.
Nov. 17, 2021: Prosecutors reveal 27 new charges against Murdaugh, saying he stole nearly $5 million in settlement money. Prosecutors allege Murdaugh was hiding money from lawyers who sued him over the death of a teenager killed when authorities say an intoxicated Paul Murdaugh wrecked the boat he was driving.
Jan. 18, 2022: Additional indictments mean Murdaugh now faces 71 charges that he stole nearly $8.5 million in wrongful death and wreck settlements from more than a dozen people.
March 16, 2022: An indictment accuses longtime Murdaugh friend Cory Fleming of working with the disgraced lawyer to defraud the sons of Gloria Satterfield, the family’s housekeeper who died after a fall at the Murdaugh home in 2018. Fleming had sued Murdaugh on behalf of Satterfield’s family but kept the resulting $3 million insurance payouts for Murdaugh and himself.
May 4, 2022: Russell Laffitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank before his firing earlier this year, is indicted on charges that he conspired with Murdaugh to defraud victims of $1.8 million. One of the victims was the family of a deaf man who became quadriplegic after a car crash.
June 28, 2022: Prosecutors outline an eight-year money laundering and painkiller ring in new indictments. Both Murdaugh and Smith — the friend charged in the once-prominent lawyer’s attempted suicide — were charged with possessing, manufacturing or distributing narcotics.
July 12, 2022: Lawyer Jim Griffin says investigators told family members they plan to pursue murder charges against Murdaugh for the deaths of his wife and son. The South Carolina Supreme Court disbars Murdaugh.
July 14, 2022: Murdaugh is charged with murder in the deaths of his wife and son. The indictments handed up by the grand jury contend Murdaugh killed his wife with a rifle and his son with a shotgun