Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison without parole
Alex Murdaugh is punished with the maximum sentence of life in prison without parole for the fatal shootings of his wife, Margaret, and their youngest son, Paul.
On a separate count of two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime, he is not sentenced because of life in prison.
Judge to Murdaugh: ‘When will the lies end?’
Earlier in Murdaugh’s testimony, the disgraced lawyer said the lies he told were getting worse: «What a tangled web we weave, once you tell a lie.»
Newman asked Murdaugh what he meant when he testified about the web of lies.
Newman noted that the jury concluded that he lied throughout his testimony, particularly about his alibi and his failure to be at the scene of the murder moments before his wife and son were shot dead.
«When will it end?» Newman asked.
The judge talks about the ‘monster you became’ to Murdaugh
Murdaugh declined to speak further when asked by Newman if he wanted to address the court before his sentencing.
«I’ll tell you again, I respect this court, but I am innocent. Under no circumstances would I hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son, Paul Paul,» Murdaugh said.
«It may not have been you,» Newman said. «I could have been the monster you became.»
Newman gets personal
Murdaugh was a prominent lawyer in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Newman addressed the community they shared as legal professionals.
“As a member of the legal community and a well-known member of the legal community, he has practiced law before me and we have seen each other on a number of occasions over the years,” Newman told Murdaugh.
«It was especially heartbreaking for me to see you go in the media from being a grieving father who lost his wife and son to being the person accused and convicted of killing them.»
Murdaugh heads to court
Murdaugh spoke briefly during his sentencing, telling the court, «I am innocent. I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son, Paul Paul.»
No victim impact statements
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters told Newman there will be no victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing on behalf of the prosecution.
An advocate for the victims said none of them wanted to speak.
«I want to congratulate our victim advocate for the excellent job she did in handling this complex situation,» Waters said.
The judge will listen to both sides while sentencing
Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman will balance a number of factors in today’s sentencing.
Watch for the defense to try to argue that there are mitigating factors that should weigh against a life sentence, such as Murdaugh’s lack of criminal record and drug addiction. But the prosecution will point to other factors, including her lack of remorse.
Murdaugh will also have the opportunity to speak, if he wishes. But she may decide to keep quiet today, especially if she wants to file an appeal.
Murdaugh arrives at court
Murdaugh arrived at the Colleton County Courthouse just before 9:30 a.m. for his sentencing hearing.
Unlike at his trial, when he wore a dress shirt and jacket every day, Murdaugh arrived in tan overalls, white socks and orange slippers. His hands were handcuffed and his legs were chained.
South Carolina AG details what worked
Marlene Lenthang and chantal da silva
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson spoke Friday before sentencing about moments in the high-profile trial that sealed Murdaugh’s fate.
“That dog pound video that no one knew existed until months after the murders happened, it was basically Paul speaking from beyond the grave. That, yes, Alex Murdaugh was there moments before Maggie and Paul were brutally murdered. That was a big part of the state’s case,” he said on NBC’s “TODAY” show.
In the case, the state presented Snapchat video evidence taken from Paul’s cell phone that located Murdaugh at the property’s kennel at 8:44 p.m. the night of the murders, countering his denial to investigators that he had last seen his family at dinner time.
The attorney general said Murdaugh himself was the «most important piece of evidence.»
«When he took the stand, I think it was ultimately fatal for him,» Wilson said.