Netflix's Alex Murdaugh docuseries 'Murdaugh Murders': After life sentences, here's what to know
Richard "Alex" Murdaugh was given two consecutive life sentences Friday following a guilty verdict in a trial in Walterboro, South Carolina, where he was accused on murdering his wife and son.
Coincidentally, Netflix on Feb. 22 released its three-part docuseries, "Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal," that tapped into interest in the case. .
The project, directed by Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst, the team behind Amazon's "LuLaRich" and Netflix's "The Pharmacist," centers on the scandals and criminal allegations surrounding the disbarred attorney and the fall of his disgraced family dynasty.
Prison time: Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh sentenced to life after murder convictions
"For over a century, the Murdaughs were law and order here in the 14th Circuit," USA TODAY Network journalist Michael DeWitt Jr., who has covered the story for years, says in the trailer.
Here's what to know ahead of your "Murdaugh Murders" binge.
What does 'Murdaugh Murders' cover?
While other true-crime documentaries have explored the Murdaugh saga, Netflix's series explores the fatal February 2019 boat crash involving Murdaugh's younger son, Paul; the unsolved 2015 homicide of Hampton County teen Stephen Smith that has been linked to the Murdaugh family by state police; and the June 2021 murders of Paul and his mother, Maggie, for which Alex Murdaugh was charged, along with more than 100 other crimes.
The Murdaughs were one of South Carolina’s most prominent families, but the death of teenager Mallory Beach in a drunken boating accident began the unraveling of their legacy. When Paul Murdaugh – the alleged driver of the boat – and his mother were found murdered two years after the crash, a century of corruption, power and cover-ups is brought to light.
What the docuseries says about Maggie and Paul's murders
The deaths of Richard Murdaugh's wife and their son are addressed in the docuseries' second episode, "Murders at Moselle." Murdaugh told investigators he woke up from a nap at home at 7:31 p.m. on June 7, 2021 and didn't see either of his family members. He then texted his wife and son that he was going to visit his ailing parents.
Murdaugh says he returned after 10 p.m. and discovered his wife, 52, and son, 22, had been shot near the dog kennels on their property. A sobbing Murdaugh called 911 to report their deaths. Some wondered if the killer might have been motivated by a desire to avenge Beach's death.
The third episode of the docuseries presents evidence that Alex Murdaugh was at home at the time of Paul and Maggie's deaths. The presence of high-velocity impact spatter on Murdaugh's clothes indicates that he was with one of the victims at the time of their death. And a video taken at 8:44 p.m. on Paul's phone captures Murdaugh's voice about 15 minutes before the murders are thought to have occurred. Though that doesn't prove Murdaugh is responsible, it does dispute his account of the evening.
In July 2022, Alex Murdaugh was indicted on murder charges. That month, he pleaded not guilty and was denied bond. Murdaugh did not respond to requests for an interview from the filmmakers.
Updates on the Alex Murdaugh trial
Murdaugh's double murder trial in the deaths of his wife and son began Jan. 23.
Murdaugh's surviving son, Buster, took the stand to open the session. While his testimony was emotional at times, it offered no real insight or new evidence.
Buster, who is nicknamed after his great-grandfather, the former longtime 14th Circuit Solicitor, said that June 7, 2021, was just a normal day with normal conversations and text messages between family members, until his dad called him about 10:30 that night to tell him his mother and brother had been shot and killed.
After listening to more than five weeks of testimony from over 75 witnesses — including Murdaugh himself — and visiting the crime scene, the jury took less than three hours on March 2 to find Murdaugh, 54, guilty of two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in the commitment of a violent crime.
Murdaugh must then stand trial on more than 100 other criminal charges. Trial dates and locations have not been set in these cases.
Along with the criminal charges, a slew of civil court cases have been filed against the disbarred South Carolina attorney. Murdaugh has already signed a $4.3 million confession of judgment in one lawsuit involving the Gloria Satterfield Estate. The wrongful death suit of Mallory Beach could be heard as early as this summer, according to The State newspaper.
Trial dates have not been set for the remaining civil suits against Murdaugh.
More specials about the Murdaugh saga
Last fall, HBO Max and CNN released specials on the tragedies.
HBO Max unveiled its three-part docuseries, "Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty," in November. In October, CNN aired “The Murdaugh Murders: A Twisted Tale of Power and Money,” featuring roundtable discussions with journalists, attorneys and alleged victims of the Murdaughs. It's available on CNN.com and CNN apps.
More on the Murdaughs
'I was in shock': Alex Murdaugh's son testifies in double murder trial
Watch Murdaugh trial live: How to watch Alex Murdaugh trial Wednesday; read trial updates
Opening statements given in former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial
Verdict: Murdaugh found guilty, given consecutive life sentences
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: 'Murdaugh Murders': Netflix doc timed to Alex Murdaugh guilty verdict