14.04.2024

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh loses prison privileges over recorded phone call for documentary

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has lost some of his prison privileges after he fed information to a Fox Nation documentary without the permission of South Carolina prison officials.

South Carolina Corrections Department officials said on Wednesday that, during a jailhouse phone call back on 10 June, Murdaugh’s lawyer Jim Griffin had recorded him reading aloud entries from the journal he had kept during his double murder trial.

Mr Griffin had then handed over the recordings to producers working on the new Fox Nation documentary about his high-profile case titled “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh”, released today.

Prison policy prohibits inmates from talking to the media without permission because the agency “believes that victims of crime should not have to see or hear the person who victimized them or their family member on the news,” state prisons spokesperson Chrysti Shain said in a statement.

The media interview violation, along with another violation for using a different inmate’s password to make a telephone call, are prison discipline issues and not a crime, Ms Shain said.

As a result, the disgraced legal scion has had his phone privileges revoked and his prison tablet computer confiscated.

Murdaugh also lost his ability to buy items in the prison canteen for a month.

He will now have to get permission from prison officials to get another tablet, which can be used to make monitored phone calls, watch approved entertainment, read books or take video classes, the prison spokesperson said.

Mr Griffin was also issued a warning from prison officials that if he knowingly or unknowingly helps Murdaugh violate rules again, he could lose his ability to talk to his client.

Phone calls between lawyers and prisoners are not recorded or reviewed because their conversations are considered confidential.

But prison officials said they began investigating Murdaugh after a warden reviewing other phone calls heard Murdaugh’s voice on a call made in a different inmate’s account.

Murdaugh claimed that his phone password had not been working. He also told the prison investigators about the recorded journal entries, according to prison records.

Murdaugh’s use of a jailhouse tablet previously hit headlines when selfie images he took on the device were obtained in a Freedom of Information request by FITS News.

In many of the images, the convicted family killer appeared topless.

South Carolina prison officials later clarified that the photos are automatically taken as an inmate uses their tablet that is individually assigned to them – as part of inmate monitoring.

Now, Murdaugh has lost the use of his tablet indefinitely due to his unauthorised communication with the documentarymakers – which marks his first media interview of sorts since his conviction.

His eldest – and now only surviving – son Buster Murdaugh has also broken his silence speaking out in his first TV interview in the three-part series.

In the interview, Buster insisted that he still believes his father is innocent of the murders of his mother and brother – but admitted that he may be a psychopath.

Maggie and Paul were found shot dead on the family’s 1,700-acre Moselle estate back on 7 June 2021. Alex Murdaugh had called 911 claiming to have found their bodies.

During his high-profile murder trial, jurors heard how Paul was shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun while he stood in the feed room of the dog kennels on the affluent family’s 1,700-acre Moselle estate. The second shot to his head blew his brain almost entirely out of his skull.

After killing Paul, prosecutors said Murdaugh then grabbed a .300 Blackout semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on Maggie as she tried to flee from her husband.

Following the dramatic six-week trial – in which Murdaugh confessed to lying about his alibi on the night of the murders – the disgraced legal scion was convicted in March of the brutal murders.

When Buster was asked in the documentary if he ever thought it possible that his father might have killed their loved ones, he insisted no.

“No, because I think that I hold a very unique perspective that nobody else in that courtroom ever held. And I know the love that I have witnessed,” he said.

The 29-year-old went on to say that he thinks there are a lot of questions that still need to be answered about the murders.

“My biggest thing that I want people to realise, that there are always two sides of the story. Now, they can pick which one they want to believe,” he said.

“But I think there’s a heck of a lot that still needs to be answered about what happened on June the 7th.”

He said that prosecutors presented a “crappy motive” and that the case was not “fair”.

“I do not believe it was fair,” he said. “I was there for six weeks studying it, and I think it was a tilted table from the beginning.

“And I think, unfortunately, a lot of the jurors felt that way prior to when they had to deliberate. It was predetermined in their minds prior to when they ever heard any shred of evidence that was given in that room.”

Now, with his father behind bars, he said he fears that the real killer is still walking free.

“I think I set myself up to be safe but yes, when I go to bed at night, I have a fear that there is somebody that is still out there,” Buster added.

Throughout the high-profile murder trial, Buster stood by his father, attending each day of the court’s proceedings with his family members.

Buster also testified in his father’s defence saying that Murdaugh had been “destroyed” and “heartbroken” in the aftermath of the deaths of his mother and brother.

But despite continuing to insist his father’s innocence even now, Buster did not deny that his father may be a psychopath.

“I’m not prepared to sit here and say that it encompasses him as a whole, but I certainly think there are characteristics where you look at the manipulation and the lies and the carrying out of that such, and I think that’s a fair assessment,” he said.

Murdaugh, 55, was sentenced to life in prison for the murders and is serving his time in the maximum security facility McCormick Correctional Institution in South Carolina.

He is also facing a slew of financial fraud charges for stealing millions of dollars from his law firm clients and his dead housekeeper’s family.

He is expected to plead guilty on 21 September to federal charges – marking the first time he has pleaded guilty to a crime in court.

Murdaugh is also facing around 100 financial charges in state court as well as charges over a botched hitman plot where he claims he paid an accomplice to shoot him dead.

Murdaugh’s high-profile conviction also shone a spotlight on some other mystery deaths tied to the South Carolina legal dynasty.

Following Maggie and Paul’s murders, investigations were reopened into the 2018 death of the Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield and the 2015 homicide of gay teenager Stephen Smith.

Meanwhile, at the time of his murder, Paul was also awaiting trial for the 2019 boat crash death of Mallory Beach.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *