The lawyer for for the family of Gloria Satterfield — the dead housekeeper in South Carolina whose heirs successfully sued her boss, accused murderer Alex Murdaugh — said Friday that Murdaugh is in so much trouble that he might be be better off dead himself.
“I would never advocate anyone committing suicide but in Alex’s case he has ruined so many people’s lives already and there’s so much more coming,” Eric Bland, the Columbia, SC attorney representing the Satterfield family, told The Post.
“This guy has left so many victims in his wake, family members whose lives he’s either destroyed and family members he may have killed, that that’s hard to overestimate the damage. This could all drag on another seven years. Alex is potentially a guy who will go down in history making the name ‘Murdaugh’ synonymous with Madoff, Manson and Ted Bundy.”
Murdaugh, 54 — a fourth-generation lawyer from a powerful legal family — was indicted Thursday on two counts of murder and two counts of weapons possession in the brutal, execution-style shooting deaths of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22.
His wife and son were gunned down near a dog kennel on the family’s 1,700-acre hunting estate in Islandton, SC, with at least two separate guns — a rifle and a shotgun — on June 7, 2021.
The disgraced attorney was tied to the killings via blood spatter on his clothing along with a video that put him at the murder scene, according to reports
The elder Murdaugh called 911 and frantically told a dispatcher he had returned home to find the bullet-riddled bodies of his wife and son.
He’s been in jail, held on a $7 million bond, since October in Richland County on exponentially increasing charges of financial fraud, beginning with allegations that he stole insurance money from Satterfield’s two sons. He’s since been hit with at least 85 charges involving $8.4 million for fraudulent insurance settlements, including money allegedly stolen from a young paraplegic man, and already faced a possible 500 years in prison.
Bland said that, short of suicide, the only honorable option for Murdaugh now would be to come clean on everything he knows about both the murders of Maggie and Paul as well as the slew of financial charges against him.
“The only currency he has is information,” Bland said. “There’s no way he did this all alone. He could decide, ‘I’m going to broker the information I have to get all this in the open and finally do some good.’ But he’s such a narcissist — is he going to think of what this is going to do to his son and brothers and cousins?”
Bland told The Post that Curtis “Cousin Eddie” Smith, the Walterboro, SC, man arrested in September 2021 for allegedly shooting Murdaugh on a rural Hampton Road in a botched and convoluted insurance fraud/suicide-for-hire scam and who was arrested a second time last month on drug and money laundering charges, has given police the names of people Alex Murdaugh sold drugs to.
Bland said Smith allegedly procured drugs for Murdaugh, some or all of which he sold to others. When the orders got bigger, Bland said, Smith asked Murdaugh why and Murdaugh named names — of people close to him.
“Normally you’d make up names if they were people close to you who you loved,” said Bland. “But Alex just told Eddie the names.”
Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian, who is based in Columbia, SC, asked prosecutors for a speedy trial after the murder charges were leveled last week.
He and Murdaugh’s other lawyer, Jim Griffin, issued a statement last week that read in part:
“Alex wants his family, friends and everyone to know that he did not have anything to do with the murders of Maggie and Paul. He loved them more than anything in the world. It was very clear from day one that law enforcement and the Attorney General prematurely concluded that Alex was responsible for the murder of his wife and son. But we know that Alex did not have any motive whatsoever to murder them.”
When reached Friday by The Post, Harpootlian declined further comment.
“I’ll do my talking in the courtroom,” he said.
But some insiders say that Harpootlian might well get his client off due to forensic discrepancies and the puzzling fact that two different guns — a shotgun and a rifle — were used in the murders of Maggie and Paul.
“Harpootlian is doing cartwheels right now,” a source close to the investigation told The Post Friday. “That trial will be short and sweet. Dick H. is their guy. He’s going to dazzle that jury. All he needs is one person not to go along with a guilty verdict and they’ll find them. Everyone down there still loves the Murdaughs and owes them. No way will he get convicted. This trial could be in the rear view mirror very fast.”
Said Bland, “I was in court today with Dick and I was telling him this was a no-winner for him, representing this pariah. But he sees it differently. He’s not going for a not guilty verdict. He knows he’ll never get 12 people to say not guilty. What he tells juries is that ‘not guilty’ does not mean ‘innocent.’ It means the state has not met their burden of proof.”
Residents of rural Hampton and Colleton counties, over which four generations of Murdaughs ruled from both their law firm and the local prosecutor’s office, are feeling more resentful than relieved after news came last week of the murder indictment.
“Everyone’s gone crazy with this in the outside world,” a Hampton resident whose family has lived in the area for generations and knew the Murdaughs well told The Post Friday. “They’re saying the Murdaughs had some sort of genetic defect and they’re tarring us all with that same brush. Just hold on. People got to slow down. We’re a community of 20,000 people. We’re not Alec. We’re the same we always were.”
The man added that, despite the media onslaught, the town and surrounding area has endured since the murders.
“We’re still going to have the Friday night football games in the fall and our dove hunts and our barbecues and our big family gatherings. That’s who we are. Nothing’s going to change that.”
Sandy Smith, the mother of a young gay South Carolina man — whose mysterious 2015 death was re-opened by SLED the day after The Post ran a story about it in mid-June 2021— said Friday that she was “incredibly relieved” when she heard Thursday that Alex Murdaugh has been formally charged with murder. She hopes it will pave the way for Stephen’s murder to be solved.
“It was a good day in South Carolina and a good week for Stephen,” Smith said. She said that a headstone for her son will be unveiled Sunday at Gooding Cemetery in Hampton County and many are expected to attend the event.
Money for the headstone was raised following the stories about Stephen’s murder and the hashtag #StandingforStephen that went viral on social media. No Murdaugh has been formally connected to the death of Stephen, whose dead body was found dumped on a rural road, but there have been whispers of the family’s involvement for years.
“We felt like this was Stephen’s week,” Smith said. “We’re optimistic for the future.”