Alex Murdaugh had likely planned to kill his wife Maggie as early as December 2020 to keep his financial crimes secret, according to Attorney Mark Tinsley.
When Alex Murdaugh was sued over the 2019 boat crash that claimed the life of Mallory Beach, he had the opportunity to keep Maggie out of the lawsuit, but he chose not to.
Boat Crash and Wrongful Death Lawsuit
On Feb. 24, 2019, Alex and Maggie’s son, Paul, who was underage, spent hours drinking alcohol before he drove his parents’ boat at a high rate of speed into a bridge, killing Beach and injuring the others also on board. Paul faced criminal charges from the tragic incident.
Tinsley represents the Beach family in their wrongful death lawsuit against the Murdaughs.
“One of the first things I did when I got involved in the case was I went to Maggie’s Facebook [page] which had picture and video after picture and video of Paul with alcohol,” Tinsley told The Interview Room. “Paul in the boat with alcohol; Paul loading the coolers; Paul sitting on the sandbar with beer between his legs. Paul with Morgan [his former girlfriend] with Alex and Maggie at their house, and he’s got a beer in his hand. And videos from out to dinner. And these were photographs that [Maggie] had liked and clicked on. So, there wasn’t any question had she seen them, she liked them….Those photographs clearly documented that Maggie knew about Paul’s drinking.”
Tinsley captured the Facebook likes in screen shots and showed them to Murdaugh’s attorney at the time John Tiller. In November 2020, Tinsley he sent Tiller a request to admit, which is part of the discovery process in a civil case. Tinsley did so to “admit that everything that Maggie knew, that all of the things that by then had been sanitized from her FB account, were imputed to [Alex] for purposes of liability,” he said.
Alex Could Have Kept Maggie From Being Sued
What Tinsley was doing was extending an “olive branch” to Alex because he knew that Maggie was upset about the boat crash case and lawsuit. “So, here’s a way to protect your wife, this person that you love more than anything, to keep her from being sued,” Tinsley said.
But a month later, in December 2020, Alex Murdaugh denied the request, which resulted in Tinsley having to eventually sue Maggie to get the Facebook evidence admitted in the lawsuit. Since Maggie was killed in June 2021 before Tinsley could sue her, he ultimately later sued her estate since Alex was the beneficiary, and they were hiding and liquidating his assets.
“It was shocking to me. And it wasn’t until after the murders that I really put two and two together why he would do that,” Tinsley said. “I think in December 2020, the denial of those requests to admit indicated that he was already contemplating [murder]. So, when he told Maggie’s sister [Marion Proctor], ‘Whoever did this had been planning for a long time,’ I think he told the truth then.”
Planned for a long time
During Alex’s double murder trial, Proctor testified for the prosecution about a “disturbing” conversation she had with Alex after Maggie’s murder. She had asked Alex if Maggie had suffered after she was shot, and Alex told her no. He eerily added that “whoever did this had been planning for a long time.”
On June 7, 2021, Alex shot and killed Paul and Maggie in the dog kennels of their sprawling hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina. In March, it took a jury less than three hours to convict Alex, the disgraced and disbarred attorney, who came from a once prominent family that ran the solicitor’s office in Hampton County for 100 years.
Prosecutors said the boat crash lawsuit precipitated Murdaugh’s decision to kill his wife and youngest son as a desperate way to prevent exposing the millions of dollars he embezzled from clients, friends, and family over many years.
The Mallory Beach wrongful death case goes to trial on Aug. 14. Murdaugh, who is serving two consecutive life sentences without parole, is not expected to take the stand in the case. Parker’s Kitchen, the convenience store that sold Paul alcohol the night of the crash, is also being sued in the case. A settlement was reached in January between the Beaches and Maggie’s estate and Buster, Alex’s only surviving son.
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