Murdaugh murders: Judge SC maintains local Mallory Beach case after lawmakers’ controversial decision to join defense

A South Carolina judge has dismissed a lawsuit over the 2019 boating accident death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, outside of Hampton County, over controversy over the family’s political influence Murdaugh also shed light on a state lawmaker’s decision to join the defense team.

South Carolina 16th Circuit Judge Daniel D. Hall dismissed a motion to change location, ruling that accused Greg Parker, CEO of Parker Convenience Stores, had not presented sufficient evidence that the change of location “Would promote the convenience of witnesses and the end of justice”. the decision filed in Hampton County Common Plea Court Friday. The plaintiff, Beach’s mother, Renee Beach, along with the other two defendants, Alex Murdaugh and her son, Buster Murdaugh, are all from Hampton County and had opposed the change of venue.

Alex Murdaugh’s youngest son Paul Murdaugh was seen in surveillance footage buying alcohol at a Parker’s convenience store in Ridgeland, South Carolina, allegedly using ID belonging to his older brother, Buster Murdaugh, on February 24, 2019 and a credit card belonging to his mother, Maggie Murdaugh.

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Later that night, investigators found additional surveillance footage showing Paul and others again shopping for alcohol at Luther’s Rare & Well Done in Beaufort County. A drunkard and miner Paul Murdaugh then allegedly plowed his father’s boat in Archer’s Creek Bridge near Parris Island, throwing several passengers into the water, including Mallory Beach, whose bodies were not found until a week later.

Before the petition was ultimately dismissed, State Representative Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, who was recently hired as one of Parker’s defense attorneys, argued in court that the venue should move. in Beaufort County, where the boat accident occurred and where more than 60 potential witnesses live.

Smith told reporters outside the Lexington County Courthouse on Wednesday that there was no conflict of interest for him to join the case.

But Smith is chairman of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission, which decides which candidates can run for election or re-election, the Post and Courier reported. Judge Hall’s six-year term is due to expire next year, and if he chooses to be re-elected, his candidacy must be approved by Smith and other members of the panel of attorneys who vet judicial candidates, reported The Herald. Hall is the only circuit judge who would oppose re-election, as York County fairness master Teasa Weaver is contesting the $ 196,000-a-year position.

“I’m here to do my job,” Smith told reporters outside the courthouse, according to the Herald. “I am not here as a legislator. I am here as a lawyer.”

“I deal with complex and difficult cases, especially in rural areas of the state,” he continued, justifying his decision to get involved in the case. “I’ve done this for the past 10 years, and I’m used to getting defense verdicts in areas of this state that probably don’t see defense verdicts. They were looking to add to it. the team, so they called me and added me. “

After arguing that several witnesses Smith called were not essential to the trial, Beach attorney Mark Tinsley also filed several motions, including for medical records belonging to Alex Murdaugh, who was released on bail. last month and allowed to go to an outside of a public rehabilitation center without GPS monitoring to treat an alleged opioid addiction.

During his bail hearing, Alex Murdaugh’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, said his client’s decades-long addiction had worsened since the murders of his wife, Maggie, and their son, Paul , June 7. Alex Murdaugh dialed 911 to report his return home to find the two were shot dead at the family’s hunting estate in Colleton County. No one was named as a suspect or arrested in the double homicide.

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Murdaugh is accused of hiring another man to kill him on Labor Day weekend, so his surviving son, Buster, could get a $ 10 million life insurance policy. But the shooter would have missed, grazing only Alex Murdaugh’s head. Tinsley cited records from the Savannah hospital where Alex Murdaugh was taken after the September 4 shooting, The Herald reported.

In a separate civil lawsuit filed last month, one of the surviving passengers of the boat crash, Connor Cook, alleges that Alex Murdaugh sought him and other passengers from the hospital after the accident in February 2019 in an attempt to control the narrative, telling the teenager to have his fractured jaw x-ray “to keep his mouth shut”. The lawsuit says Alex Murdaugh later launched a “whispering campaign” to trick Connor Cook into spreading the false rumor that Cook, and not Paul, was operating the boat when it crashed.

The South Carolina attorney general’s office dropped influence boating charges against Paul Murdaugh after his death in June, WSAV reported.

About Tommy Dodd

Tommy Dodd

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