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March 2, 2023

Sentencing scheduled for morning after jury convicts Alex Murdaugh of murdering his wife and son ... UPDATE: Life sentences imposed

For whatever reasons, I have not been enthralled by the Murdaugh saga and trial in South Carolina.  But, after a swift set of guilty verdicts from the jury tonight, I am intrigued to see the sentencing unfold.  But, this AP article details, it seems that sentencing will unfold Friday morning:

Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder Thursday in the shooting deaths of his wife and son in a case that chronicled the unraveling of a powerful Southern family with tales of privilege, greed and addiction.

The jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Murdaugh guilty of two counts of murder at the end of a six-week trial that pulled back the curtain on the once-prominent lawyer’s fall from grace.

Murdaugh, 54, faces 30 years to life in prison without parole for each murder charge when court is scheduled to reconvene for sentencing at 9:30 a.m. Friday.

I saw another press piece indicating that prosecutors will be seeking LWOP sentences. Given that Murdaugh is 54 years old, the 30-year minimum that is applicable is almost a functional life term.

Any predictions?

UPDATEAs reported in this local article, headlined "Judge sentences Alex Murdaugh to 2 consecutive life sentences for the murders of his wife and son," apparently Murdaugh will not get out of prison even if he comes back to life after he dies while serving the first of his life sentence.  I am not quite sure how to otherwise understand the concept of "consecutive" life sentences, but maybe there is something notable in South Carolina sentencing law that makes it sensible to impose multiple life sentences consecutively.

March 2, 2023 at 10:02 PM | Permalink


Given the facts of this case, and that the victims are his wife and son, I think this Judge will max Alex out and give him life without the possibility of parole.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Mar 2, 2023 10:27:41 PM

Jim Gormley --

And then lied about it stem to stern. I agree, he gets maxed.

There has to be a good chance his defense lawyer knew he was lying stem to stern, but conducted a detailed direct examination anyway. This might or might not be ethical, but, hey look, truth, lies, whatever! Only Puritans would want lawyers to have at least a minimal regard for truth.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 2, 2023 11:08:53 PM

Reading the judge, he said the evidence of guilt is “overwhelming.” That would lead me to believe LWOP, although most here wouldn’t want more than 20 for a double murder.

Posted by: TarlsQtr | Mar 2, 2023 11:38:29 PM

I don't see him getting less than 60. I would be a little surprised if he's given 30 years in total, he is rich after all.

Posted by: Anon | Mar 3, 2023 1:20:25 AM

Hammer gonna get dropped. This should have been a DP case.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 3, 2023 8:49:46 AM

I don't know if a natural life sentence in South Carolina is life with parole or life without parole. If it is life with parole, then consecutive may impact parole eligibility. If not, I can still see a judge wanting to say that the penalty for the second murder is in addition to the penalty for the first murder even if it makes no practical difference.

Posted by: tmm | Mar 3, 2023 10:43:09 AM

Doug: some of it is just redundant, and the mandatory minimum cannot be ignored--as a practical matter, you do it in case one of the convictions is tossed.

Posted by: federalist | Mar 3, 2023 12:01:49 PM

Assuming conviction/adjudication, this will be an interesting sentencing case:


Posted by: federalist | Mar 3, 2023 12:20:46 PM

Anon --

"I don't see him getting less than 60. I would be a little surprised if he's given 30 years in total, he is rich after all."

I guess that didn't age too well -- not that it made much sense the minute you wrote it, either.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Mar 3, 2023 2:09:11 PM

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