Millionaire who murdered son with shotgun and wife with rifle jailed for life

A millionaire lawyer was handed two life sentences without parole after he was convicted of murdering his wife and son.

Alex Murdaugh was thrown in jail when a jury found him guilty of shooting his 22-year-old son, Paul, with a shotgun and his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, with a rifle in a fatal attack on June 7, 2021.

Murdaugh will be taken to a state prison in South Carolina, US, where he will be held in the highest security.

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Prosecutor Creighton Waters said during sentencing: "The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes are stunning.

"The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he is, including here, sitting right over there in this witness stand – your honour, a man like that, a man like this man, should never be allowed to be among free, law-abiding citizens."

However, Murdaugh continued to protest his innocence right up until sentencing but admitted stealing millions of dollars from his family's firm and clients to fund his drug habit.

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He told the judge: "I would never hurt my wife Maggie and I would never hurt my son Paul."

None of the victims of the crime, meaning members of Murdaugh's family and his wife's parents and other relatives, spoke in court before sentencing.

A jury deliberated for less than three hours before convicting the lawyer, who was handed his sentence in the same courtroom where his dad, grandad and great-grandad had all tried cases as elected prosecutors.

His grandad's portrait even hung at the back of the courtroom, but the judge asked that it be taken down prior to Murdaugh's hearing.

The court heard how Murdaugh attempted but failed to fake his own death as part of an insurance fraud scheme.

More than 75 witnesses told how Murdaugh had also betrayed his friends and clients and stolen millions of dollars and described a fatal boat crash that his son was implicated with, as well as the story of a housekeeper who died in the lawyer's home in a fall.

Murdaugh had been held in custody since October 2021 on about 100 other charges including insurance fraud and tax evasion before being charged with murder.

The convicted killer resigned from his family's law firm, one of the best-known in South Carolina, in September 2021.

One of Murdaugh's brothers remains at the family law firm.

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