Before he gave Alex Murdaugh two consecutive life sentences for murdering his wife and younger son, South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman admonished the former lawyer for his lack of remorse and said he must reckon with his conscience and the “monster you’ve become.”
via: AP News
In the culmination of the once-prominent lawyer’s fall from grace, Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison without parole Friday after being convicted of murdering his wife and son.
Judge Clifton Newman asked Murdaugh if he had anything he wanted to say before sentencing him to two consecutive life terms, and the South Carolina attorney maintained his innocence.
“As I tell you again, I respect this court. But I am innocent. I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife Maggie and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son Paul-Paul,” Murdaugh responded.
“And it might not have been you. It might have been the monster you become when you take 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 opioid pills. Maybe you become another person,” Newman replied, noting Murdaugh’s decadeslong addiction to painkillers.
In lengthy comments, Newman asked Murdaugh what he meant when he said “oh, what a tangled web we weave” while on the stand in his own defense, when he admitted lying to investigators about being at the kennels where Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were killed.
“I meant when I lied, I continued to lie,” Murdaugh replied.
“And the question is when will it end? You continued to lie and lie throughout your testimony,” Newman said.
Newman also touched on the Murdaugh family’s history as they stood in a courtroom on the circuit where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases as the elected prosecutor for more than 80 years.
“A lawyer, a person from a respected family who has controlled justice in this community for over a century. A person whose grandfather’s portrait hangs at the back of the courthouse that I had to have ordered removed in order to insure a fair trial,” Newman said.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters said none of the victims of the crime — members of Murdaugh’s family and the parents and relatives of his wife — wished to speak on behalf of the prosecution before sentencing.
“The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes are stunning. The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he is, including here, sitting right over there in this witness stand — your honor, a man like that, a man like this man, should never be allowed to be among free, law abiding citizens,” Waters said.