Alex Murdaugh’s lawyers to appeal life sentences for murder

Alex Murdaugh is led to the Colleton County Courthouse by sheriff’s deputies for sentencing Friday, March 3, 2023 in Walterboro, S.C., after being convicted of two counts of murder in the June 7, 2021, shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(NewsNation) — After Alex Murdaugh was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife and son, his lawyers said they will appeal the verdict in the next 10 days.

 Alex Murdaugh, the patriarch of a once-powerhouse legal dynasty in South Carolina, received two consecutive life sentences after being found guilty of killing Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh.

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian said at a news conference that the appeal will be based on financial crime evidence the prosecution detailed during the trial. Along with his murder charges, Murdaugh is also charged with numerous financial crimes, including stealing from clients. He admitted to these on the stand during his own testimony.

Harpootlian said Murdaugh had to take the stand to try to push back on assertions that he was a “horrible person.” Murdaugh’s other defense attorney, Jim Griffin, said they would take the appeal to the Supreme Court “if necessary.”

“Once they got that character information in — ‘he’s a thief, he’s a liar’— that jury decided he was not to be believed,” Harpootlian said. “It was about character. It wasn’t about motive.”

Throughout the trial, Murdaugh maintained his innocence. On Friday before his sentencing, he continued those claims, saying “I would never hurt my wife, Maggie, and I would never hurt my son.”

Still, his lawyers said he was not “optimistic” about the trial due to “all of the scrutiny and press” the case had gotten. Not only has it made national headlines, but there have already been documentaries from Netflix and HBO Max on the Murdaugh family and trial.

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