Why Did Alex Murdaugh Kill His Family: The second season of “The Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal” has returned on Netflix following the conviction of Alex Murdaugh, a well-known lawyer and the family’s leader, for a double murder. But the big question remains: why did he commit such a horrific act and take the lives of his wife and son?
In the initial season of Netflix’s true crime documentary series, released in February, the tragic events involving the Murdaugh family were depicted as they unfolded in real-time. The first part of the series delved into five devastating deaths that deeply impacted a local community in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, with the most heart-wrenching being the double murder of Alex’s wife, Maggie, and his youngest son, Paul.
Now, in Season 2, the case is being revisited, and viewers will have the opportunity to hear from individuals who were present in the days leading up to and following the murders of Maggie and Paul. This includes Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson, who previously worked as a housekeeper for the Murdaugh family, and Mushell ‘Shelly’ Smith, who used to care for Libby Murdaugh, the family’s matriarch. Both of them played crucial roles as witnesses during the trial.
As you tune in to this new season, the burning question on everyone’s mind remains: why did Alex Murdaugh commit such a dreadful act and take the lives of his wife and son? Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
Who is Alex Murdaugh?
The central puzzle in this entire narrative revolves around uncovering the genuine Alex Murdaugh.
During the trial, even those closest to him—his lifelong friends and colleagues of 20 or 30 years—admitted they never truly grasped the real Alex Murdaugh. He was a generous and friendly individual who could establish positive relationships with almost anyone. He possessed the knack for winning people over and achieving his aims.
However, the startling revelation was that Alex Murdaugh’s true identity differed from the persona everyone believed they knew. It emerged that he had defrauded millions upon millions of dollars from his clients. To execute such a deceit, he had to maintain eye contact, feign loyalty, and clandestinely strip them of their finances. A perplexing and disturbing facet to Alex Murdaugh is a riddle that baffles others and me.
The term “psychopath” has been used by some to describe him, and that description may not be entirely off the mark. Nonetheless, the veritable identity of the real Alex Murdaugh remains an enigma we are still endeavouring to unravel.
Why did Alex Murdaugh kill his wife and son?
Alex Murdaugh maintains his innocence in the deaths of his wife, Maggie and son Paul. Still, during his murder trial, prosecutors argued that he committed the murders because he was on the verge of being exposed for embezzling millions of dollars.
Despite asserting his innocence during the trial, Alex, a former attorney from South Carolina whose reputation had been tarnished, was found guilty by the jury in March. He received a sentence of two consecutive life terms in prison without the possibility of parole.
In addition to the murder charges stemming from the tragic events at their extensive Moselle estate in June 2021, Alex also faces charges related to bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
On Monday, September 18, a plea agreement was submitted in South Carolina’s US District Court. In this agreement, Alex consented to plead guilty to 22 federal charges linked to the financial crimes mentioned earlier, which involved defrauding his personal injury clients and laundering over $7 million. While the case is ongoing, pending approval from a federal judge, the financial aspect of his crimes was deemed admissible as evidence in his murder trial.
According to the Associated Press (AP), prosecutor Creighton Waters argued to the jury that Alex’s motive for killing Maggie and Paul was to gain sympathy and buy time to cover up his financial wrongdoing. Waters stated, “The pressures on this man were unbearable, and they were all reaching a crescendo the day he murdered his wife and son.”
The motive behind the murders is explored in Season 2 of the documentary series “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal,” along with the arguments put forth by the defence. Valerie Bauerlein, a reporter for The Wall Street Journal, noted that the reason suggested the possibility of the murders being a revenge plot. Alex himself testified that his son and wife may have been targeted due to a boat crash in 2019 that resulted in the death of Paul’s friend, Mallory Beach.
The defence also raised other arguments, including the theory that the murders were drug-related or the work of “random vigilantes.” Bauerlein pointed out, “In an almost entirely circumstantial case, there were elements that didn’t quite fit.”
The boat incident was a potential reason Alex might have targeted Paul specifically. Waters, the prosecutor, appears in the documentary series to explain, “From the beginning, it was important to establish that the boat case was the catalyst that started everything to unravel. The boat case created potential criminal liability for Paul, threatening to undermine the family legacy that was so important to Alex.”
Morgan Doughty, Paul’s ex-girlfriend involved in the boat crash, also shared her perspective, stating, “I think when Mr Alex mentioned the boating accident, he was trying to deflect blame away from himself. It’s similar to how he showed up at the hospital after the boat accident.
I feel like he would do or say anything to shift the blame onto someone else… the boating accident is why so much attention has been brought to everything that this man has done.”
Why did he think he could get away with the murders?
He seemed to avoid facing the consequences of his actions all his life. The Murdaughs were brought up with a strong sense of entitlement, believing they could do whatever they wanted without having to answer. This attitude was passed down from his father and grandfather, who thought they were exempt from the rules and could act without any consequences.
Alex always had the confidence that he could talk his way out of any problem. Whenever he was in a tight spot, his family name typically smoothed things over. He might have even believed he could escape the consequences of committing a serious crime like murder.
During the trial, he chose to take the stand and testify, but that turned out to be a less-than-smart decision. Even then, he held onto believing he could persuade the jury to declare him not guilty. Unfortunately for him, things didn’t go as planned, and the jury swiftly found him guilty in just three hours.
How did the police investigate and ultimately solve the murders?
Digital evidence played a significant role in the case. Alex Murdaugh had used his wife’s car on the night of the murders, and they extracted GPS data from it.
Additionally, a wealth of information was obtained from the phones of Alex, Paul, and Maggie. The prosecutors assembled a compelling visual chart that detailed Alex’s activities on that fateful day, both leading up to the murder and afterwards, and it strongly suggested his guilt.