Hundreds of pages of new court documents filed in a civil petition in Richland County on Thursday provide some insight and prompt more questions about the investigation of the 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
The case, which garnered national attention at the time, came back into the public eye last month after Paul Murdaugh was shot to death outside his Colleton County home along with his mother, Maggie. Paul was awaiting trial on three felony boating under the influence charges stemming from the crash.
THE ‘CIVIL CONSPIRACY’ PETITION
Connor Cook, a passenger on the boat, filed a petition Thursday saying he believes some law enforcement officers may know about intentions to hamper the 2019 boat crash investigation and shift blame away from Paul Murdaugh. Cook broke his jaw in the crash and was one of the two boaters police investigated as the possible driver.
Cook believes some evidence gathered at the boat crash scene is missing, and his lawyers want to question the officers about failing to conduct an appropriate investigation, according to the petition.
Read more about the filing here: Passenger claims ‘civil conspiracy’ in boat crash investigation involving Murdaugh
- Lana Ferguson, Kacen Bayless
TOP THINGS TO KNOW FROM THE FILINGS
The depositions filed Thursday were mostly from law enforcement officers who were among the first to respond to the scene.
Among the issues raised in the officers’ sworn testimony: Why was one officer removed from the investigation? What was the heated exchange between two of the boaters the night of the crash?
Read more highlights from the filings here: 6 things to know from new court documents filed on the 2019 deadly Beaufort boat crash
- Lana Ferguson
MISSTEPS BY LAW ENFORCEMENT
Four law enforcement officers who responded to the boat crash described several inconsistencies and deviations from common police practices in their investigation, the new court documents show.
The depositions outlined decisions and inaction, whether intentional or by oversight, that appear contrary to investigative protocol.
“They show some serious issues,” said Mark Tinsley, the attorney for Mallory Beach’s mother. “Somebody in law enforcement with authority needs to look into this.”
Read more about the law enforcement inconsistencies here: Series of irregularities apparent in 2019 boat crash investigation, new depositions show
- Lana Ferguson, Kacen Bayless
WHO WAS DRIVING THE BOAT?
From the outside looking in, the public wondered why it took police two months to charge someone with driving the boat in the 2019 crash, but the new court documents show investigators were initially given conflicting statements.
One person on the boat said Paul Murdaugh was driving; a second passenger said Connor Cook was the driver.
Murdaugh denied it. Cook told an officer he didn’t know who was driving the boat.
Murdaugh would later be indicted on three felony boating under the influence charges. He pleaded not guilty. Cook was never charged in the crash.
Read more about the investigation into who was driving here: Who was driving the Murdaugh boat that killed Mallory Beach in 2019?
- Lana Ferguson, Jake Shore
WHAT’S HAPPENED BETWEEN 2019 AND NOW?
It’s been more than two years since the boat crash that killed Mallory Beach. New information about the crash has been released in waves. Still pending: the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Beach’s mother, Renee Beach. Still unsolved: the two Murdaugh murders, which changed the course of the criminal investigation of the crash.
Read a detailed timeline of events here: From the fatal SC boat crash to a double homicide: A timeline of Beach and Murdaugh deaths
Follow our previous coverage here.