Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering Wife and Son

Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Maggie Murdaugh and son Paul Murdaugh at the family hunting estate in 2021. Read the latest on the case.

By Lindsay Weinberg Mar 03, 2023 3:11 PMTags
Watch: Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murdering Wife and Son

Alex Murdaugh is heading behind bars.

The former South Carolina lawyer, who was recently found guilty of murdering his wife and son, received consecutive life sentences for his crimes, judge Clifton Newman declared on March 3.

The sentencing comes a day after a jury found that Murdaugh was guilty on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon while committing a violent crime in the slaying of wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and son Paul Murdaugh, 22, at their Moselle estate on June 7, 2021. 

During the hearing on March 3, judge Newman sentenced Murdaugh—for murder of Maggie—to the State Dept of Corrections "for term of the rest of your natural life." For the murder of Paul, Newman sentenced Murdaugh "to prison for murdering him for the rest of your natural life."

Murdaugh (pronounced "Murdock") pled not guilty to all charges, previously testifying that he "didn't shoot my wife or my son any time" while taking the stand during the six-week trial. (Read all the bombshells from his testimony here.)

The mother and son duo died near the dog kennels on the 1,800-acre property, with Paul suffering gunshot wounds to the chest, shoulder and head, per NBC News. Maggie was shot with a rifle in the abdomen, leg and head.

All the Bombshells From Netflix's Murdaugh Murders

Murdaugh, 54, initially told investigators that he was visiting his elderly parents when the murders took place and returned home after 10 p.m. to find his loved ones dead. He made the 9-1-1 call.

However, investigators determined that his voice was heard on a Snapchat video from Paul's phone, which was timestamped at 8:44 p.m. Prosecutors alleged that Paul and Maggie were murdered at about 8:49 p.m., which was when their cell phone activity appeared to stop. 

Grace Beahm Alford/AP/Shutterstock

Data collected from Murdaugh's Chevy Suburban suggested he left the family lodge at 9:02 p.m to head to his mom's house, prosecutors said at the trial. Murdaugh's phone then made five missed calls to his wife between 9:04 p.m. and 10:03 p.m.

Murdaugh admitted to lying to authorities about his whereabouts that night, saying in court that he was "paranoid" because of his longtime struggle with opioids.

Prior to the murder trial, Murdaugh was known as a member of a prominent family in the Lowcountry region, with his great-grandfather founding the Hampton law firm in 1910.

However, the Murdaugh family has been embroiled in multiple legal cases in recent years, including the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach in a boating crash in 2019. Paul, who was allegedly behind the wheel while drunk, pleaded not guilty to charges in the case, which were still pending when he was murdered. The charges, according to NBC News, were later dropped as a matter of protocol following his death. 

In Jan. 2023, a judge approved a settlement agreement for the wrongful death suit, which—according to local South Carolina outlet WCSC—officially dropped Buster Murdaugh as well as Maggie's estate from the case. 


In the past two years, Murdaugh has continued to deny his involvement in the double homicide of his wife and son.

"Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul. He loved them more than anything in the world," his lawyers said in a statement released after he was indicted last year. "We know that Alex did not have any motive whatsoever to murder them."

Murdaugh's older son Buster testified in court that his dad was "heartbroken" by their deaths.

After the verdict was read, the defendant's lawyers asked for a mistrial, which the judge denied. E! News has reached out to his legal team for comment but hasn't heard back.

Read more about the allegations surrounding the Murdaugh family, as depicted in the Netflix docuseries Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, by clicking here.

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