A book written about the Alex Murdaugh murders by the clerk of court for the trial has been pulled and is no longer available for sale after the clerk admitted to plagiarizing portions of it.
Becky Hill is the Clerk of Courts in Colleton County, where Murdaugh was convicted and sentenced for the murders of his wife and son and served in that position during the high-profile trial. Hill, who co-authored a book about the murders and the trial, “Behind the Doors of Justice,” has recently come under fire after allegations by Murdaugh’s attorneys that she made inappropriate comments to the jury.
In the wake of allegations of jury tampering, there were reports of an open ethics investigation into Hill for using “unethical behavior” and using her position as clerk to promote her book. Court TV obtained letters sent to and from the South Carolina State Ethics Commission by Hill asking questions about whether she could move forward with writing the book.
However, it appears that Hill didn’t write all of her part of the book herself. Hill’s co-author, Neil Gordon, who previously told Court TV, “It was an honor for me to work with someone with such integrity and character as Becky Hill,” said in a news release that the book had been unpublished and sales stopped after learning that portions were plagiarized.
“When I confronted Becky about this, she admitted she plagiarized the passage to do deadline pressures,” Gordon said. “As a veteran journalist myself, I cannot excuse her behavior, nor can I condone it.”
Gordon found the plagiarism while reviewing thousands of pages of Hill’s emails that were released to reporters through the Freedom of Information Act. Among those emails was an excerpt from an article by BBC reporter Holly Honderich, and the text of the article matched a 12-page passage in the book’s preface.
“Becky Hill is deeply remoseful regarding an allegation of plagiarism that has rececently surfaced from her new book… Ms. Hill accepts full responsiblity for this unfortunate lapse in judgment and has personally reached out to Ms. Honderich to express her sincere apologies.”
Gordon said in the news release that he also reported the plagiarism to Honderich and was told that the BBC’s attorneys are investigating. “This has blindsided me,” Gordon said. “Journalism has been my life’s work; my credibility and integrity are paramount to everything I do. I can’t be associated with anything like plagiarism and will no longer partner with Becky Hill on any projects. I’d like to apologize to our readers, and publicly to the BBC and the reporter.”
The book, previously on Amazon, is no longer available for sale.
No criminal charges have been filed against Hill. When asked previously about potential ethics investigations into Hill, the State Ethics Commission told Court TV it could not confirm or deny the existence of any complaints.