Victim's Family Settles for $15M in Murdaugh Boat Crash

Comes after judge refused to separate chain store, Alex Murdaugh in wrongful death case
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 18, 2023 2:00 AM CDT
Store That Sold Murdaugh's Son Beer Must Pay Up in Boat Crash
Witness Mark Tinsley, attorney for Mallory Beach's family, answers questions during Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse, Feb. 10, 2023, in Walterboro, SC.   (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool, File)

The family of a teen killed in a boat crash, which prosecutors say began the financial downfall of double murderer Alex Murdaugh, has reached a $15 million deal to settle a lawsuit against a convenience store chain that sold Murdaugh's son alcohol while underage, the AP reports. Sunday's deal came after a judge refused to allow the Parker's Kitchen chain to be separated from Murdaugh in a wrongful death trial next month in Hampton County, South Carolina, where Murdaugh was once a powerful and well-known attorney. Murdaugh is serving a life sentence without parole the 2021 killing of his wife and the son involved in the drunken boat crash.

Under South Carolina law, even if the jury found Parker's Kitchen was only 1% responsible, since Murdaugh is now nearly broke, the chain with its deeper pockets would likely have to pay almost the entire settlement. The family's attorney, Mark Tinsley, told media outlets the $15 million settlement that will be paid by the convenience store chain's insurance was sizable enough to show that such stores have to take alcohol laws seriously. The Parker's Kitchen clerk did not stop Paul Murdaugh, then 19, from using his older brother's ID to buy beer, according to an investigation into the crash, which killed Beach and injured three other teens.

Paul Murdaugh was facing a charge of boating under the influence causing death when he was killed at the family's home. The settlement doesn't require Parker's Kitchen to admit responsibility in the case. A lawyer for the stores said owner Greg Parker felt like he had no choice but to settle because Alex Murdaugh and the chain would be tried together in the wrongful death suit. (More details here.)

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