Alex Murdaugh Is Sentenced One Final Time

Convicted murderer racks up another 40 years in prison for stealing from clients, law firm
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 1, 2024 10:51 AM CDT
Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to Another 40 Years
Alex Murdaugh, convicted of killing his wife, Maggie, and son Paul in June 2021, stands with his defense team during a hearing on a motion for a retrial on Jan. 16 at the Richland County Judicial Center in Columbia, South Carolina.   (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP, Pool)

For maybe the last time, Alex Murdaugh, in a prison jumpsuit instead of the suit he used to wear, shuffled into a courtroom Monday in South Carolina and was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison. Murdaugh was punished—this time in federal court—for stealing from clients and his law firm, reports the AP. The 55-year-old is already serving a life sentence without parole in a state prison for killing his wife and son. A report by federal agents recommended a prison sentence between 17 1/2 and just under 22 years. The 40-year sentence will be insurance on top of insurance. Along with the life sentence, Murdaugh pleaded guilty and was ordered to spend 27 years in prison in state court on financial crimes charges. The federal sentence will run at the same time as his state prison term, and he likely will have to serve all 40 years if his murder convictions are overturned on appeal.

US District Judge Richard Gergel said he sentenced Murdaugh to a harsher punishment than suggested because Murdaugh stole from "the most needy, vulnerable people. They placed all their problems and all their hopes on Mr. Murdaugh, and it is from those people he abused and stole," Gergel said. The 22 federal counts are the final charges outstanding for Murdaugh, who will also have to pay nearly $9 million in restitution. Murdaugh again apologized to his victims Monday, saying, "There's not enough time and I don't possess a sufficient vocabulary to adequately portray to you in words the magnitude of how I feel about the things I did."

Murdaugh blamed nearly two decades of addiction to opioids for his crimes and said he was proud he has been clean for 937 days. Gergel scoffed at him blaming drugs. "No truly impaired person could pull off these complex transactions," the judge said of the maze of fake accounts, juggled checks, and money passed from one place to another to hide the thefts for nearly 20 years. While Murdaugh has pleaded guilty to dozens of financial crimes, he adamantly denies he killed his younger son, Paul, and wife, Maggie, though he was convicted in their murders a year ago. There will be years of appeals in the murder cases. (More Alex Murdaugh stories.)

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