Murdaugh Family Murders: Paul’s Brain Had to Be Carried to Autopsy Room in Bucket After Being Killed With Shotgun at Close Range

A pathologist testified on Monday that Paul Murdaugh suffered two shotgun wounds when he was murdered on his family’s property with his mother in 2021.

Dr. Ellen Riemer said the first shot that struck Paul did not kill him but the wadding from that shot was lodged in his chest cavity. His arm was apparently down when he was shot, with the first shot entering his chest and exiting his auxiliary, according to Riemer.

Riemer testified that Paul was still standing when he was shot the second time. That time, he reportedly suffered a gunshot wound to his left shoulder and head that proved fatal.

Though Paul’s face was intact, Riemer revealed that his head was turned toward the left when he was shot the second time. Riemer said the second shot immediately killed him — with his brain being blown out of his head to the point that it was brought to the autopsy room in a bucket.

Additionally, Riemer said Maggie suffered five gunshot wounds from at least four shots. Her injuries are consistent with an assault rifle. The doctor noted a bullet that pierced her abdominal wall and exited the left side of her back. A fourth shot, according to her, was fatal as it struck her brain after entering through her left breast. It reportedly exited at the top of her left shot.

Maggie reportedly had no sign of defensive wounds. Riemer said the only substance Maggie and Paul had in their bodies was caffeine.

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 late housekeeper Gloria Satterfield’s estate. 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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