Murdaugh murder trial set for January 2023

The state's attorney general said he expects the trial of the former Lowcountry attorney to last approximately two weeks.
Published: Oct. 13, 2022 at 11:52 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 13, 2022 at 7:14 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - A former Lowcountry lawyer will have to stand trial at the end of January for the murders of his wife and son.

Alex Murdaugh is charged with the murders of 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh. Both were shot to death at the family’s hunting property in rural Colleton County on June 7, 2021.

Attorney General Alan Wilson says the trial will start on Jan. 30, 2023, and will last until Feb. 17, 2023.

Judge Clifton Newman will preside over the trial, which will take place at the Colleton County Courthouse.

Back in July, Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to state charges that he murdered his wife and son. He was then denied bond, which lawyers from both sides agreed to.

A week earlier, a Colleton County grand jury indicted Murdaugh on two counts of murder and two counts of possessing a firearm during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the shooting deaths of Maggie and Paul.

The indictments state he used two different weapons; a rifle on his wife and a shotgun on his son.

He called 911 that night, telling investigators he had arrived at the family’s hunting property in the rural Colleton County community of Islandton and discovered the bodies.

The two sides also requested a gag order to keep motions that might include evidence sealed for the case citing the media attention the case has garnered.

While attorneys for the state appeared agreeable to the order, Judge Newman said he “typically disfavors” gag orders.

The third motion brought to Newman during the July hearing was the defense’s request for a speedy trial with Murdaugh’s attorneys, saying “the killer or killers are still at large.”

In a statement, Alex’s legal team says they appreciate the court accommodating that request.

Alex is looking forward to his day in court and we are confident that he will be acquitted after an impartial Colleton County jury considers all the evidence. Alex and his family continue to hope that everyone responsible for Maggie and Paul’s death will eventually be brought to justice.

Alex is represented by Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. Meanwhile, the state will be represented by Chief Attorney Creighton Waters.