South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh was denied bond on Tuesday, amid allegations that he misappropriated settlement funds related to the 2018 death of his longtime housekeeper.
According to the Island Packet, Judge Clifton Newman also ordered Murdaugh, 53, to undergo a psychiatric evaluation as a condition of another bond hearing, which will be determined at a later date. Prosecutor Eric Bland told the court that he is skeptical Murdaugh had a 20-year addiction to opioids, and Bland’s law partner alleged Murdaugh stole $3.4 million from the two sons of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, 57.
Prosecutors also alleged during Tuesday’s court hearing that Murdaugh assigned his affairs to his surviving son and sold property and a boat to hide assets as he faces three civil lawsuits, according to CBS News.
Satterfield died in 2018, after falling on Murdaugh’s property. In September of this year, her sons filed a lawsuit accusing Murdaugh, attorney Corey Fleming, and Hampton banker Chad Westendorf of stealing $4 million from their late mother’s estate, which included payouts from a wrongful death settlement.
Murdaugh was rearrested in Florida last week, after leaving rehab. He was then extradited to South Carolina to face felony charges in Satterfield’s case.
Murdaugh was first arrested on September 16, weeks after he allegedly hired ex-client Curtis Smith, 61, to fatally shoot him so Murdaugh’s surviving son would receive a $10 million life insurance payout.
On September 4, Murdaugh, 53, called 911 from Hampton County, claiming someone had shot him in the head. A day before the shooting, Murdaugh was forced out of his family law firm amid allegations he misappropriated funds. He announced he was entering rehabilitation for drugs two days after the shooting.
Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud in connection with the September 4 shooting, while Smith was charged with assisted suicide, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and insurance fraud. Smith has denied involvement in the apparent suicide-for-hire plot. Both men were eventually freed on bond.
The disgraced lawyer allegedly devised the suicide plot following the murders of his wife and son, Maggie and Paul, 52 and 22. On June 7, Alex Murdaugh called 911 claiming he discovered Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, 52 and 22, fatally shot near some dog kennels on their 1,770-acre estate in Colleton County.
No arrests have been made in connection with Paul and Maggie Murdaugh’s murders.
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[Featured image: Alex Murdaugh/Orange County Sheriff’s Office]