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Alcohol, abuse & ample allegations: Netflix Murdaugh doc exposes low country secrets


From left to right: Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh.

Quick case catch-up: Alex Murdaugh, a disgraced South Carolina attorney, is currently on trial for the murders of his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul. His eldest son, Buster, has been to court every day since trial started. 

Last week, Netflix released its latest docuseries called “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal.” The streaming service says the docuseries “shows how the prominent Murdaugh family purportedly used and abused their wealth and privilege to the extreme, and which family member is allegedly behind it all.”

The series has three episodes titled, “Where Is Mallory?,” “Murders at Moselle” and “No Secrets Are Safe.” It dives deep into the many twists and turns the Murdaugh family has experienced, including the deadly boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, the murders of Maggie and Paul, the death of the family’s nanny Gloria Satterfield and the hit-and-run death of Stephen Smith, an alleged friend of Buster Murdaugh.

The following allegations and statements were uncovered in the docuseries:

Alcohol & Physical Abuse

One of the main witnesses in the docuseries is Morgan Doughty, Paul’s girlfriend of four years. The two met in freshman year history class, Doughty said in episode one.

The now 23-year-old said she started dating Paul when she was 16 years old. She said the “real Paul” was very sweet, loved to hunt and fish, and made her laugh. However, she claims Paul had a dark side when he was drinking and that it was “very normal for them [the Murdaugh family] to be drinking.”

“So we’d go into Alex’s office and he always had handles of liquor he would offer to us and the law firm partner’s children,” Doughty said in the documentary. “And when I said children, I mean around 16 to 14 years old.”

Paul Murdaugh and Morgan Doughty (Photo: Netflix).

Doughty explained alcohol changed Paul and she’s not the only one who noticed. Anthony Cook, Paul’s best friend, said their friends called Paul “Timmy” when he drank, because he was a completely different person.

Doughty told producers about a time after a celebration for Buster’s graduation where Paul got extremely violent with her. She explained they stayed in a hotel and when they got into bed, Paul kept kicking her.

“He had been so intoxicated,” she explained.  “I yelled at him, and then he got on top of me and I remember him screaming ‘I told you to shut up’ while holding down my throat. I just remembered he punched me really hard in the knee right here,” Doughty said while motioning to her knee.

The night of the boat crash that killed her best friend Mallory Beach, Doughty said Paul was drunk behind the wheel of the boat and was screaming at everyone on board who tried to stop him from driving. Thinking she could get through to him, she tried getting him to step away from the wheel.

Mallory Beach appears in an obituary photograph

Mallory Beach died in a boating accident attributed to Paul Murdaugh in February 2019.

Doughty said she told Paul he wasn’t making sense and was acting crazy. While crying, Morgan said in the documentary episode, “He looked at me and said ‘You know what’s crazy? Your father not making enough money to support your family.’ I started crying and that’s when Paul got into my face and just started screaming. That’s when Paul slapped me.”

“You could tell by the way that he did it, it wasn’t the first time,” Doughty’s best friend, Miley Altman explained to producers. “It’s just heartbreaking to see your best friend be abused in front of your face.”

Minutes later, Paul crashed the boat. Mallory and her boyfriend, Anthony Cook, were thrown into the water. Anthony immediately swam up to the surface and was gasping for air, but Mallory was nowhere to be found. The four others who were on the boat at the time were injured, but remained on the boat.

Paul Murdaugh appears in a mugshot via the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office

Paul Murdaugh, seen in a booking photo, was accused of several crimes related to a fatal boat crash when he was killed in June 2021.

When everyone was rushed to the hospital after the crash, Doughty’s mother, Diane Doughty, told Netflix producers that two different nurses warned her about Paul’s alleged horrific behavior that night.

One of the nurses tending to Morgan allegedly said to Diane “Paul is a nasty drunk and you need her to get away from him as fast as you can.”

“One of the other nurses came to me,” Diane explained, “And she says, ‘Mom to mom, you need to keep her away from him.’”

Criminal & Controversial Cover-Ups

Throughout the docuseries, Paul’s friends explained that as Paul got older, he was always getting into more and more trouble.

“Anytime Paul got into any trouble, he would call his grandad,” Morgan explained. “And from there, Randolph [the grandfather] would call Alex and they’d come up with a storyline basically. And when I tell you you’d snap your fingers and it was gone, that’s how it was.”

From left to right: Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh.

Paul’s ex-girlfriend went on to explain how in 2017, the two had gone to a Christmas party. After they left, they got into a fight and Paul allegedly wrecked his truck while driving. When the couple safely got out of the truck, there were guns and beer cans scattered all around the truck. Morgan immediately started dialing 911, but Paul made her hang-up.

“Paul calls Randolph,” Morgan said. “He tells him exactly where we’re at and then he calls his Dad — and then Randolph, Alex and Maggie showed up. Before they even checked on us, they opened the back of the truck and took out all of the guns. They cleared the bed of the truck and floors of all the beer cans.”

Morgan continued with, “They kept trying to talk to me and tell me I didn’t need to call 911 because I could have gotten their son in trouble.”

Boat Crash Control

After the boat crash, body camera footage shows the tense and chaotic moments when police arrived on scene. “Paul was only in his underwear,” Altman explained. “His only concern was calling his grandad.”

In dashcam video, you can hear Paul asking someone if he could use their phone. Disgusted with Paul’s alleged lack of concern, his best friend, Anthony, screamed at him.

“You f**kin’ smiling’ like it’s f**kin’ funny? My f**kin girlfriend’s gone. Hope you rot in f**kin’ hell,” Anthony can be heard saying in the video.

From left to right: Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh.

On his way to the hospital, Paul got ahold of his grandfather and allegedly told him his friend Connor Cook, Anthony’s cousin, was the one who crashed it.

“I was like really?,” Connor said to Netflix producers. “I wanted to beat the sh** out of him, that’s what I wanted to do.”

Randolph and Alex arrived at the hospital and Randolph allegedly told investigators no one was allowed to interview Paul about what happened. Shortly after, Connor’s parents got a call from Alex claiming Connor was the driver of the boat, but not to worry because as a lawyer, he could look out for Connor.

“I remember they pulled me out of my room to get a CAT scan on my jaw and Alex whispered in my ear and was like, ‘Just be quiet. I got you.’”

In the days after the boat crash, Mallory’s mother, Renee Beach, went to the crime scene and was trying to see the boat and figure out what had happened for herself. She said police refused to let her get close to the boat, saying they had direct orders not to let anyone cross the police line.

A boat owned by Alex Murdaugh and allegedly operated by Paul Murdaugh was covered in police tape after it crashed into a bridge pier on Feb. 23, 2019. (Image obtained from the South Carolina Attorney General's Office pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act request by Law&Crime.)

A boat owned by Alex Murdaugh and allegedly operated by Paul Murdaugh was covered in police tape after it crashed into a bridge pier on Feb. 23, 2019.

“It wasn’t too long after that I watched Mr. Randolph and Maggie Murdaugh together, get allowed in,” Renee said. “How was it that they were allowed to go down there?” She continued with, “That’s when I realized the Murdaugh’s were more worried about a cover-up than they were to find Mallory.”

Shortly after, Alex allegedly called Connor’s father, Marty Cook, and arranged a sit down meeting with him. Marty explained that Alex stated, “I need to know where you stand,” and he essentially wanted to make sure the Cook family’s lips were sealed about what had happened on the boat that night.

Paul was arrested for the deadly crash two months later.

Docuseries Trailer

The Murdaugh Murder Case

Alex Murdaugh testifies in his own defense

Alex Murdaugh answers questions for prosecutor Creighton Waters on the witness stand during his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Friday, Feb. 24, 2023. [Image via Grace Beahm Alford/Staff]

Alex Murdaugh is currently on trial for the murders of Maggie and Paul. Last week, he took the stand in his own defense in hopes of convincing the jury had had nothing to do with their murders.

Prosecutors poked holes in his alibi, citing cell phone and GPS data from his car that proved he wasn’t where he originally said he was. Alex did admit that he initially lied about his whereabouts and the timeline leading up to the murder, blaming his drug addiction had him constantly paranoid.

Closing arguments in the murder trial are expected this week. You can watch the trial unfold in real time live on our Youtube page.

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