Alex Murdaugh Arrested on Charges Connected to Gloria Satterfield
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Alex Murdaugh Arrested AGAIN, This Time on Charges of Falsely ‘Obtaining Property’ Connected to Death of Former Housekeeper

Alex Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained from the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.

Alex Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained from the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.

Embattled and suspended South Carolina attorney Richard “Alex” Murdaugh has been arrested . . . again.

The legal heir was hauled into custody in the Orlando, Florida area on two felony counts which originated in his native state of South Carolina.  Those counts, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), are Obtaining Property by False Pretenses.  Murdaugh’s attorneys say their client “intends to fully cooperate with this investigation.”

“These charges stem from a SLED investigation into misappropriated settlement funds in the death of Gloria Satterfield,” SLED spokesperson Tommy Crosby said in a Thursday news release.  Additional information and documents would be forthcoming, Crosby indicated.

Satterfield was a Murduagh family housekeeper who died on Feb. 26, 2018.  SLED said it was reopening an investigation into Satterfield’s passing after the local coroner reported that the alleged “trip and fall accident” on Murdaugh family property which ended the housekeeper’s life was never reported and never properly investigated.

“On the death certificate the manner of death was ruled ‘Natural,’ which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident,” Hampton County, S.C. Coroner Angela Topper told SLED in a letter for law enforcement assistance released on Sept. 15.

The reexamination of Satterfield’s death by South Carolina officials occurred after Satterfield’s heirs sued their own attorney for allegedly failing to turn over a settlement from the Murdaugh family which was connected to the death of the longtime employee.  The South Carolina Supreme Court on Oct. 8 suspended the law license of the Satterfield family attorney who handled the deal.  That attorney, Cory Howerton Fleming, was hired to represent the estate, but court papers indicate he was also Murdaugh’s college roommate and close friend of the man who was adverse to the estate’s legal interests.

Agents with SLED joined agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to nab Murdaugh as he left an Orlando-area drug rehabilitation facility, Crosby noted.

The 53-year-old Murdaugh was as of Thursday morning being held at the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.  Jail records there say he was picked up without a warrant as a “fugitive from justice.”

SLED said Murdaugh would be incarcerated in Florida pending an extradition hearing.  He can either force a warrant for his return to South Carolina or waive his right to demand such a warrant.

The jail records say Murdaugh’s last known location was Okatie — a likely reference to a town due west of Hilton Head, S.C., in the area where the Murdaughs reside.

Murdaugh is currently out on bond in another South Carolina criminal inquiry.  He was charged in mid-September with attempting to secure his own murder so that his surviving son Buster Murdaugh could pocket the proceeds of a $10 million life insurance policy.  Alex Murdaugh allegedly asked his supposed drug dealer Curtis Edward Smith, 61, to shoot him in the head while he (Murdaugh) ostensibly changed a flat tire on the side of the road.  The incident was supposedly staged to look like a random killing; authorities allege that it was nothing but a scheme concocted to ensure the continued financial prominence of the Murdaugh family.  Smith is charged with assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection the incident which resulted in only a graze to Murdaugh’s head. Murdaugh himself is charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report in this earlier case.

The disgraced heir to a South Carolina legal dynasty is also being sued civilly by his former law firm for allegedly stealing client funds.

SLED suggested its myriad investigations into Murdaugh are far from complete.

“Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations. I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel in a news release. “They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others. As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served.”

SLED said the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office would prosecute the most recent case against Murdaugh.

Murdaugh’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were local prosecutors in coastal South Carolina for nearly one hundred years.  The Murdaugh family has been described as a legal dynasty the Palmetto State’s low country.  The family’s woes gained national attention this past summer when Murdaugh’s wife Maggie Murdaugh and son Paul Murdaugh were found murdered on family property.  Paul had been charged in a deadly boating crash which killed area teenager Mallory Beach.

According to another lawsuit, Fleming, the attorney Gloria Satterfield’s family hired to sue Alex Murdaugh, allegedly helped cover up Paul Murdaugh’s involvement in Beach’s death.

Murdaugh’s attorneys have blamed his personal woes on an opioid addiction.  Murdaugh was in Florida receiving treatment for that alleged addiction when he was arrested Thursday. They reacted to the arrest with the following statement on Thursday:

Alex Murdaugh was taken into custody this morning at a Florida rehabilitation center. Alex is expected to be transported by SLED to Beaufort County where he will appear before a Magistrate for a bond hearing tomorrow.

We have not seen the warrants but have been informed that he is charged with two counts of obtaining goods under false pretenses relating to the settlement proceeds from the Estate of Gloria Satterfield.

Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son. He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders.

Today is a bittersweet day for the Satterfield and Harriott Families. The families are extremely grateful to law enforcement, SLED and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office for its investigation and today’s criminal charges against Alex Murdaugh for two Felony Class E counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. The families and their attorneys are proud of how our justice system has conducted itself since the family had the courage to file its initial lawsuit on September 15, 2021 detailing the theft of the money recovered for the heirs of Gloria Satterfield in connection with her death. So much has been learned and proven by documentary evidence since the filing of the lawsuit which includes the total amount that was either misappropriated and/or not earned from the 4.3 million recovered, including all those involved. Avarice and betrayal of trust are at the heart of this matter. Lawsuits and claims are not vehicles for lawyers, defendants and/or friends to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients. These belong to the clients and the clients only. This is the sacred trust that lawyers and fiduciaries owe their clients. 100% fidelity and never putting their interests over the clients. Since early September the families are dealing with the betrayal of trust and that their loved one’s death was used as a vehicle to enrich others over the clients. Nonetheless, the families and lawyers would like to thank the public for the continued support and assistance it has given to solve these ugly crimes. It is not over. A very good start to holding everyone accountable who either participated knowingly or breached their duties.. The bottom line is no one is above the law. Eric S. Bland and Ronald L. Richter, Jr. Attorneys at Law

Attorneys Eric S. Bland and Ronald L. Richter, Jr. represent the Satterfield family. They released the following statement:

Today is a bittersweet day for the Satterfield and Harriott Families. The families are extremely grateful to law enforcement, SLED and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office for its investigation and today’s criminal charges against Alex Murdaugh for two Felony Class E counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. The families and their attorneys are proud of how our justice system has conducted itself since the family had the courage to file its initial lawsuit on September 15, 2021 detailing the theft of the money recovered for the heirs of Gloria Satterfield in connection with her death.

So much has been learned and proven by documentary evidence since the filing of the lawsuit which includes the total amount that was either misappropriated and/or not earned from the 4.3 million recovered, including all those involved. Avarice and betrayal of trust are at the heart of this matter. Lawsuits and claims are not vehicles for lawyers, defendants and/or friends to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients. These belong to the clients and the clients only. This is the sacred trust that lawyers and fiduciaries owe their clients. 100% fidelity and never putting their interests over the clients.

Since early September the families are dealing with the betrayal of trust and that their loved one’s death was used as a vehicle to enrich others over the clients. Nonetheless, the families and lawyers would like to thank the public for the continued support and assistance it has given to solve these ugly crimes. It is not over. A very good start to holding everyone accountable who either participated knowingly or breached their duties. The bottom line is no one is above the law.

Alex Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained from the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.

Alex Murdaugh appears in an Oct. 14, 2021 mugshot obtained from the Orange County, Fla. Department of Corrections.

Editor’s note: this report has been updated since its initial publication to include additional details, including the statement from the Satterfield family’s attorneys.

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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University.  He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now a Senior Editor for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only.  You should not rely on it for legal advice.  Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney.  Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.