SLED and DA’s Office Issue Joint Statement Condemning Some Media’s Coverage of Ongoing Murdaugh Murder Investigations
By HEATHER RUPPE
Over the past few weeks, rumors and headlines have swirled again about the ongoing legal battle involving disgraced Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh and the still unsolved deaths of his wife and son, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, who were found shot dead in their rural village of Islandton. property in Colleton County.
In the ongoing media cyclone surrounding Alex Murdaugh and his own legal charges and in the wake of the Murdaugh murders, Alex Murdaugh entered a downward spiral resulting in his own failed suicide attempt and he now faces dozens of charges. legal matters, including the embezzlement of funds from his former law firm. Some of the state’s top prosecutors released a joint statement, discrediting headlines that cast a negative light on them and their prosecution efforts.
Last week, the Fourteenth Circuit Attorney’s Office and the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) issued a joint statement, saying some media are publishing “unsubstantiated and ill-informed speculation” about the prosecutor’s office and its role in the ongoing investigations into Paul’s murder. and Maggie Murdaugh. SLED is the premier criminal investigative agency for South Carolina. The Fourteenth Circuit District Attorney’s Office is the agency that prosecutes all crimes in Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper counties. Alex Murdaugh’s family has long worked as attorneys on this circuit; at the time of Murdaugh’s arrest and at the time of the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, no member of the Murdaugh family was employed as attorneys in the 14th Circuit. Duffie Stone is the circuit’s longtime elected attorney.
“In accordance with long-standing policies, SLED and the 14th Circuit District Attorney’s Office will not comment on the details of a case while it is under investigation,” according to a statement released by Jeff Kidd. , a spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office. “However, given the persistence of unsubstantiated claims, fairness and public confidence in the integrity of the process require a limited response.”
According to information released by both SLED and the attorneys’ office, the agencies say that within hours of the June 7 murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, SLED notified the 14th Circuit District Attorney’s Office of what had happened in Colleton County.
During SLED’s investigative hours, SLED Chief Mark Keel was “in direct and regular contact with 14th Circuit Attorney Duffie Stone and SC Attorney General Alan Wilson,” the statement said. . “All agreed that if evidence established a potential conflict, Chief Keel would immediately contact Attorney Stone and Attorney General Wilson. Chief Keel did, and Stone immediately retired from the case on August 11, 2021.”
The joint statement continues to state that the attorney’s office never conducted its own investigation or acted in any way “to undermine SELD’s role as the lead investigative agency.”
The statement also condemns some media outlets for publishing photographs showing attorney Stone speaking to a member of the Murdaugh family: according to SLED, these photographs were taken “after the crime scene” was cleared and the family Murdaugh was allowed to return to Islandton. goods. “Other law enforcement was present at the time. Any speculation to the contrary is false,” the statement read.
Chief Keel said he is determined to pursue the pursuit of justice for Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. As of Tuesday’s press deadline, their deaths remain unsolved and under investigation.