A young woman has spoken about the she found herself in after being caught up with a family who were .
Morgan Doughty was dating 19-year-old Paul Murdaugh when he drunkenly crashed a boat that Ki**ed one of their friends in 2019, a case that kicks off the three-part documentary series .
On February 23 of that year, a group of six teenagers from Hampton, South Carolina, were out partying and drinking, but when it came time to go home Paul was insistent that he would drive them back on his boat.
However, in the early hours of the morning, he crashed into a creek and three of them were thrown into the freezing water.
While most made it safely to shore, Mallory Beach went missing in the dark water, and after an extensive search, her body was found eight days later.
Others on the boat had suffered serious injuries, including Morgan, who was rushed to hospital when help first arrived.
While Paul was not only drinking underage, his blood alcohol limit was also three times over the legal limit.
However, he wasn’t given a sobriety test by police or even taken to jail in the immediate aftermath, leading people to believe he had received special treatment because of being part of a powerful family in the area.
The Murdaugh family were a prominent American legal family in the Low Country region of South Carolina, with three members of the family consecutively serving as the district attorney in the area from 1920 to 2006.
But in 2014 their respected position in the local community started family apart when several members of one branch of the family became involved in investigations for murders, corruption and other alleged crimes, including insurance fraud.
At the centre of these allegations was Richard ‘Alex’ Murdaugh, Paul’s father, who is currently on trial for killing Paul, his youngest son, as well as his wife Maggie.
The pair were found shot at the family’s hunting lodge in June 2021.
The next month Alex was charged with their murders, and the month after that his ‘house of cards began to collapse’ after he was from his legal firm.
After further investigations from police, it was calculated he may have stolen $8 million (£6.6 million) from clients.
While Morgan had broken up with Paul after the fatal boating accident, she speaks in the documentary about concerning behaviour in the years leading up to the crash, in which she claims he regularly drunk to excess and would become irritable and, in some cases, violent.
Several of their mutual friends also back her claim, saying that Paul would be given the nickname ‘Timmy’, which they would call him when his personality changed while drinking.
It was claimed that his parents would also turn a blind eye to his drinking, while his older brother Buster gave Paul his drivers license to buy alcohol on the day of the party.
In the documentary the family’s privileged position is explained, with one community member saying that while they ‘were the law’ because of how entrenched the family was in the local judicial system, they also at times believed they were ‘above it’.
It was in 2015 that the Murdaugh’s were first linked to a murder after teenager Stephen Smith was found dead from blunt force trauma on a road, with the case ruled a hit and run with no suspects arrested.
As several people speak about in the documentary, Smith was openly gay, and there were rumours he had been in relationship with Buster, but as some said, the Murdaugh’s were conservative and would have likely not accepted their son’s sexuality.
Although there was talk that the family may have been involved in Stephen’s death and an investigation into his death was opened in June 2021, no charges have been laid to date in relation to this case.
But three years after his death, the Murdaugh’s were also wrapped up in the death of their long-time housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who suffered a severe head injury when she fell down the steps at their home and died of complications including a stroke.
While the family claimed their dogs had tripped her up, an autopsy was never performed to confirm what they said.
Although Satterfield’s two sons were later awarded an insurance settlement for her death, Alex was later accused of stealing the $4.3 million (£3.5 million) they were owed.
In 2021 authorities announced they would be opening a criminal investigation into her death.
Speaking about how shocking it was to find out what the family had been linked to, Morgan said there was specific incident that indicated something was amiss.
‘This girl had messaged me on Facebook letting me know she had reason to believe that it could have been Paul or Buster who had Ki**ed Stephen,’ she recalled.
However, a shocking response from all four family members was alarming.
‘So, Alex, Maggie, Buster, Paul and I were all at their home and were sitting in the kitchen and had just finished eating and I asked them why this girl was saying these things and they laughed it off and then they said “we wouldn’t kill that f*****,’ she said.
‘Looking back now that was the first red flag that I ignored, but I thought, surely these people wouldn’t just murder someone.’
As of December 2022, Alex Murdaugh was facing a total of 106 grand jury criminal charges including financial fraud, drugs and murder.
He is also involved in a wrongful death lawsuit in relation to Mallory Beach.
Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scan**l is streaming from Wednesday on Netflix.
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