Alex Murdaugh, a disgraced ex-lawyer, was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife and son in a case that shocked the United States.
The hearing in South Carolina came one day after a jury convicted the 54-year-old in less than three hours.
On June 7, 2021, Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were shot at close range on their family estate.
Prosecutors claimed he murdered his wife and son to draw attention away from his financial crimes and gain sympathy.
Judge Clifton Newman called the case “one of the most troubling” he had seen and noted Murdaugh’s past “as a well-known member of the legal community”.
“You’ve practiced law before me, and we’ve seen each other on various occasions over the years,” he said, calling Murdaugh’s arrest and prosecution “especially heartbreaking for me” more than a year after the murders.
Alex Murdaugh led a legal dynasty that had occupied a powerful position for decades – the jurisdiction was dubbed “Murdaugh Country” by some.
Judge Newman said he understood the state’s decision not to seek the death penalty, but that Murdaugh’s family had people executed for less.
“Your family, including you, have been prosecuting people in this courtroom, and many have received the death penalty, most likely for lesser offenses,” he said.
After a six-week trial, the disbarred attorney was found guilty on two counts of murder.
During the trial, investigators revealed how Murdaugh stole nearly $9 million from clients to fund his painkiller addiction and lavish lifestyle.
Murdaugh spoke briefly twice during Friday’s sentencing to maintain his innocence. His attorneys stated that he would file an appeal against the life sentences within 10 days.