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CNN Special Reports

The Murdaugh Murders: A Twisted Tale of Power and Money. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired January 29, 2023 - 00:00   ET




ALEX MURDAUGH, DISGRACED LAWYER: I could see his brain on his ...

And I ran over to Maggie. Actually, I think I tried to turn Paul over first.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Double-murder mystery.

KAYE (voice-over): -- on trial.


KAYE (voice-over): -- accused of killing his wife and son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The evidence will show that he was there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He would be covered in blood.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There was no blood on him that I could see.

KAYE (voice-over): For the first time, those closely tied to this shocking story sit down together.

MIKE HEMLEPP, SANDY SMITH'S ATTORNEY: Every lawyer at this table is on trial.

JORDAN JINKS, ALEX MURDAUGH'S FRIEND: It's a good feeling to be connected to the power.

KAYE: Until it comes back to bite you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Powerful family, series of unsolved killings --

ERIC BLAND, ATTORNEY: How many families do you know that have five dead bodies in their orbit?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Murdaugh's housekeeper died in 2018, in a slip and fall at Murdaugh's home. GINGER HARRIOTT HADWIN, GLORIA SATTERFIELD'S ATTORNEY: He used Gloria's death to enrich himself.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nineteen-year-old Stephen Smith was found dead on the side of the road.


KAYE: Good evening. I'm Randi Kaye.

Tonight, for the first time, Alex Murdaugh's victims and alleged victims, their lawyers and local reporters, who, for years, have been covering every detail of this case, come together to talk about the man who changed their lives forever and the mystery that has shaken this community.

KAYE: You're all brought together by really one man. But some of you, you do know each other, right, from --

HADWIN: Yes. Yes.


SMITH: Our families worked together or went to school together.

HADWIN: Were together, yes.

SMITH: There's always a connection.

HADWIN: Always a connection some way, yes.

JINKS: My father owned a grocery store for 54 years, which, everyone came to that grocery store. That's what put me in the middle, to be able to know everyone.

HADWIN: We call him JJ.


KAYE (voice-over): Jordan Jinks, Ginger Harriott and Sandy Smith grew up in the rural county of Hampton, South Carolina. Less than 3,000 people live in the town of Hampton.

HADWIN: One thing about Hampton also, I mean, genuine people live there.

SMITH: Like all your friends' children would come to your house. And they call you mom.

HADWIN: Right.

KAYE (voice-over): Hampton is also the hometown of Alex Murdaugh.

KAYE: What was Alex Murdaugh like as a young boy?

JINKS: Kind of rough but typical friend. I mean, we were both interested in hunting and fishing and stuff like that.

HADWIN: We were kids. I mean, we went all to school together. So I just thought he was Alex. He was, you know, loud and he was just Alex.

SMITH: Alex, he just seemed arrogant and conceited and like I'm better than you.

KAYE: You stayed friendly or in touch with him over the years?

JINKS: Absolutely. I got wedding gifts from him. I gave him gifts. I went out of town and stuff he liked, I knew it, I brought it back. I mean, we were friends. I trusted him.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh wasn't just a resident of Hampton; Alex's great grandfather, grandfather and father, Randolph Murdaugh III, had all been the county's district attorneys or what they call solicitors.

MANDY MATNEY, JOURNALIST: Being a solicitor in South Carolina is one of the most powerful positions in our legal system.

KAYE (voice-over): Mandy Matney, John Monk and Liz Farrell are all local journalists.

LIZ FARRELL, JOURNALIST: People do have trouble finding lawyers here because of the way the legal system works. You have to be careful about who you hire sometimes because of who they might be associated with.

KAYE (voice-over): Over a century ago, Alex's great grandfather, a solicitor, also started a local law firm, formerly called Pieters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick or PMPED for short.

JOHN MONK, REPORTER, "THE STATE": The firm is a plaintiffs' law firm, which means it specializes in wrongful deaths, medical malpractice, suing big corporations on behalf of victims.

KAYE (voice-over): Monk has been reporting in South Carolina for nearly 50 years.

MONK: Because the Murdaughs know pretty much everybody in that county, they could count on getting --


MONK: -- juries that had the reputation of siding with them in a big way.

MATNEY: Something that people don't understand about PMPED and their control over Hampton County, most names that I've looked up in the Hampton County public index, so many of them have lawsuits connected to PMPED.

Everybody has a cousin who's gotten a lot of money from calling PMPED and them handling a car accident, for instance. I've heard that a million times. KAYE: Yes, it created a loyalty.

MATNEY: Yes, it creates a loyalty and it creates a -- like a culture of silence basically.

FARRELL: Yes, for sure.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh, a lawyer himself, worked at his family's law firm, PMPED, since he graduated law school back in 1994.

Mike Hemlepp, Justin Bamberg, Joe McCulloch and Eric Bland are all local litigators.

KAYE: All four of you graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, correct?


KAYE: Because Alex Murdaugh also graduated from the same school.

HEMLEPP: Randy and I graduated together.

KAYE: His brother?

HEMLEPP: Yes, his brother.

JUSTIN BAMBERG, ATTORNEY: Growing up, the Murdaughs, even over in Bamberg County, you know, people knew who they were.

MCCULLOCH: Randy, I have stories I will tell you. I was talking to a lawyer here in town, who said his old law partner, who was a big political figure here in town, got a call one day from old Buster.

KAYE (voice-over): Buster is the nickname of Alex Murdaugh's grandfather, a solicitor who served for 46 years.

MCCULLOCH: Buster said, Counselor, I know you can help me out here. My boy has gotten into some trouble. And he needs to be gotten out of it. And I know you can handle it.

And so the lawyer jumped right on it and, within an hour, he'd made the calls, like we could do in the good old days and make problems go away.

And he called Buster back and he said, Solicitor, I got it taken care of. It's all gone.

He said, Well, what do I owe you?

He said, Solicitor, I don't need to be paid. You know, this is a favor.

And he said, Buster then said to him, well, you know, Counselor, if you ever need to kill a man, you bring him to Hampton County.

And whether that was true or false, maybe a joke that was the reputation and that is what that community has dealt with for decades.

JINKS: That law firm did a great deal for the county residents. But it doesn't give that law firm the right to have so much power to suppress law enforcement. You know --

KAYE: And that's what you think is going on here?

JINKS: Yes. And if the Murdaugh family did something wrong, they are guilty, Murdaughs or not. We ain't playing on a level playing field when it comes to Hampton County and the Murdaugh family.

SMITH: Exactly.

HADWIN: Your status in an environment, a town, it should not exclude you from the law.

JINKS: Right.

HADWIN: You should -- if you do wrong, you should be punished like anyone else.

JINKS: You know, yes, I like being connected to the power for 50 years. I could pick up the phone if somebody is bothering me.

KAYE: Until it comes back to bite you?

JINKS: Exactly.

KAYE (voice-over): PMPED, now named Parker Law, did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

KAYE: The state grand jury has indicted Murdaugh on about 90 charges or so. In terms of schemes to defraud victims totaling nearly $8.8 million or so, he's also been indicted, as you know, on the two counts of murder in connection with the deaths of his wife and son.

As lawyers practicing for quite some time in this state, what do you make of that?

BLAND: Proud, proud of our legal system, proud of our attorney general, proud of our judges. I mean --

HEMLEPP: I want to add something.

KAYE: Yes.

HEMLEPP: I am not proud. I am angry. I'm very angry.

You asked how we feel about this?

Alex threw all of us under the bus. The entire world is looking at South Carolina. And every lawyer at this table is on trial because of greed and avarice. I represent the family of a 19- year-old kid, who was poor, who was brutally murdered and left on the side of the road.

And who gave a crap about that in 2015? KAYE (voice-over): When we return --

SMITH: They beat him to death.

MCCULLOCH: Now we know, there's missing evidence.

KAYE (voice-over): A look inside the five mysterious deaths.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paul (ph) recorded a video. The evidence will show that he was there.

KAYE (voice-over): All circling Alex's orbit.

BAMBERG: There ain't no allegedly. This is what happened.





KAYE (voice-over): Maggie and Alex Murdaugh married in August of 1993. Around that time, they had two kids, Buster and their youngest son, Paul. That's when they met Gloria Satterfield.

HADWIN: We grew up close.

KAYE (voice-over): Ginger is Gloria's younger sister.

KAYE: How close was Gloria to the --

HADWIN: Oh, very much. She baby-sat for them before she started doing the housekeeping. Paul was about 13 months old. And he was just starting to walk. She would wear skirts all the time and he would walk around and hold her skirt while she was doing the housework and stuff. She pretty much raised him, him and Buster.

She thought the world of Maggie.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Double murder mystery. This morning, investigators trying to find who killed two members of one of South Carolina's most prominent legal families.

KAYE: What about the murder of Maggie and Paul?

What is it that has surprised you the most?

What still shocks you?

MATNEY: Liz was one of the first people that called me that morning. And speechless, absolutely, was the word.

FARRELL: Unbelievable. Unbelievable. I started making calls because I was worried that, right from that moment, that, already, this is being covered up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Colleton County coroner's office tells us preliminary results show both died from gunshot wounds.

MONK: There were many different thoughts that filled my mind.

MATNEY: The phone has kept me up at night.

What is with Maggie's phone?

How does that puzzle piece fit into all of this?

KAYE: John, you had the first story that revealed that Maggie's cellphone had been found in the woods?

MONK: Right, about a half a mile away from the Moselle Estate.

KAYE (voice-over): Moselle is what they called the 1,700-acre hunting property where the Murdaughs had a home.

MONK: It just added to the strangeness.

Why should somebody -- a killer, apparently -- take the cell phone and drop it a half a mile away or a mile away by the side of the road?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The feeling in the community, whoever killed the Murdaughs didn't end up here by accident or randomly.

MCCULLOCH: Crimes like this that don't involve robbery, statistically, come back to a family member.

BLAND: Passionate crime.

MCCULLOCH: They were killed in a hail of bullets, each of them. And so that does suggest the passion that you mentioned.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hampton County 9-1-1.

What's your emergency?

A. MURDAUGH: This is Alex Murdaugh.

KAYE: He says he showed up at their property in Moselle and called 9- 1-1 and found his wife and son bleeding. He reported them outside the dog kennels.

BAMBERG: The number one thing that stood out to me was the first time hearing the 9-1-1 call. The moment you call 9-1-1 and hit send on your phone, even though no one has answered and it's just ringing, it's recording on the dispatch end.

And the phone is dead silent. And you can hear the dogs barking in the background. And as soon as dispatch answers, it's this panicked Alex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hampton County 9-1-1, what's your emergency?

A. MURDAUGH: This is Alex Murdaugh.

BAMBERG: I never knew panic could get cut on and off.

MCCULLOCH: Let the blubbering begin.

A. MURDAUGH: I need the police and an ambulance immediately. My wife and child have been shot badly.

MCCULLOCH: That was so weird to me.

KAYE: You're saying he would have been panicked even before that, before it started -- before anybody picked up the line.

MCCULLOCH: That's really perceptive. I hadn't picked up on that.

BLAND: He would be hyperventilating.

A. MURDAUGH: We had a wonderful marriage, a wonderful relationship.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any problems in Paul's relationship?

A. MURDAUGH: As good as it could be.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Alex Murdaugh, being interviewed in the investigator's car hours after his wife and son were murdered.

A. MURDAUGH: I mean, I pulled up and I could see him.


A. MURDAUGH: I could see it was ...

And I could see his brain on his ...

And I ran over to Maggie and -- actually, I think I tried to turn Paul over first. I tried to take their pulse on both of them.


A. MURDAUGH: And, you know, I called 9-1-1 pretty much right away.

KAYE (voice-over): We hear him explain how he says he tried to reach his wife and son with no luck.

A. MURDAUGH: I got up, I called Maggie, didn't get an answer. And I think I texted her. I texted her at 9:08, going to check on him, be right back. And I texted her at 9:47. That must be when I started to come back. I think I called her before that. But let me make sure.

I'm pretty sure that I called her, 9:45. And then I tried Paul.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The unsolved double killings, just one of the many twists and turns deepening questions surrounding this powerful family. HEMLEPP: One of the things that people outside of South Carolina

don't understand about this entire story is somebody may read about it and they watch CNN and learn about it and feel like this happened quickly.

It did not. This was a slow burn. It was like there was no bottom to the hole that was being dug.

MCCULLOCH: He is a guy that embodies the old saying, if you are going through hell, just keep on going.

BLAND: It's the onion that you keep peeling and you never get to the core.


KAYE (voice-over): Mike Hemlepp is the attorney for Sandy Smith.

Sandy's son, 19-year-old Stephen Smith, was found lying in the middle of a Hampton County road in July of 2015.

KAYE: The highway patrol's incident report notes that he suffered from blunt force trauma to the head.

KAYE (voice-over): His death was initially deemed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division -- or SLED -- as a hit and run.

KAYE: Stephen's case was cold for quite some time. And now SLED is taking another look at it because of what they say was something that was discovered after the double murder of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, which is really interesting.

SMITH: Yes, because it was like mind blowing. And I have been begging, you know. Nobody ever returned my call.

KAYE (voice-over): Coming up --

BLAND: You're talking about a young man who's homosexual. You're talking about a small southern town.

BAMBERG: It's taboo.

BLAND: Somebody didn't like it.


KAYE (voice-over): And later --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 9-1-1, where's your emergency?

MAGGIE MURDAUGH, ALEX MURDAUGH'S WIFE: My housekeeper has fallen and her head is bleeding. I cannot get her up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Longtime housekeeper for the Murdaugh family died after suffering some kind of fall at the Murdaugh home.

HADWIN: To learn that he used Gloria's death to enrich himself is horrible.




KAYE: Share a little bit about your son, Stephen.

SMITH: I'm sorry y'all missed an opportunity to meet him --


SMITH: -- because he was very vibrant.

You could have a bad day and all he had to do was walk in the room and say something and it was like, your mood is gone because you couldn't stop.

HADWIN: Laughing or smiling.

KAYE: He would light up a room.

He had plans and dreams?

SMITH: Yes. He started at a tech school to become a nurse.

KAYE: Did you know the Murdaugh family?

SMITH: Stephen played Little League one year and Randolph and Alex were his coach. You know and that's how I met them. And then Stephen went to school with Buster.


KAYE (voice-over): Buster is Alex Murdaugh's eldest son.

KAYE: The Stephen Smith case was reopened by SLED as a result of something that was found at the double murder scene for Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

HEMLEPP: So Stephen died and he was found July 7th of 2015. Rumors were everywhere, everywhere. This is a small county. It's impossible that people didn't know what happened. People talk.

BAMBERG: What the talk has always been was that Stephen had some sort of a relationship with a Murdaugh and that that was going to get out.

KAYE: So they took him out?

BLAND: Think how courageous Stephen was. You're talking about a young man who's homosexual, who isn't hiding it, is very proud of who he is. You're talking about a small Southern town.

BAMBERG: It's taboo.

BLAND: It's taboo.


BLAND: And he's wearing it proud. And somebody didn't like it. It clearly had to have been related to his sexuality.

Don't you believe, Mike?

HEMLEPP: A hundred percent, 100 percent. South Carolina and Wyoming are the only two states that have no hate crimes law.

BLAND: We have no hate crimes law?

BAMBERG: No. We can't get one passed and we have been trying and begging and fighting.

BLAND: You are kidding me?


KAYE: What happened to Stephen Smith?

HEMLEPP: There's so much we don't know. We know some bare bones facts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hampton County 9-1-1, what's your emergency?

HEMLEPP: We know that he was found at 4 o'clock in the morning on Sandy Run Road in Hampton. He was about a mile from his car. He had died of horrific blunt force trauma to his head. His skull was fractured.

His wallet was in his car. He had his cell phone. And he was not that far from his father's house, where he lived. His twin sister, Stefanie, was also at home.

I was a prosecutor for a long time. But I have prosecuted cases of people having been hit by cars. This is not the scene of a hit and run. There was no debris.

KAYE: There was no debris. Lower extremities, nothing was broken and his loosely tied sneakers were still on him, on his feet?


BAMBERG: Could have been blown off.

KAYE: If it was a hit and run.

HEMLEPP: Every hit and run case I have ever seen, shoes blow off. They did not have their shoes on. A hit and run is extraordinarily violent, extraordinarily violent. He had some abrasions but not significant.

KAYE: What do you remember about that night and when you learned what had happened to your son? SMITH: I was on my way to work. And I heard on the Big Dog radio that they had found a body in the road on Sandy Run and Joe Miley. And I was like, oh, gosh, my kids live on Joe Miley. So I called Joel's house.

KAYE (voice-over): Joel was Stephen's father.

SMITH: Stefanie answered.

I said, are y'all OK?

I heard something happened down the road. They found a body.

And she said, Mom, did Stephen spend the night at your house last night?

I said, no. And then I knew. I know it was him.

KAYE: Is that a mother's instinct?

SMITH: Oh, yes. Yes, because Stephen was my baby. So we were always close.

KAYE: And I know that, soon after, Randy Murdaugh had called.

KAYE (voice-over): Randy is Alex Murdaugh's brother.

SMITH: When I was on phone with Joel, he said, let me put you on hold, because Randy Murdaugh is calling. He said, Randy wants to take Stephen's case pro bono.

And I was like, what case?

Because they said it was a hit and run.

KAYE: Did you think that call from Randy Murdaugh was strange?

SMITH: Yes. It made no sense to me.

KAYE: Yes. And he's --

SMITH: I mean, really, there was no case there yet.

JINKS: Yes. And you didn't even know it was a case yet.

KAYE: And his law office has said that he didn't call -- he didn't know Stephen had died until after the funeral.

SMITH: Excuse me, but Alex Murdaugh and Randy Murdaugh were standing at the crime scene.


SMITH: They were at the crime scene after Stephen's body was moved.

Randy Murdaugh called and asked, was that you that just passed by? I said, yes.

He said, I wish you would have stopped so I could have met you.


SPOHN: At the crime scene.


JINKS: At the crime scene.

KAYE: His office says that he never officered to represent the family in any way.

SMITH: Well, if you can believe anything a Murdaugh says ...


KAYE (voice-over): SLED has released some of the interrogations and interviews regarding Stephen's case to the media.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't feel like it's a hit and run. I've looked at the body itself.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, a lot of people seem a little nervous to say the name Murdaugh.

KAYE: The lead investigator at the time even voiced his doubts about this being a hit and run.

TROOPER TODD PROCTOR, SOUTH CAROLINA HIGHWAY PATROL: Typically you don't see the Highway Patrol working a murder. And that's what this is.

SMITH: Right.


KAYE: That was the lead investigator at the time. Yet you still don't have answers and you still don't know who did this.

SMITH: Right.

MATNEY: This is either an extreme amount of corruption from very powerful people, who were able to pull all of these strings, or everybody involved in this did not do their job. And that is very scary for the justice system, too. Both sides, it's scary.

KAYE: What do you believe happened to your son, Stephen?

SMITH: I feel like they beat him to death because the only damage was to his head. And he did have some defense wounds. He had a dislocated shoulder. It had to be somebody he knew to put his body like he was walking home.

HADWIN: I mean, my heart goes out to her. This is hard to believe.

KAYE (voice-over): It's been seven years and Stephen's case is still unsolved. His mother's attorney has yet to bring a case against the Murdaugh family.

HEMLEPP: There's no fact that I can point to, other than talk, rumors, speculation and the connection of SLED reopening the case at Moselle. There's nothing connected to the Murdaughs. And I'll tell you the other thing, there are people right now in Hampton, who know what happened. And they need to come forward.

MATNEY: Sandy lost her son but she also lost her own community because people were just turning their back, saying, we can't say anything.

SMITH: I want justice for my son.

JINKS: You deserve it.

HADWIN: You deserve it. You do.

SMITH: That's all I want.


KAYE: You'll get it.

SMITH: Oh, yes. One step closer.


KAYE (voice-over): When we return --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn't think that they were interlaced.

JINKS: He forged my name.

KAYE (voice-over): We review some of the 90 financial fraud charges Alex Murdaugh is facing.

HADWIN: To learn that he used Gloria's death to enrich himself is horrible.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 9-1-1, where's your emergency?

KAYE (voice-over): And later --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were in a boat crash.

KAYE: The tragic death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.

MCCULLOCH: There was an effort by the Murdaugh family to influence law enforcement. And now we know there's missing evidence.





KAYE: Tell me about Gloria.

HADWIN: Oh, Gloria was special. You know, everyone referred to her as the Murdaugh's housekeeper. She was more than that. She was a sister. She was a mother. She was loved by all of us.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 9-1-1, where's your emergency?

M. MURDAUGH: My housekeeper has fallen and her head is bleeding. I cannot get her up.

KAYE (voice-over): According to Alex Murdaugh, in February of 2018, Gloria was picking up a check at his home when the Murdaugh's four dogs tripped her and she fell down their front porch steps.

PAUL MURDAUGH, ALEX MURDAUGH'S SON: I believe she maybe hit her head and maybe has a concussion or something.


Do you know what her name is?

P. MURDAUGH: Gloria Satterfield.

KAYE (voice-over): She died three weeks later.

BLAND: Maggie called Alex first.

KAYE (voice-over): Eric Bland represents Gloria Satterfield's estate.

BLAND: He said that he booked it home from work. Gloria was bleeding. And she told him, the dogs tripped me. And so he said she blacked out after that.

HADWIN: We all went to the hospital. Alex didn't come to the hospital. And nobody else came the whole entire time she was there, the three weeks.

KAYE: You don't believe your sister was killed?

HADWIN: It was murder. No, no. We still think it was an accident.

KAYE (voice-over): Ginger doesn't believe Alex Murdaugh killed her sister. But he is liable for another nefarious act in connection with her death.

KAYE: You discovered this insurance document related to the Gloria Satterfield case at some point.

MATNEY: I remember turning to Liz and being like, a curse word or two.



MATNEY: Well, my god, whoa.

KAYE: And there was a settlement.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh, along with another attorney, had devised a scheme to sue his insurance company for the death of Gloria Satterfield, promising to give the money to Gloria's two surviving sons. The sons never saw what totaled to be $4.3 million.

TONY SATTERFIELD, GLORIA'S SON: Y'all, my name is Tony, you know, one of Gloria's younger sons.

KAYE: So when you think about your sister, Gloria's, loyalty to the Murdaugh family and to Alex Murdaugh and now you know he defrauded her sons $4.3 million ...

HADWIN: Yes, because they never got a dime.

KAYE: -- what do you make of that?

HADWIN: To learn that he used Gloria's death to enrich himself is horrible.

SPOHN: It's a heartbreaking --


SMITH: Very heartbreaking.

KAYE: Ruthless.

JINKS: Ruthless is the word for it.

BAMBERG: People wonder, how did they go and Ms. Gloria died and they steal all the money?

Well, they had practice.

KAYE: What did happen to Hakeem Pinckney and why is he so central to this saga?

BAMBERG: Well, A, the story is really tragic. About August 2009, there's this bad wreck. And everybody was just tremendously injured, right. And Hakeem, he already struggled because he was deaf. And now he is a quadriplegic. But they didn't know about Alex or the Murdaughs like that. They get referred there.


KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh represented members of the Pinckney family and sued the makers of the tires over the crash. But according to the Pinckney family lawyer, when the settlement money came in, greed took over.

KAYE: He had a settlement and then he just chose to not pay it to Hakeem's family --


KAYE: -- allegedly.

BAMBERG: -- well, there ain't no allegedly. This is what happened. There -- some of the money went where it was supposed to go. And a large portion of it didn't, approximately $1 million.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh's alleged accomplice was Russell Laffitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank. Murdaugh allegedly convinced the Pinckney family to hire Laffitte as their conservator and then funneled the money through the bank back to himself, a scheme they allegedly also concocted with Alaynia Spohn.

SPOHN: We were on I-95, coming through Hampton County. And a Firestone Bridgestone tire blew out and -- which caused our collision.

BLAND: Mother dies instantly, brother dies instantly.

KAYE (voice-over): Eric Bland is Alaynia's attorney.

BLAND: Alaynia is pinned in the back of the car. You're talking, in 2009, the case was settled for $9 million. I mean, huge settlement. And so they have to have somebody to help them manage their money.

KAYE (voice-over): Russell Laffitte was the conservator for Alaynia and her younger sister.

BLAND: Over the course of them being 11 and 18 years old, as a conservator, he loaned money to himself and to Alex Murdaugh from a conservatorship account. He loaned himself over $600,000. He loaned over $800,000 to Alex Murdaugh. And these girls would get NSF checks come back to them --

KAYE: Not sufficient funds.

BLAND: -- not sufficient funds because he had spent all the money.

SPOHN: I remember him telling me, like, these people took your mom and your brother, because of their mistake. So we're going to make it right and you're not going to have to work another day in your life. And knowing that, like, I'm over here pinching pennies.

KAYE: Because he was limiting your funds.

SPOHN: Yes. Oh, yes, definitely.

HADWIN: I think, yes. This is horrible. It's a horrible thought. You got kids that are in need and scared to even ask to get money to buy something they need. And here they are, they are just spending it like it's nothing. JINKS: I even say that's heartless for you to have whatever you need and you can't get to it because of somebody's making the decision for you.

KAYE (voice-over): Jordan Jinks is Alex's childhood friend.

JINKS: I had a car accident. I was rear-ended by a pool company out of Hilton Head. So I called Alex. That was the first person I called.

KAYE: And Alex Murdaugh got a settlement for you.

JINKS: Absolutely.

KAYE: And that money came right to you?

JINKS: Not all of it.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh allegedly defrauded Jordan Jinks of $150,000.

KAYE: He was a friend.

HADWIN: And he convinced you that he's working for you and doing everything above and beyond for you.

JINKS: I trusted Alex like a brother. Alex and I ate off the same plate.

SPOHN: If he is willing to do that to a childhood friend, he'll do it to anyone.

KAYE (voice-over): Russell Laffitte was convicted on six counts of financial fraud crimes by a federal jury in November of 2022. All of the charges were related to Murdaugh steal from their mutual clients. Each one holds a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison.

Their lawyers did not respond to a request for comment about these financial fraud charges.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you kill your wife?

KAYE (voice-over): When we return --

MONK: This trial will probably be one of the most watched since O.J.

KAYE (voice-over): What happens next?

BAMBERG: All he has to do is flip one juror who is going to say he is not guilty.






Paul, what bridge is this?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 9-1-1, where's your emergency?

COOK: We're in a boat crash on Archers Creek. We have someone missing.

KAYE (voice-over): In February of 2019, 19-year-old Mallory Beach was killed while boating with five other friends, including Alex Murdaugh's youngest son, Paul. Paul was allegedly driving the boat intoxicated and crashed. Mallory's body was found eight days later.

MATNEY: We knew that the accused driver, from what everybody in Hampton was saying, was Paul Murdaugh and who also happens to have all these influences around local cops.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You want to get checked out by the ambulance?

P. MURDAUGH: Yes, I'm fine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's get you checked out, all right?

P. MURDAUGH: Yes, I'm fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's your last name. buddy?

P. MURDAUGH: Murdaugh.

MATNEY: We kept asking for the initial police report, the incident report from DNR. And we didn't get -- I didn't get that until 2021. And that is so odd to me. Usually you can always get an incident report.

KAYE: So you were suspicious, right?

MATNEY: Very suspicious. Everything was suspicious.

FARRELL: Well, we had good sources in law enforcement. And they told us, you know, the fix is in already.

KAYE (voice-over): In the incident report, law enforcement did not specify who was driving the boat.

Joe McCulloch represents Connor Cook, one of the surviving passengers.

MCCULLOCH: As a prosecutor, I have seen done in every DUI case, every felony DUI and boating under the influence cases, it's law enforcement 101, police academy 101. You separate the people, you figure out who was driving, you stand them up, do the field sobriety exercises. None of that occurred in this case. And now we know there's missing



KAYE (voice-over): Directly after the boat crashed, the passengers were transported to the hospital and, according to the hospital staff, Alex Murdaugh and his father went from room to room, attempting to speak to the remaining survivors.

Cook later testified that Alex Murdaugh told him to, quote, "keep his mouth shut" and inform law enforcement he did not know who was driving.

KAYE: What happened at the hospital?

MCCULLOCH: There was an effort by the Murdaugh family to influence those young people, their parents, to influence law enforcement.

BLAND: How does Alex (sic) get to go to the accident scene with his father and start to direct people around like that?

It doesn't happen anywhere else.

HEMLEPP: It was the hubris and the privilege.

KAYE (voice-over): Paul Murdaugh was eventually indicted and charged with boating under the influence, resulting in death. But Paul would never face trial. He and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, were killed nearly 2.5 years after the boating accident. Three months after the double homicide --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hampton County 9-1-1, what's your emergency?

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh claimed someone tried to kill him, too.

A. MURDAUGH: I got a flat tire and I stopped and somebody stopped to help me. And when I turned my back, they tried to shoot me.


Were you shot?

A. MURDAUGH: Yes, but I'm OK.

KAYE (voice-over): His lawyers later admitted in court it was a fake suicide attempt.

KAYE: He admits that he was just trying to do this to get this $10 million in life insurance for his now only surviving son, Buster.

So do you buy that, that the motive was to -- he was looking out for his son?

BLAND: No, he was just trying to divert the attention away from him. (CROSSTALK)

BAMBERG: I think this --

MCCULLOCH: From the get-go, it was a ploy to promote, the ninja warriors are after me.


KAYE: So there's this life insurance policy and then this alleged opioid addiction. Attorneys for him said, for the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids. Alex is not without fault but he is just one of many whose life has been devastated by opioid addiction.

So what do you make of that statement, Mike?


BLAND: Can you talk?

BAMBERG: His face says it's all.

HEMLEPP: It's hard when you're on TV to respond to that.

KAYE: We can bleep, whatever.

HEMLEPP: This is all bullshit. It's all bullshit.

KAYE: Was there ever any sign that he used opioids?

JINKS: Hmm, yes and no. Before stuff started happening, I would have went to his defense, 200 percent.

KAYE: And now with all this, you think he had to be on some sort of stuff?


JINKS: Had to be. Had to be.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial for Maggie and Paul began on January 23rd. It's expected to last a few weeks.

CREIGHTON WATERS, STATE CHIEF PROSECUTOR: With two shots to the head ...

KAYE (voice-over): So far, prosecutor Creighton Waters attempted early on to convince the jury Alex Murdaugh was at the scene when Paul and Maggie were killed, despite him saying he wasn't.

WATERS: At 8:44:55, Paul recorded a video. And you'll see that video that identifies Paul's voice, Maggie's voice and Alex's voice. He told anyone who would listen he was never there. The evidence will show that he was there. KAYE (voice-over): Murdaugh's defense attorney, Dick Harpootlian pointed out that whoever shot Paul would have been covered in blood, given the violent nature of the shooting. Alex Murdaugh was not.

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: His head exploded. You would be covered in blood from head to foot.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh told investigators that he tried to check the pulse on both his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul. Yet Alex didn't appear to have any blood on him, this investigator told the court.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see anything that appeared to be blood on his shoe?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see what appeared to be blood on Alex Murdaugh's hands?


KAYE (voice-over): And when the defense lawyer asked her why she thought his clothes were freshly washed ...

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's sweating and they're dry, so I would say yes.

KAYE (voice-over): Still, on cross examination, the defense tried to poke holes in the idea that Alex Murdaugh may have washed his clothes after allegedly killing his wife and son.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, let me ask you, in your mind's eye, that night, on June 7th, did he look like someone who had just blown his son's head off, spattering blood everywhere?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Again, I can't say that for sure.

KAYE (voice-over): Alex Murdaugh's lawyers declined to participate in the interview prior to the trial but they did release a statement to CNN, saying, in part, "We are confident that he will be acquitted. Alex continues to hope that everyone responsible for Maggie and Paul's death will eventually be brought to justice."


MONK: This trial will probably be one of the most watched since O.J.

KAYE (voice-over): Murdaugh's trial in connection to Mallory Beach's wrongful death lawsuit has yet to be scheduled. SLED did open a new investigation into Gloria Satterfield's death, the Murdaugh's housekeeper, and planned to exhume her body.

Alex Murdaugh has admitted in court to stealing the insurance settlement funds that belonged to Gloria's estate.

And as for Stephen Smith, his case has been reopened.

KAYE: What are your thoughts on the public perception of this county, now that the Murdaugh name is out there and the case is getting national attention?

I mean, what do you think people think of this county and this place where you grew up?

JINKS: You go ahead.


SMITH: Well, a lot of people ask me, it's just, they can't believe that such a small community, that people didn't know that this stuff was going on in their county. And, of course, we have no clue what was going on, because they were hiding, because it was that one group of people who were working together.

HADWIN: To us, it's still home, you know.

JINKS: I think this bad thing is going to be a great thing for Hampton County.


JINKS: Because of the chokehold, the power that they had over Hampton County, there's a great hope that Hampton County will start its blossoms.

SMITH: Oh, yes.

JINKS: Because of this.

SMITH: Because now that power is --

JINKS: That power is diminished.

SMITH: No longer in control.

JINKS: Is weakened. It's going to help. I mean, it's going to help.