Following the weeks-long trial that garnered national media attention, Alex Murdaugh was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences by a South Carolina judge on Friday morning for the murder of his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul. No one from the Murdaugh family spoke at the sentencing.
Arriving in an armored van, a shackled and jumpsuit-clad Alex Murdaugh — wearing orange jail sandals and white socks — learned his fate after a jury returned its guilty verdict on Thursday following just a few hours of deliberations.
South Carolina Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman delivered thoughtful remarks before issuing Murdaugh's sentence, laying bare what he thought of the disgraced lawyer who was once held in high esteem.
Newman noted that Murdaugh engaged in "duplicitous conduct" with his statements and testimony related to the case, including a last-minute alibi change. "The question is, when will it end?" the judge asked. "It's ended already for the jury because they've concluded that you continued to lie and lie throughout your testimony."
The judge gave Murdaugh two chances to address the court. Both times, Murdaugh asserted "I'm innocent," and said he would "never hurt" his wife or son.
Responding to Murdaugh's repeated proclamations of innocence, Judge Newman said "you can convince yourself about it, but you can't convince anyone else," alluding to the jury's verdict. "It may not have been you, it might have been the monster you become," the judge added.
The judge said that he expects Murdaugh's dead wife and son "visit" frequently, to which Murdaugh responded, "all day and every night."
Judge Newman pondered the sentence sought by prosecutors, saying "I don't question at all the decision of the State not to pursue the death penalty," but noted that he was in a courtroom surrounded by "many portraits of judges and other court officials" that led him to "reflect on the fact that over the past century, your family — including you — have been prosecuting people here in this courtroom and many have received the death penalty, probably for lesser conduct."
Reading the sentence, Judge Newman announced a "term for the rest of your natural life" for the murder of Maggie Murdaugh and for Paul Murdaugh, "who you probably love so much, I sentence you to prison for the murder of him for the rest of your natural life." The judge's sentence was the maximum sought by prosecutors.
"Justice is served," said Prosecutor Creighton Waters.
Murdaugh was expressionless as Judge Newman read his sentence, and the courtroom remained silent as Murdaugh was led out.