Becky Hill resigns ‘not related’ to Alex Murdaugh trial ethics investigation

Posted at 12:55 PM, March 25, 2024

COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (Court TV) — Becky Hill, who served as Clerk of Court for Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial, has announced her resignation amid two open ethics investigations into allegations of jury tampering.

At a press conference Monday, Hill’s attorney, Justin Bamberg, repeatedly stated that the announcement was in the best interests of the Colleton County constituents and unrelated to any new developments regarding her alleged interactions with the jury in SC v. Alex Murdaugh or allegations that she used her elected position for personal gain.

Becky Hill testifies in court

Becky Hill, the Colleton County Clerk of Court, testified at an evidentiary hearing on Jan. 29, 2024. (Court TV)

Hill positively reflected on her role during “one of the biggest trials in South Carolina history” but says the global attention and public scrutiny has caused her to reflect on her stay in office.

“After much reflection, I have decided that it is best not to run again for re-election. I will now be able to focus on being a wife, a mother and a grandmother to my two grandboys and will be spending time with the people who mean the most to me. With the upcoming election, I was to ensure that I provided ample time for any other republican candidates who may be interested in pursuing this position.”

Hill was thrust into the national spotlight when Murdaugh’s defense attorneys filed a motion seeking a new trial, which alleged Hill made inappropriate comments to the jury that suggested Murdaugh’s guilt.

The jury tampering issues boil down to a handful of jurors who testified to Hill’s concerning behavior, including going into a bathroom with the forewoman and instructing the jury “not to be fooled” by Murdaugh’s defense.

Hill’s son, Jeffrey Hill, had separately been arrested and charged with wiretapping after allegedly illegally recording conversations involving a deputy county administrator during the murder trial.

The ethics investigation also included allegations that Hill had used her position as clerk to promote a book she co-authored about the murders and trial entitled, “Behind the Doors of Justice.” The book came under fire when its co-author, Neil Gordon, discovered a 12-page passage in the preface had been plagiarized. Hill said in a press release that she was “deeply remorseful” for the plagiarism and that book sales had been halted.

According to defense attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, Hill was trying to secure herself “a book deal and media appearances that would not happen in the event of a mistrial.”

alex murdaugh sits during a hearing

Alex Murdaugh, convicted of killing his wife, Maggie, and younger son, Paul, in June 2021, sits during a hearing on a motion for a retrial, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024, at the Richland County Judicial Center in Columbia, S.C. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP, Pool)

The ethics investigation culminated at an evidentiary hearing on Jan. 29. Justice Jean Toal heard from Murdaugh’s defense team and lead prosecutor Creighton Waters, who claimed that SLED’s investigation did not indicate improper conduct or influence over the verdict.

Justice Toal also had the opportunity to question all of the jurors, who have remained anonymous throughout the proceedings and from Hill directly. Hill also denied talking to the jurors about anything that had to do with the case.

Ultimately, Justice Toal found that even though she believed Hill was not a credible witness, there was no evidence that her comments impacted the jury’s verdict.

“Miss Hill was attracted by the siren call of celebrity,” Justice Toal said.

As Justice Toal issued her ruling, she noted that she strongly agreed with the jury’s verdict and that there was overwhelming evidence that Alex Murdaugh murdered his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, in 2021.