Murdaugh Family Murders: Dead Housekeeper’s Son Says Alex Offered to ‘Take Care’ of Him & Disabled Brother, But Conned Them Instead

The son of the Murdaughs’ housekeeper — who died in 2018 after suffering a fall on the family’s property — testified on Thursday that he did not get paid despite Alex receiving a multi-million insurance payout for his mother’s death.

Michael Satterfield testified that Alex approached him and his brother, who he described as a “vulnerable adult,” with the promise to “take care” of them after Gloria Satterfield’s death. Alex allegedly told them he could get them $100,000 each by filing a claim against his homeowner’s insurance.

Alex is accused of working with Palmetto State Bank employee Chad Westendorf and fellow attorney Corey Fleming to pocket a multimillion settlement in Gloria’s death. Prosecutors said Alex got a $3.8 million payout from a $5 million umbrella policy. There was reportedly a second settlement for $505,000.

Michael testified that he received none of this money.

Prior to Maggie and Paul’s June 2021 slayings, Michael read news coverage about a settlement in his mother’s case and contacted Alex. Alex allegedly told Michael “we are making progress” in his late mother’s case and denied there was a settlement.

Michael testified last week, but the jury was not present at the time. At that time, Judge Newman was deciding whether he would allow details of Alex’s financial crimes to be presented to a jury.

On Monday, Judge Newman ruled that evidence of Alex’s alleged fraud can be shown. He concluded that Alex’s financial crimes can show evidence of a motive in Maggie and Paul’s 2021 murders, which is not essential but may be crucial in the prosecution proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The state argues that the logical nexus between the murders and other crimes is that the looming exposure of financial crimes provided motive for the murders and is evidence of malice, an essential element of the crime of murder,” the judge said.

Last week, Michael testified that Alex told him that he would help them go after his insurance company — though another attorney would have to formally represent them.

Alex reportedly elicited the help of attorney Cory Fleming. However, Michael testified that Alex appeared to have taken the lead with litigation and he only spoke about the case with Alex.

Alex allegedly told Michael that they would each get a $100,000 payout. Michael said he contacted Alex around the time of Paul and Maggie’s 2021 murders concerning news reports about a settlement. Alex reportedly claimed the case was still ongoing and they would likely get a payout by the year’s end.

Notably, Michael also told the court that his mother was unable to speak following the fall, meaning she was unable to provide details about what transpired that day.

Prosecutors claimed Alex was motivated to kill his wife and son because he wanted to distract from these financial crimes.

Alex is believed to have acted alone in the 2021 slayings, allegedly shooting Maggie with a rifle and killing Paul with a shotgun on their Colleton County family property. He was reportedly filmed driving away from the lodge an hour before he called 911 to report their deaths. He allegedly carried out the double slaying after visiting his mother.

Last week, Colleton County detective Laura Rutland testified that there were no footprints located in the blood near Paul Murdaugh’s body even though Alex claimed he turned him over twice and checked his pulse.

Rutland also testified that she saw no blood on Alex — including on his shoes and hands. During cross-examination, Rutland would not say if, to her, Alex appeared to be the person who had just killed his son on their family’s property.

SLED agent Melinda Worley said she swabbed 10 different areas in Alex’s car and all of them returned presumptive positive results. She said she also photographed a 16-gauge shotgun shell located on the rear floorboard of his vehicle.

Prosecutors said cell phone data and forensic evidence tie Alex to the slayings. Meanwhile, Alex’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, said the cell phone records were incomplete and asserted that Alex would be covered in blood if he killed his wife and son at close range. Harpootlian said no blood was found on Alex’s clothing.

In September 2021, months after Paul and Maggie’s slayings, Alex suffered superficial head wounds when he allegedly had former client Curtis Smith, 61, shoot him in the head so his surviving son, Buster, would receive a $10 million insurance payout.

A day before the shooting, Alex was forced out of his family law firm amid allegations he misappropriated funds.

Two days after the apparent botched suicide, Alex announced he was entering rehabilitation for drugs. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with insurance fraud in connection with the September 2021 suicide-for-hire plot and released on bail.

However, in October 2021, Alex was rearrested upon leaving a rehabilitation center in Florida for allegedly stealing $4.3 million from the estate of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who suffered a fatal fall on his property in February 2018.

In that case, he was accused of stealing insurance payouts that were intended for Satterfield’s family. Authorities plan to exhume her body amid an ongoing investigation regarding her death.

In addition to the murder charges, Alex faces more than 100 criminal counts related to fraud.

In June 2022, Alex and Smith were indicted for allegedly purchasing and distributing oxycodone in multiple counties. In December 2022, Alex was indicted for tax evasion for allegedly failing to claim the $6 million he allegedly earned through illegal acts between 2011 and 2019.

Alex was charged with Maggie and Paul’s murders days after he was formally disbarred by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

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[Featured image: Gloria Satterfield/Handout]