Alex Murdaugh sentenced to 27 years in plea deal for financial crimes

Posted at 3:37 PM, November 28, 2023


BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. (Court TV) — Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced on Tuesday after pleading guilty to dozens of financial crimes spanning several counties in a global plea deal reached two weeks before his first trial was set to begin.

Disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted by a jury in March 2023 of killing his wife and son and was sentenced by Judge Newman to two life sentences. Murdaugh has maintained his innocence as he appeals his sentence and asks for a new trial.

Court TV Legendary Trials: SC v. Alex Murdaugh (2023)

Alex Murdaugh

Alex Murdaugh, handcuffed and wearing a bright orange SCDC jumpsuit, sits between his defense attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin in a Beaufort County courtroom where he pleaded guilty in a plea deal to dozens of financial crimes on Nov. 17, 2023. (Court TV)

Nov. 27 was supposed to be the start of Murdaugh’s financial crimes trial, but his attorneys reached a plea agreement with prosecutors in the 11th hour. Instead, Nov. 28 was sentencing day, and Newman imposed the agreed-upon sentence of 27 years.

Several victims delivered impact statements during the hearing, including Jordan Jinks and Tony Satterfield. Eric Bland and Mark Tinsley, attorneys who represent victims’ families, also spoke.

Addressing the court before hearing his sentence, Alex Murdaugh apologized for his crimes but took the opportunity to once again deny killing his wife and son.

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On Nov. 17, Murdaugh appeared in court for a change of venue motion hearing, where defense attorneys were expected to argue relocation of the first of Murdaugh’s state-level financial crimes trials, set to begin Nov. 27, regarding the estate of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family’s long-time housekeeper.

Alex Murdaugh, who was handcuffed and wearing a bright orange SCDC jumpsuit, was escorted into the Beaufort County courtroom to join his attorney Jim Griffin.

Judge Clifton Newman took the bench, unexpectedly announcing private matters that the parties needed to discuss. He recessed the court and Murdaugh and the attorneys left the courtroom, presumably to Judge Newman’s chambers, where sources told Court TV plea deal negotiations had begun.

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Three hours later, the parties reconvened in the courtroom where prosecutor Creighton Waters outlined the details of the plea deal that would add 27 years to Murdaugh’s double murder conviction sentence, an 85% reduced sentence had a jury found him guilty of the crimes.

Judge Newman then turned to Murdaugh directly for his plea.

  • Judge Newman: “Do you wish to withdraw your guilty plea and plead guilty?”
  • Alex Murdaugh: “I do.”
  • Judge Newman: “Is there any question in your mind about the proceeding?”
  • Alex Murdaugh: “No question in my mind.”
  • Judge Newman: “Have you had enough time to think about it?”
  • Alex Murdaugh: “Yes sir. I’ve had a long time to think about it.”

Prosecutor Waters once again walked the court through the financial crimes victims, many of whom were discussed at length at Murdaugh’s murder trial, including Natasha Thomas, Chris Wilson, the Satterfield Family and even Murdaugh’s own brother, Randy Murdaugh.

Murdaugh was indicted on more than 100 charges in South Carolina for financial crimes spanning several counties. Indictments obtained by Court TV indicate that Murdaugh was facing charges for financial crimes in Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Orangeburg County. Murdaugh pleaded guilty in federal court in September on a number of charges, including bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.