Former South Carolina Attorney Alex Murdaugh Denied New Murder Trial, Judge Rules

Columbia, South Carolina – Alex Murdaugh, the former South Carolina attorney who was convicted last year of killing his wife and son, will not be granted a new murder trial, a judge ruled Monday. Murdaugh’s attorneys had requested a new trial, alleging that the court clerk tampered with the jury, but the judge, Jean Toal, stated that while the clerk made improper comments to the jury, they did not influence the verdict. The judge also expressed doubts about the credibility of the court clerk, Rebecca “Becky” Hill, suggesting that she may have been influenced by the desire for celebrity status and a book deal.

Toal emphasized that the South Carolina Supreme Court does not require a new trial based on the “fleeting and foolish comments” made by Hill. Before adjourning the hearing, the judge stated that the evidence against Murdaugh was overwhelming and the jury’s guilty verdict was not surprising. Murdaugh’s attorneys believe the next step will be the Court of Appeals, followed by the South Carolina Supreme Court and, if necessary, federal court.

During the hearing, one juror testified that Hill’s comments influenced her verdict, but all other jurors denied being influenced. Hill’s attorneys stated that they respected the judge’s decision and thanked the jurors for their service. The case against Murdaugh drew international attention and has been the subject of numerous documentaries, books, and podcasts.

Murdaugh is currently serving two consecutive life sentences for the murders of his wife and son. He is also serving 27 years in prison after pleading guilty to state financial crimes. His defense team alleges that Hill tampered with the jury in order to secure a book deal and media appearances. Hill denied these allegations in a signed affidavit last November.

The hearing was briefly interrupted when it was discovered that jurors had watched a fellow juror’s testimony on their phones. However, the jurors stated that this would not impact their testimony. The judge has set aside three days for the hearing but hopes that it will conclude in just one day.

Hill’s credibility was called into question after allegations of plagiarism were made against her. Her co-author has denied these claims, stating that they did not have any guarantees from publishers and spent their own money on the book. The judge has limited the witnesses to the 12 jurors who rendered the guilty verdict and Hill.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has confirmed that Hill is the subject of two open investigations, one related to her alleged interactions with Murdaugh’s jury and the other regarding allegations that she used her elected position for personal gain.