On June 7, 2021, a tragic incident took place in the infamous Murdaugh family, who have gained notoriety for their murder scandals. One of South Carolina’s most disturbing and bone-chilling murder mysteries is the Murdaugh murder case. Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Maggie, were murdered at the Murdaugh residence at 4147 Mossel Road in Islandton on this date. The first person to find the body was Paul’s father and Maggie’s husband, Alex Murdaugh, and it was he who reported it to the police. However, he became a suspect in the murder case, as there were some flaws in his alibi, and he possessed the same weapon that was used in the murder, which deepened the mystery surrounding the case. Netflix released the first season of Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, which delved deeper into the boat wreck accident resulting in Mallory Beach’s death, and the subsequent tragedy that claimed Paul and his mother’s lives. Now, the second part of the series has been brought to the screens, showcasing the most anticipated trial of Alex Murdaugh and revealing the final verdict at the end of the trial.
On February 23, 2019, Mallory Beach’s disappearance marked the beginning of the Murdaugh murder scandal. Mallory was a close friend of Paul Murdaugh because Paul’s best friend, Anthony Cook, was dating her at the time. Even Morgan, whom Paul was dating at the time, was another close friend of his. As a result, they became a group of close friends who used to go on trips and party together. That night, when they decided to go on a boat trip, Paul was drunk and uncontrollable. He even refused to let anyone else drive his boat during the trip. However, tragedy struck when Paul’s boat hit a piling near Parris Island and capsized, injuring everyone on board. But it was Mallory who disappeared into the middle of the lake and was nowhere to be found. The horrifying incident soon shifted the mood of the gathering, causing everyone to blame Paul for his recklessness.
On March 3, Mallory’s body was found, and she was pronounced dead. Paul was arrested and charged with DUI resulting in death; however, he was soon released on bond. Alex Murdaugh tried to settle the matter so that no one could point the finger at his son; however, everyone in the group knew that Paul was to blame for Mallory’s death. Although it was an accident, Paul was responsible for careless driving, which had resulted in the loss of a young woman’s life. In Season 1, we delved into the death of Mallory Beach and learned how wealth and influence can help someone get away with everything. Subsequently, the deaths of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh and Alex’s involvement in stealing money from their law firm were brought up in season 1. In Season 2, we’ll delve deeper into the trial of Alex Murdaugh and try to conclude whether or not Alex was guilty of murdering his son and wife.
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal season 2 opened with a glimpse of the incident of June 7, 2021, when investigators arrived at the scene, and Alex broke down in tears due to the loss he had just endured. Next, we saw Alex arrive at the Colleton County Courthouse in South Carolina on January 20, 2023, to stand trial for the murder of his wife and son. He had pleaded not guilty on both counts. A huge mob flocked around the Colleton County courthouse, and even O. J. Simpson made a social media video on Murdaugh’s trial, anticipating the case would reach a conclusion. So, you can already imagine the weight of the case and the popularity it gained over time.
Valerie Bauerlein, from the Wall Street Journal, was once again seen this season. Becky Hill, one of the clerks of Colleton County Court, stated that this was one of the most multifaceted cases she’d seen, rare to find in South Carolina. However, as an already influential lawyer, Alex Murdaugh had the privilege of hiring the most competent defense lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, on his legal team. The lead prosecutor, Creighton Waters, and Alan Wilson, who was the South Carolina Attorney General, relied on circumstantial evidence, as there was no eyewitness or any direct evidence that could link Alex to the murder.
Alex, however, tried to establish a connection between the boat wreck accident and the murder of Paul and Maggie. He tried to shift the blame onto Paul’s friends to save his own neck. But the survivors of the boat wreck rejected the idea completely, as they had no intention of harming Paul or taking any kind of revenge. This season introduced us to Blanca, the Murdaugh family housekeeper, and Shelly, the caregiver for Alex’s mother. While Blanca had raised Paul and Buster Murdaugh and was fond of Maggie, Shelly was immensely faithful to the Murdaugh family. But both of them showed an act of great courage and honesty during the trial by providing solid testimony against Alex. Shelly fearlessly testified that Alex had stayed only 20 minutes at his mother’s place before heading to his residence. Thereby, the testimony that Alex provided regarding the 45-minute stay at his mother’s place and not being there while Paul and Maggie were murdered was proved to be false.
Alex desperately wanted to prove his innocence after becoming a suspect in the case and being interrogated by an officer from SLED. He took the assistance of his cousin, Eddie Curtis Smith, asking him to shoot him to make it look like someone had attempted to kill him. The documentary did a great job by directly interviewing Eddie Curtis Smith, who confessed on an international television screen that it was Alex who had asked him to make the pretense of shooting him. This had already presented strong enough evidence against Alex. If he were truly innocent, he wouldn’t have resorted to such deception.
Eventually, another piece of evidence surfaced that left no room for Alex to prove his innocence. On the night prior to his murder, Paul was taking care of his friend and neighbor Rogan Gibson’s puppy, Cash. At 8.44 PM, just a few minutes before Paul and Maggie’s murder, Paul had filmed a video of Cash. This video was presented in court, and not only Paul or Maggie’s voices but also Alex’s voice calling their dog were heard. Therefore, this one piece of evidence managed to nullify all the claims that Alex made regarding his stay at his mother’s place and his absence while his family was killed. Even after all of this, Alex made a last attempt to say his piece in court, claiming that he weaved a web of lies to protect himself. But this evidence was enough to get him imprisoned. Though it was uncertain exactly why Alex killed his family, it was certain from the onset of the investigation that Alex was more concerned about saving his own image than trying to find the murderer of his family. Finally, on March 20, 2023, the court declared him guilty, and Alex was given a life sentence. Buster Murdaugh broke down in tears, as it was indeed an emotional moment for the family. However, it brings us relief that, despite having a lot of power and wealth, Alex was not able to escape this time and finally ended up behind bars.
The second season of Murdaugh Murders seemed promising, as we thought we would get a broader insight into the Murdaugh trial; however, the second season, despite being a documentary with a compelling murder mystery, failed to satisfy us. A lot of repetitive information and unnecessary details completely ruined the show’s intrigue, which we experienced in season 1. Even at the end of season 2, the mystery of the Murdaugh murder is not over, leaving us with a pinch of mystery that remains unexplained. Was the murder committed solely by Alex Murdaugh, or did he enlist the help of someone? This will only be revealed if the investigation continues and Alex Murdaugh ever opens up. It seemed the makers of the documentary focused on making it a docu-franchise rather than giving us the full details of the murder mystery in one go. Although season 2 of Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal was brought to a conclusion by Alex Murdaugh’s arrest and imprisonment, we can anticipate the renewal of another season delving deeper into the aftermath of Alex Murdaugh’s incarceration.