Becky Hill, the clerk of court accused of jury tampering in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial, is under criminal investigation by SLED, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, officials said.
Hill is being investigated for her alleged interactions with the jury during the Murdaugh trial. SLED opened a second investigation into accusations that Hill used her elected position for personal financial gain.
A jury took less than three hours to convict Murdaugh of killing his wife, Maggie, 52, and his son, Paul, 19 in June 2021. He is serving two consecutive life sentences in a South Carolina prison.
According to media reports, new allegations have surfaced that Hill paid herself a bonus from federal child support funds totaling more than $15,000 over a two-year period. She also allegedly gave her staff bonuses with those federal funds.
The financial wrongdoing allegations came out after several media outlets filed Freedom of Information Act requests for information about Hill.
Alleged Jury Tampering
SLED is also investigating Hill for allegations that she had inappropriate interactions with the jury during the trial. Murdaugh’s defense team in September filed a motion asking for a new trial. They accuse Hill of jury tampering in order to assure a guilty verdict.
Soon after Hill’s book about the trial, “Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders,” came out in August, she was thrust into a firestorm of accusations by the defense.
Also, there are ethics complaints reported to the South Carolina Ethics Commission against Hill. Those focus on allegations of misusing her position as clerk of court to write a book about the trial.
Hill has denied the allegations against her.
Recently, Hill’s co-author, Neil Gordon, learned that she plagiarized part of her book.
Gordon said he discovered the plagiarism after the release of 2,100 pages of emails from Hill’s Colleton County email account.
A BBC reporter, Holly Honderich, who attended the Murdaugh trial and met Hill, wrote a draft of a detailed article about the trial. Honderich accidentally emailed it to Hill instead of her editor, also named Rebecca. When the reporter realized her mistake, she emailed Hill asking her to delete the email, explaining the error.
Hill said she would delete the email but apparently she didn’t. Instead, she lifted part of Honderich’s article for the preface of her book.
Gordon said he asked Hill about the plagiarism, and she admitted that she did so, citing deadline pressure to complete the book. When he found out, Gordon ceased publication of the book on Dec. 22. However, he recently found out sales of the book were continuing. Another 900 copies have been sold. A total of 15,000 copies of the book has been sold, Gordon said.
Gordon said he receives $2.50 per book in royalties. He added that he will give his earnings from the 900 copies sold to charities.
Separately, in November, Becky’s son, the former Colleton County technology director, Jeffrey Colton Hill, 34, was arrested on a felony warrant for wiretapping. He is accused of snooping on a Colleton County supervisor while at work.