COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. – Disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to charges that he murdered his wife and son last year.
Murdaugh’s attorneys asked for a formal arraignment during a bond hearing Wednesday. Wearing a white button-down shirt and beige pants with his glasses perched atop his head, Murdaugh held up his right hand and entered his not-guilty plea.
Defense attorneys waived a request for bond, noting that he is currently being held on a $7 million bond on allegations that he stole millions of dollars from his clients. Murdaugh’s attorneys and prosecutors agreed to keep evidence in the case secret, citing the amount of media attention the case has garnered, according to The Associated Press.
“The state wants very much for this case to be tried fairly and appropriately in a court of law,” prosecutor Creighton Waters said.
Murdaugh’s attorneys requested a speedy trial, saying that Murdaugh is innocent and that he wants to shift the focus to the real killer or killers, whom he said remain at large. Murdaugh has denied any involvement in his wife and son’s deaths.
“The evidence in this case is substantial and it all points back to Alex Murdaugh,” Waters said. “There’s forensic evidence as well as other evidence of his guilt of these murders.”
In court, Murdaugh’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, denied that evidence pointed to his client’s guilt.
“He’s wrong, and that’s why a jury will sit in … that jury box,” he said.
A grand jury last week indicted Murdaugh on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Prosecutors said Murdaugh killed his wife, 52-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and his son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, in June 2021. Alex Murdaugh called 911 on June 7, 2021, after finding the pair shot several times at their home in Islandton.
Alex Murdaugh previously held a role as a part-time prosecutor for South Carolina’s five-county 14th Judicial Court, where his family members have long served as elected prosecutors. He also worked as a personal injury attorney for his family’s prominent law firm.
The former attorney also faces charges in an alleged insurance fraud scheme in which authorities said he arranged for another man to shoot him, to allow his surviving son to collect a $10 million policy.