A South Carolina court on Monday ordered Alex Murdaugh to pay nearly $1.8 million to 16 different parties, including the victims of a 2019 boat crash that left his son’s teenage friend dead.
Court-appointed special referee Walt Tollison said in a court order that after all claimants’ legal fees are paid, Mudaugh’s remaining assets shall be divided up among nine of the 16 plaintiffs, with 24% going to Renee Beach, the mother of the late Mallory Beach, who died aboard the Murdaugh family’s boat in a 2018 crash when she was 19 years old.
“Of course, the Special Referee is mindful of the amount and degree of hurt and devastation caused by the actions of Alex Murdaugh to the Claimants in this matter, and beyond. In a perfect world, there would be unlimited funds,” Tollison wrote.
Mark Tinsley, an attorney representing the Beach family and other boat crash victims, echoed that sentiment.
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“It’s incredibly difficult to compare apples to oranges, and that’s what that was. In a perfect world, there’s an infinite amount of money to compensate all the people who claim to have been harmed, but that’s not the world we were operating in,” Tinsley told Fox News Digital.
“There was a finite amount of money.”
For the Beach family, specifically, Tinsley said “it was never about the money” but “accountability” for what happened to their daughter on the Murdaugh family’s boat more than five years ago.
The late Paul Murdaugh had taken five of his friends out on his family’s boat on the evening of Feb. 23, 2019. He used his older brother Buster’s ID to purchase alcohol for the group before they set off into dark waters.
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Paul drove the boat inebriated despite his friends’ pleas to stop, and he eventually crashed into Archers Creek Bridge in Beaufort on the South Carolina coast.
The accident left several friends injured, and Mallory, who had been sitting in the back of the boat, was thrown into the water. She was missing for more than a week until boaters found her body in the water.
“The satisfaction [the Beach family finds] in this process and what happened is the hope that somebody in the future, before they allow their son or daughter to drive under the influence of alcohol… that they’ll take some stock in what happened, and you can lose everything,” Tinsley said.
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Among the other nine plaintiffs receiving a portion of Murdaugh’s remaining assets are Miley Altman (5%), Mallory’s friend and a boat crash victim; Morgan Doughty (11%), a close friend of both and a boat crash victim; Arthur Badger (24%), the husband of Donna Badger, a victim of Murdaugh’s financial crimes after she died in a car crash; and others.
Tollison described the decision to determine the allocation of remaining funds as “difficult,” noting that some claimants injured by Alex Murdaugh have already received “more (in some cases substantially more) than their loss.”
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The family of Gloria Satterfield, Murdaugh’s deceased housekeeper, who were victimized by Murdaugh’s financial schemes, were listed as claimants but did not receive a portion of the disgraced attorney’s remaining assets.
Their attorney, Eric Bland, noted his disappointment in the decision in a Monday post on X.
“So as of today, the Satterfields have recovered over [$7.5 million] from five or so sources or parties and individuals other than Alex Murdaugh. To date, Alex Murdaugh has paid zero dollars towards the approximate [$]3.5 million he stole from the Satterfields,” Bland wrote.
“Fair, just and equitable? I don’t think so.”
Tinsley said “it was a difficult task” for the court to obtain the funds and then determine how they would be distributed among claimants.
“Everybody who was interested, including Eric Bland, we all weighed in with Judge Hall on how this was going to go and what was going to happen. There was no guarantee that anybody was going to get anything,” Tinsley said.
Murdaugh, 55, was sentenced in March to two life terms for fatally shooting his 52-year-old wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and his son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, in June 2021. Prosecutors argued that he killed his wife and son in an attempt to distract from his mounting financial crimes, which were beginning to come to light around that time.
Murdaugh was also sentenced to 27 years in November for his financial crimes. He agreed to plead guilty to 22 counts – including breach of trust, money laundering, forgery and tax evasion – out of about 100 total counts totaling as much as $10 million in exchange for the 27-year prison sentence.
Murdaugh previously pleaded guilty to 22 counts of financial fraud and money laundering in federal court.
Source: Fox News