Alex Murdaugh denied bond for $3M theft charges

On Tuesday, a South Carolina judge denied bond to Alex Murdaugh for the second set charges against him since he discovered his wife and son had died last June.

Alex Murdaugh denied bond for $3M theft charges

After hearing from attorneys, Murdaugh explained how he used $3.4 million in insurance payments for his father's debts and personal credit card bills to pay for checks and other expenses to support himself.

The payments were to be made to his sons by the longtime housekeeper. He died in 2016 after falling at the family home. Judge Murdaugh's unstable mental state and financial resources led to him denying bond. He ordered Murdaugh to undergo a psychiatric assessment and stated that he would reconsider his decision once it is completed. Murdaugh's lawyers requested a personal recognizance bail to allow him to continue drug rehab. Newman declined.

Murdaugh is currently out on a personal recognizance bail after being arrested in September for insurance fraud and other charges. Police said that he attempted to arrange his death to ensure his son, who was a survivor, would receive a $10 million policy. Authorities have stated that the would-be fatal shot only grazed Murdaugh's head.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Below is the original story by AP.

COLUMBIA (AP) -- A South Carolina judge said Tuesday that he may keep Alex Murdaugh, a prominent attorney, in jail until his trial for theft of more than $3,000,000 in insurance payments meant to his sons. The charges stem from his death in his home following a fall.

After hearing from the sons of the housekeeper, prosecutors and lawyers, Judge Clifton Newman stated that he would spend 15 minutes weighing whether to set bond.

Newman stated that Murdaugh would have to pay money to be released from jail if Newman allows bond. Murdaugh spent five nights in jail after his second arrest within a month.

Murdaugh's wife and son were killed in an unsolved shooting. He allegedly stole $3.4million of insurance money meant for his sons. According to the State Law Enforcement Division, Murdaugh never had the settlement recorded in court records.

He stole. Eric Bland, an attorney representing the sons, said Tuesday that he was a cheat and a liar.

Creighton Waters, South Carolina Assistant Attorney General, stated that Murdaugh used the money within months and placed it in his personal accounts.

Waters stated that Waters had seen him carrying a $100,000 credit card balance for several months. Waters said, "That gets paid off. He writes his father 300 and maybe a few grand. He writes a check to himself for 610 grand. He writes a check of 125 grand for himself. This family receives not a penny."

Waters requested a $200,000 bond with GPS monitoring. Waters said that Murdaugh's attempt to organize his own death showed that he can become violent and could run away if he chooses. Waters stated that a man who is dangerous to himself is also dangerous to others.

Dick Harpootlian, Murdaugh's lawyer, requested another personal recognizance bail because Murdaugh requires more treatment for his opioid addiction. This has been going on for over a decade.

Harpootlian stated, "He's certainly not going to run." He is not there now. Six weeks of addiction treatment has been completed. He requires more.

Judge said that he was not considering it.

Jim Griffin, Murdaugh's lawyer, said that "Alex Murdaugh, who isn't addicted to drugs, has lived a healthy, productive life -- a law-abiding lifestyle." He truly regrets his actions after he became addicted to opioids.

Murdaugh has been released on recognizance bond in connection to a September arrest for insurance fraud charges. State agents claimed that Murdaugh tried to set up his own shooting death at a roadside, so his son could receive a $10 million policy. He was only wounded by the would-be fatal bullet. On Thursday, he was taken into custody at a drug rehabilitation center in Orlando, Florida and returned to South Carolina.

State police are also investigating the case of the housekeeper who was accused of stealing six-figure insurance. Murdaugh is accused of stealing millions of dollars from his former law firm, which was founded over a century ago by his great-grandfather.

Each count of obtaining property through false pretenses can carry a maximum of 10 years in prison. If convicted, the three felony charges stemming from his botched attempt at arranging his own death could lead to up to 20 years imprisonment.

Murdaugh insists that he did not have anything to do with the deaths of Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, in June. Murdaugh claimed he found them dead at their Colleton County rural home when he returned from work. The state police are not naming any suspects or ruling out anyone, but they have been tight-lipped.

Gloria Satterfield was Murdaugh's housekeeper. She died in February from a stroke, and a heart attack, three weeks after she had been injured in a fall at Murdaugh's home. A coroner ruled that her death was not an autopsy and incorrectly called it "natural".

According to a lawsuit, Murdaugh said that he would help Satterfield's children get insurance settlements for her funeral. He also recommended that they hire Cory Fleming, without telling them Fleming was a friend of their family.

Authorities claim that Murdaugh made more than $4million in payments and then had the checks, minus attorney fees, sent to his bank account.

The sons' lawyer said that they have not received any money from the settlements.

Fleming promised to return all money received to his sons and to pay a specified amount from a Malpractice Insurance policy.

Temporarily, the state Supreme Court suspended both Fleming's and Murdaugh's law licenses.

State police are investigating whether Murdaugh is connected to a hit-and-run 2015 death, and whether Murdaugh or other relatives tried to block the investigation into a boat accident involving Paul Murdaugh in which a 19-year old woman was killed.

For nearly a century, Hampton County's legal community has been dominated by the Murdaugh family. Murdaugh's grandfather, great-grandfather and father were all elected prosecutors. The family also founded and managed a highly regarded law firm that was known for its ability to sue railroads.

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