Mr. Murdaugh has since been charged with dozens of financial crimes, with prosecutors accusing him of stealing about $8.8 million in all. He confessed under oath to many of those crimes, including embezzling about $3.7 million in 2019. That’s the same year that his son Paul was charged with drunkenly crashing a boat into a bridge, killing one of his passengers, 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Mr. Murdaugh has maintained that he believed that his son was targeted by an unknown assailant or assailants because of his involvement in the crash.
The prosecution leaned on Murdaugh’s lies to convince the jury not to trust him.
In addition to an array of financial misdeeds, Mr. Murdaugh testified to a longtime addiction to painkillers and a penchant for lying. The prosecution seized on that admission — how readily, and easily, he had lied to the police, his family and friends — in an attempt to convince the jury that he was lying about not having killed his wife and son.
At one point, the lead prosecutor, Creighton Waters, held up a stack of papers relating to clients whom Mr. Murdaugh stole from.
“Every single one of these, you had to sit down and look somebody in the eye and convince them that you were on their side, when you were not, correct?” he asked while looking directly at the jury.
“What I admit is I misled them, I did wrong, and that I stole their money,” Mr. Murdaugh responded.
In turn, Mr. Murdaugh’s lawyers portrayed his acknowledgment of his lies as a willingness to come clean — that he recognized his shortcomings, but had never been violent and would never have carried out the murders.
Surviving relatives were among Murdaugh’s most ardent defenders — to a point.
Friends and relatives said Mr. Murdaugh was devastated by the killings, with his brother John Marvin Murdaugh testifying that he “would have to create a new word to describe how distraught he was.”