Bombshell voicemail shows Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son found ‘bags of pills’ one month before murders

‘I am still in EB because when you get here we have to talk. Mom found several bags of pills in your computer bag,’ it says

Rachel Sharp
Friday 17 February 2023 19:20 GMT
Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son discovered ‘bags of pills’ one month before murders

A bombshell voicemail message has revealed that Alex Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul found “bags of pills” in the accused killer’s bag just one month before their murders.

The message, on 6 May 2021, shows Paul confronting his father about the discovery of the drugs – at a time when the disgraced attorney claims he was spending up to $60,000 a week to feed a 20-year opioid addiction.

“I am still in EB because when you get here we have to talk. Mom found several bags of pills in your computer bag,” it says, referring to Edisto Beach, the Murdaugh family’s beach home.

It is not clear whether Mr Murdaugh responded to the message left by his son or if the family members confronted him about the drugs in person.

The message came just over one month before Mr Murdaugh is accused of shooting dead Maggie and Paul by the dog kennels of the family’s sprawling 1,700-acre Moselle estate in Islandton, South Carolina.

Days later on 26 May 2021 – 12 days prior to her murder – Maggie then carried out several internet searches seeking to identify different types of pills.

Among the searches was “white pill 20 on one side rp”, “green gel pill p30”.

The pills appear to be oxycodone and chlordiazepoxide – opiates which Mr Murdaugh was addicted.

Then, on 3 June 2021 – four days before he allegedly killed his wife and son – Mr Murdaugh sent a voicemail to then-Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte asking him for money.

“I need to extend farm credit line another 600k. My dad will sign also if needed. How much turnaround will that take?” he asked.

Once again, it is unclear what came of this conversation but Mr Murdaugh’s father Randolph was in ill health and his condition deterioated on the day of the murders. He was admitted to hospital that day and died on 10 June 2022 – ruling out a possible signature.

Mr Laffitte meanwhile is now also behind bars after being convicted of financial fraud charges in connection to Mr Murdaugh in November. His conviction came on the basis that he was the co-defendant of Mr Murdaugh in his sprawling multi-million-dollar fraud scheme.

Jurors have heard other testimony about the accused killer’s drug abuse, with Mr Murdaugh’s sister-in-law Marian Proctor saying that the family knew about his opioid buse.

The voicemail Paul Murdaugh left for his father one month before the murders
The voicemail Paul Murdaugh left for his father one month before the murders (Law & Crime)

Maggie even nicknamed Paul the “Little Detective” as he kept an eye on his father’s behaviour and opioid use, she told the court.

In September 2021 – days after he was ousted from his law firm for stealing millions of dollars from clients and then orchestrated a botched hitman plot – Mr Murdaugh checked into rehab for his addiction.

In a police phone interview where he confessed to the bizarre hitman plot, he told investigators he was spending up to $60,000 a week on drugs.

But, the voicemails and Maggie’s search history have never before been revealed, marking a bombshell moment as the prosecution wraps up its case in the high-profile murder trial.

Special Agent Peter Rudofski testified in Colleton County Courthouse in South Carolina on Friday as the last witness for the state, telling jurors how his role in the investigation was to put all the data together into a timeline of the murders.

In another dramatic moment for the state, newly-obtained car data placed Mr Murdaugh at the spot where his wife’s phone was later found dumped – before he quickly sped away from the scene.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Special Agent Rudofski revealed that General Motors had contacted law enforcement last week to hand over a trove of data from Mr Murdaugh’s 2021 Chevy Suburban, including never-before-seen speed and GPS data.

This came after another law enforcement official had testified about the movements of the SUV – and in turn what it shows about the movements of Mr Murdaugh and his alibi for the brutal killings.

At 9.07pm on the night of 7 June 2021 – just minutes after he allegedly shot and killed his wife Maggie and son Paul – the disgraced legal dynasty heir left the family home in his 2021 Chevy Suburban, jurors heard.

Alex Murdaugh's defence attorney gets into testy exchange with officer at trial

One minute later, while driving at a speed of 42 mph, his car passed the very spot along Moselle road where Maggie’s cellphone was recovered from the shrubbery the next day.

After passing that spot, his car then picked up speed, reaching 52mph just one minute later at 9.09pm and continuing to go at a high speed all the way to his mother’s house.

“After passing that location, the defendant’s vehicle accelerates,” Special Agent Rudofski testified.

Jurors have previously learned that Maggie’s cellphone was found by investigators one day after the murders, dumped by the side of a road around a quarter of a mile from the Murdaugh property.

Prosecutors claim that Mr Murdaugh took her phone after killing her and Paul and then tossed it out the window of his moving car while driving to his mother’s home to build an alibi for himself.

In previous testimony from SLED Lt Britt Dove, who works in the computer crimes centre, jurors heard how the last orientation change – or movement – on Maggie’s phone was at 9.06pm.

Then, at 9.07pm, the screen had gone on and off as though it was in someone’s hand.

The screen did not come on again until 9.31pm when the phone received an incoming call.

Lt Dove testified that an orientation change can only be recorded if the screen is on, meaning the phone could have been thrown from the car between those times and no change would have registered.

Now, the new car data places Mr Murdaugh at the location of the phone dumping just one minute after the phone was last known to have been handled.

In another bombshell moment, he revealed that less than 20 seconds passed between the moment Mr Murdaugh’s car arrived at the dog kennels and the start of his 911 call where he claimed he found Maggie and Paul’s bodies.

During the 911 call – and in interviews Mr Murdaugh gave in the aftermath of the murders – he claimed he had touched both his wife and son’s bodies to check for signs of life before calling 911.

He also claimed that when he moved Paul, his cellphone “popped out of his pocket”. He said he picked it up but then put it back down on his son.

The data shows that Mr Murdaugh’s car arrived at the kennels at 10.05.57pm, he said.

Mr Murdaugh made the 911 call 10.06.14pm – just 17 seconds after his car pulled into the kennels.

Alex Murdaugh seen in bodycam footage on night of murders
Alex Murdaugh seen in bodycam footage on night of murders (Colleton County Sheriff’s Office)

The dramatic testimony came after jurors heard evidence of the botched hitman plot for the first time on Thursday.

On 4 September 2021 – three months on from the 7 June 2021 murders of Maggie and Paul – the disgraced attorney was ambushed in what he initially claimed was a drive-by shooting along a road in Hampton County.

He checked into rehab the following day.

But, Mr Murdaugh’s story about the roadside shooting soon unravelled and he confessed to law enforcement that he had orchestrated the saga, getting Mr Smith to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.

Both Mr Smith and Mr Murdaugh were arrested and charged over the incident.

Judge Clifton Newman initially ruled that the roadside shooting incident was beyond the scope of the trial before reversing course after Murdaugh’s team opened the door to the testimony.

Jurors heard audio of Mr Murdaugh claiming – first in the 911 call and then in a police interview in hospital on 4 September – that he was ambushed by a “nice-looking” white male, aged 30-40 with facial hair and close-cropped hair.

(SLED)

Jurors then heard audio of a call Mr Murdaugh and his lawyers made to investigators on 13 September 2021 – nine days after the shooting – where he confessed to orchestrating the entire plot with Mr Smith.

In the call, which defence attorney Dick Harpootlian was present at, Mr Murdaugh told the agent he had believed his family would be “better off without him” because he knew his ousting from his law firm and his string of financial crimes were about to come out.

In the audio he also admitted he had spent up to $60,000 a week buying drugs from Mr Smith – using “ill gotten” money – but dismissed any connection between his drug abuse and the murders of his wife and son.

Prosecutors claim that Mr Murdaugh shot dead Maggie and Paul by the dog kennels of the family’s sprawling estate in Islandton, in order to distract from his string of alleged scandals and financial crimes.

His law firm PMPED had begun asking questions about missing payments and Mr Murdaugh’s finances were about to be exposed due to a hearing in the boat crash lawsuit three days on from the murders, the prosecution said.

At the time of the murders, Paul was awaiting trial over the death of Mallory Beach – a 19-year-old woman who died in a 2019 crash in the Murdaugh family boat.

Paul was allegedly drunk driving the boat at the time and crashed it, throwing Beach overboard. Her body washed ashore a week later. Paul was charged with multiple felonies over the boat wreck and was facing 25 years in prison at the time of his murder.

The Beach family sued Mr Murdaugh and a lawsuit hearing was scheduled for 10 June 2021. It was postponed following Maggie and Paul’s murders.

As well as the botched hitman plot and Mr Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes, the brutal double murders also brought to light a series of unexplained deaths.

Days on from the shootings, an investigtion was then reopened into the 2015 death of Stephen Smith, who was found dead in the middle of the road in Hampton County.

The openly gay teenager, 19, had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and his death was officially ruled a hit-and-run. But the victim’s family have long doubted this version of events, with the Murdaugh name cropping up in several police tips and community rumours.

An investigation was also reopened into another mystery death connected to the Murdaugh family – that of the Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

She died in 2018 in a mystery trip and fall accident at the family home. Mr Murdaugh then allegedly stole around $4m in a wrongful death settlement from her sons.

Mr Murdaugh, 54, is facing life in prison for the murders of his wife and son. He has pleaded not guilty.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in