The mother of a teen killed in a 2019 boat crash involving Paul Murdaugh has joined with two other survivors on board that night make claims against the Murdaugh family estate totaling $65 million.
Mark Tinsley, an attorney representing Mallory Beach’s mother Renee, and survivors Miley Altman and Morgan Doughty, filed the claims Monday in a Colleton County probate court against the estates of Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh in a legal maneuver to try to stake a claim to the family’s real estate properties, according to the Island Packet.
The creditors' claims also prevent attorney Alex Murdaugh, who is facing more than 70 criminal charges after authorities say he stole from his own legal clients, from inheriting property that had been in his wife’s name, including their large Colleton County hunting compound and an Edisto beach house.
Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and the couple’s youngest son Paul, 22, were found shot to death on the hunting compound known as Moselle in June of this year in a still unsolved double homicide.
The deaths launched a probe into Alex Murdaugh, who called 911 after he said he discovered the bodies, leading to the spectacular downfall of the once-prominent attorney, who has been accused of defrauding clients, the family of his long-time housekeeper and an insurance company in a botched assisted suicide attempt.
A creditor claim is a legal strategy for people who feel they are owed money to collect after someone’s death. If the claims are awarded by a probate judge or accepted by the family, the money would be paid before the Murdaugh family would receive profits from the estates, according to WPDE.
Alex is listed as the sole beneficiary for both Maggie and Paul’s estate.
Tinsley filed claims Monday totaling $50 million for Beach, $10 million for Doughty and $5 million for Altman. Tinsley told WVIC that the figures were somewhat arbitrary, however, and served more as a “placeholder” while pending civil lawsuits against the Murdaugh family play out in court.
Mallory Beach was killed on Feb. 23, 2019 when a boat she had been riding on with five other teens, including Doughty and Altman, crashed into wooden pilings on a bridge and sent her overboard, according to The Greenville News. Paul Murdaugh was allegedly operating the boat while drunk.
Just one month after the fatal boat crash that killed her daughter, Renee Beach filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh, Paul’s older brother Buster Murdaugh—who had allegedly provided Paul with his ID to purchase alcohol that night—and the gas station that sold the alcohol.
At the time of his death two years later, Paul had been facing one count of boating under the influence causing death and two counts of boating under the influence causing great bodily injury for his alleged role in the crash.
Last year, a judge ordered Alex Murdaugh’s assets be frozen as a result of the mounting lawsuits against him to prevent the legal scion from trying to sell off any of his assets before the legal issues were resolved.
A judge also ordered a lis pendens placed on properties Alex had owned with his wife, which essentially would alert any potential buyers of the ongoing litigation.
Alex’s brother, John Marvin Murdaugh, petitioned the courts to lift the lis pendens last week on properties that Maggie had owned, including the beach house and hunting compound, according to the local station. He is currently serving as the personal representative for his slain sister-in-law’s estate.
Tinsley told The Island Packet that the petition is what prompted him to file the creditor claims.
“John Marvin’s move to cancel the lis pendens is a clear indication to me that he and Alex are trying to maneuver to avoid the claims against Moselle,” he said. “It makes no sense otherwise.”
John Marvin’s probate attorney, Billy Newsome, denied that, however, telling The Island Packet that John Marvin had made the move in an effort to serve as a “prudent businessperson” in his role as personal representative.
“The current real estate market is good for sellers and it’s prudent to sell Moselle now for the highest and best price for the benefit of creditors or whoever the courts ultimately determine to receive the sales proceeds,” Newsome said in a statement. “Moselle cannot be sold until the Lis Pendens are removed. Any sale will only be done with court approval at a hearing with notice to all interested parties.”
Newsome went on to insist that John Marvin will “cooperate fully” with the court.
“He is not working with Alex or anyone else, and will not make distributions of any sales proceeds to Alex or anyone else, until the court directs him who to pay,” Newsome said.
Alex is currently behind bars on a $7 million bond after prosecutors charged him with 74 criminal charges. They’ve alleged that he stole an estimated $8.4 million from former clients and others over an 11-year period.