March 9 (Reuters) – Richard “Alex” Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer convicted last week of murdering his wife and son, appealed his conviction and life sentence on Thursday, according to court records.
Murdaugh, 54, a member of a powerful South Carolina family, was found guilty on March 2 on two counts of shooting his wife Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, 22, on their family estate on June 7, 2021.
Attorneys for Murdaugh, who prosecutors said carried out the murders as part of an attempt to hide a drug addiction and theft of millions of dollars, filed a notice of appeal before the state’s appeals court.
Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman on March 3 sentenced Murdaugh to prison for the remainder of his life, with terms for both murders to run consecutively. It was the sentence requested by prosecutors, who did not seek the death penalty.
The scion of an influential legal family in an area west of Charleston, Murdaugh had faced a minimum of 30 years in prison for each of the two counts of murder under South Carolina law, as well as up to 10 years for two related firearms charges.
For decades until 2006, Murdaugh family members served as the leading prosecutor in the area, and Murdaugh was a prominent personal injury attorney in the state.
Murdaugh has maintained his innocence.
During his trial, prosecutors said Murdaugh fatally shot his wife and son to distract from an array of financial misdeeds, including the theft of millions of dollars from his law partners and clients, money used to feed a years-long addiction to opioids and support an expensive lifestyle.
Murdaugh’s lawyers tried to paint their client as a loving family man who, while facing financial difficulties and a drug addiction, would never harm his wife and child.
Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by David Gregorio
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