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The Murdaugh Family's Road Has Been Bumpy for Years

The 'WSJ' dives into the unraveling of the South Carolina family
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2021 2:32 PM CDT
The Murdaugh Saga Is a Tough One to Keep Track Of
Alex Murdaugh sits during his bond hearing Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, SC.   (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

(Newser) – Alex Murdaugh's fall from grace has been well-documented, and the Wall Street Journal adds to that pile. A lengthy piece by Valerie Bauerlein delves into the "unraveling of the Murdaugh dynasty," as the headline reads, and while some of the article trods familiar ground, it provides a cohesive summary of a storied family whose current state is anything but cohesive. Murdaugh, of course, is the 53-year-old South Carolina lawyer whose wife and younger son Paul were murdered in June, which allegedly worsened his 20-year-long opioid addiction, which allegedly contributed to him embezzling millions from his law firm, which allegedly led to him hiring someone to kill him so his surviving adult son could collect his life insurance policy (it didn't work; he's alive). But those are only some of the threads.

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Bauerlein details more of what happened the 2019 night 19-year-old Mallory Beach died when Murdaugh's boat, driven by Paul, crashed. The then-college student was home to visit his sometimes-girlfriend Morgan Doughty, and on the evening of Feb. 23, 2019, the two of them went boating with two other couples; Paul allegedly used his older brother's ID to buy booze. Lacking lights, they used a flashlight to navigate. Paul was allegedly behind the wheel the entire time, with the exception of when they docked to do shots and when he got in a nasty fight with Doughty, who told police Paul hit her. A 2:20am crash sent Beach, and others, into the water. Her body was found a week later. Murdaugh repeatedly refused the Beach family lawyer's demands to hand over his financial statements, reportedly maintaining that he didn't have money for them to obtain. Murdaugh was also sued by his insurance company, which said it didn't have to pay as much as $6 million over the crash because Paul wasn't covered by the policy. A judge just ruled in the insurer's favor. (Read the full story.)

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