COLUMBIA, S.C. — A judge in South Carolina has denied bond for attorney Alex Murdaugh on the second set of charges he has faced since finding his wife and son dead in June.
Circuit Judge Clifton Newman issued the decision Tuesday after hearing attorneys describe how Murdaugh used portions of $3.4 million in insurance payments to pay his father, personal credit card bills and checks to himself.
The payments were supposed to go to the sons of his longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 a few weeks after falling at the family’s home.
Newman also ordered a psychiatric evaluation for Murdaugh. He said he’ll reconsider his decision after the evaluation.
“I think it’s a good day for justice,” said Eric Bland, an attorney for the Satterfield family.
“I really feel like the court appreciated the weight and gravity of this situation. It was important to demonstrate that influence and power does not create a second tier of justice in this state,” said Ronnie Richter another attorney for the family.
Murdaugh’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian says his client is remorseful and that he is a good law abiding citizen except when he is under the influence of opioids.
“We’re glad that the judge is concerned about his mental condition. And we think we can get a clean, a relatively clean bill of health by the end of this week, early next week,” said Harpootlian.
“It lessens the charge. It lessens the amount of time,” explained Matt Harris.
Harris is a Charlotte area radio host. He also hosts a weekly podcast called The Murdaugh Family Murders: Impact of Influence. He says the defense may be trying to prove that it was the addiction that led to his actions and not a criminal intent.
“It’s a very fine line in the legal world, but there has to be criminal intent and if they can prove there wasn’t, it’s going to help Murdaugh,” said Harris.
Harris says this is likely only the beginning of court cases to follow.
“Who knows how many tentacles could be all over this thing,” said Harris.