Judge delivers harsh truths to Alex Murdaugh during sentencing
WALTERBORO, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Judge Clifton Newman, who presided over the murder trial of Alex Murdaugh for six weeks, had strong words for the convicted killer during his sentencing hearing on Friday. He called it one of the most troubling cases in his career.
Newman highlighted the role the Murdaugh family, a line of solicitors and attorneys, played in running the legal system in the community for nearly a century. A portrait of Murdaugh’s grandfather had to be removed from the Colleton County Courthouse for his trial.
“As I sit here in this courtroom and look around the many portraits of judges and other court officials and reflect on the fact that in the past century, your family - including you - have been prosecuting people here in this courtroom,” Newman said. “And many have received the death penalty, probably for lesser conduct.”
Despite admitting to numerous lies, Murdaugh once again denied killing wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and youngest son Paul Murdaugh, 22, in June 2021.
“I’m innocent,” Murdaugh insisted. “I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife Maggie and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son Pau Pau.”
“And it might not have been you,” said Newman. “It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person.”
Newman asked Murdaugh what he meant by a “tangled web we weave” when he testified in his own defense.
“I meant when I lied, I continued to lie,” Murdaugh said.
“And the question is, when will it end?” Newman asked. “It’s ended already for the jury because they’ve concluded that you continued to lie and lie throughout your testimony.”
The judge told Murdaugh he may be able to convince himself of his innocence, but he was unable to convince anyone else.
He gave Murdaugh the maximum sentence of two consecutive terms of life in prison. Murdaugh’s defense said the state did not offer him any kind of plea deal.
“I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the nighttimes when you’re attempting to go to sleep. I’m sure they come and visit you,” Newman said to Murdaugh. “You had such a lovely family.”
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