In preparation for the fifth week of Richard “Alex” Murdaugh’s double murder trial in Walterboro, South Carolina, Netflix released its three-part documentary, Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal, on Wednesday. In the project, directed by Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst, the team behind Amazon’s “LuLaRich” and Netflix’s “The Pharmacist,” scandals and criminal accusations surround the disbarred attorney and the fall of his disgraced family dynasty.
According to Gannett/USA TODAY Network journalist Michael DeWitt Jr., who has been covering the Murdaughs for years, what you need to know before you watch “Murdaugh Murders” is this: “For over a century, the Murdaughs have been law and order in the 14th Circuit.”.
In contrast to other true-crime documentaries on the Murdaugh saga, Netflix’s series focuses on the fatal boat crash in February 2019 involving Murdaugh’s youngest son, Paul; the unsolved 2015 murder of Hampton County teenager Stephen Smith, which state police have linked to the Murdaugh family; and the June 2021 murder of Paul and Maggie, for which Alex Murdaugh was charged, along with over 100 other crimes.
As one of South Carolina’s most prominent families, the Murdaughs began unraveling their legacy when Mallory Beach died in a boating accident after being drunk. Two years after the crash, Paul Murdaugh, the alleged boat driver, and his mother Maggie were discovered brutally murdered, which revealed a century of corruption, power, and cover-ups.
The third episode of the docuseries presents evidence that Alex Murdaugh was not at home at the time of Paul and Maggie’s deaths. The presence of high-velocity impact spatter on Murdaugh’s clothes indicates that he was with one of the victims at the time of their death. And a video taken at 8:44 p.m. on Paul’s phone captures Alex Murdaugh’s voice about 15 minutes before the murders are thought to have occurred. While this does not prove Murdaugh is responsible, it does dispute his account of the evening.
Buster, nicknamed after his great-grandfather, the former longtime 14th Circuit Solicitor, explained that June 7, 2021, was just another normal day with normal conversations and text messages between family members until his dad called him at 10:30 that night and told him his mother and brother were shot and killed. As a result of the deposition in that trial, Alex Murdaugh must now face more than 100 other criminal charges. The trial date and location for these cases have not yet been determined.