A mother and son of a powerful South Carolina legal family were shot several times on 7 June before they died.
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey said on Monday that Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother Maggie, 52, died between 9 and 9.30pm. They were both found near a dog kennel outside their home, located in the southern part of the state.
The investigation into the double homicide has gained national attention as the victims are members of a “powerhouse” legal family in South Carolina with three generations of state prosecutors. The family has practised law in and around Hampton County for more than 100 years and have built a “legal empire on personal injury lawsuits”, The Island Packet writes.
Mr Harvey declined to answer further questions about the results of the autopsies. He added that the state’s Law Enforcement Division, who is leading the investigation, would release any further information.
Division spokesperson Tommy Crosby also declined to add anything to the case on Monday, but he did say that the Division is “in contact” with the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, adding that it’s “not unheard of that [the agency] would be communicating” with the solicitor.
Back in 2019, on the day following a boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach near Parris Island in South Carolina, Duffie Stone, the solicitor in the 14th circuit, asked the state’s Attorney General Alan Wilson to reassign the case if charges were filed because three of those who were on the boat were related to employees of Mr Stone’s office.
When he died, Paul Murdaugh was facing three felony charges in relation to the boat crash that killed Ms Beach. Paul’s father, Alex Murdaugh, serves as a part-time prosecutor for the 14th Judicial Circuit. The office of the South Carolina Attorney General has said that the charges will be dropped because of Paul Murdaugh’s death, but that the investigation will stay open.
Four weeks after the boat crash that killed Ms Beach, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office asked to be recused from the investigation as well, because they had a “long-standing relationship” with a solicitor on the case.
Law enforcement officials have remained tight-lipped, but sources have told reporters that Paul Murdaugh was shot with a shotgun while Maggie Murdaugh was shot with an assault rifle. The release of the autopsy results is expected to either confirm or reject those assertions, The State reported.