HAMPTON, S.C. (NewsNation Now) — A new lawsuit is pending against a prominent South Carolina legal family stemming from a February 2019 boating accident.
Paul Murdaugh was awaiting trial on a charge of boating under the influence and causing death in the crash, when the 22-year-old and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, were found dead on their 1,700-acre South Carolina property on June 7.
The wreck led to stories questioning whether his family’s ties to the legal system in the area affected the investigation.
“I was brought in by the Cook family because there appeared to be an effort to blame Connor Cook, wrongfully, to achieve an arrest,” said Joe McCulloch, the Cook family’s lawyer.
McCulloch represents Connor Cook, one of the passengers on that boat that fatal night.
The police report from the incident says “all of the passengers were grossly intoxicated.”
Paul Murdaugh was allegedly driving when the boat rapidly accelerated and hit a piling, throwing 19-year-old Mallory Beach from the boat. Her body was found a week after the crash.
McCulloch alleges the Murdaugh family tried to pin the crime on his client.
“There’s so many mysteries, so many misleading things that have occurred in this case,” McCulloch said.
That mystery is an ongoing trend in this saga that’s thrust the small, low county town of Hampton, South Carolina, into the limelight.
“We have a watermelon festival once a year, and other than that, we don’t do anything,” said Ramona Ricks, a Hampton native.
Hicks worked at the school where Alex Murdaugh’s two sons attended kindergarten.
After hearing the allegations against the family and twists, in this case, she said she’s “Really sad this is happening in our town.”
“You don’t know what else is gonna come up – every day, it seems like it’s something else,” Ricks said.
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She said she and much of the community are still hesitant to ruffle any feathers when it comes to the powerful Murdaugh family.
“I’m just trying to be careful,” Ricks said.
Alex Murdaugh, the father of Paul and wife of Maggie, is out on bond. His attorneys said he’s currently in an out-of-state rehab facility.
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