The horrifying true story behind Netflix's Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal

Netflix's Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal is set to be released next month, but what's the true story behind this shocking documentary?

true story behind Murdaugh Murders
(Image credit: Netflix)

Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal is set to be released on Netflix next month, here's the true story behind this shocking documentary. 

Netflix's latest true-crime documentary is set to be released next month and delves into the murders that took place in 2021. The story involves the death of three different people -two of which are still unsolved, plus a faked assassination attempt, and a corrupt family with control and wealth over a small town that goes back for decades. 

The series is set to be released next month, and the real-life trial is currently taking place in South Carolina. So here is everything you need to know about the true story behind Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal.


The true story behind Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal

The synopsis from Netflix reads, "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."

This is where the main story begins. In 2019, 19-year-old Mallory Beach died after Paul Murdaugh, who was the alleged driver of the boat, drunkenly crashed into a bridge and a number of drunk passengers were thrown off board, and Mallory was killed. Witnesses said that Paul was insistent on driving the boat, despite being extremely drunk and not fit to drive safely. 

This death then led to lawsuits from Mallory's family who accused Paul of driving under the influence, which he denied and pled not guilty. 

Paul came from the Murdaugh family, the rich and influential family of the local town and many believed that he would get out of these charges because of his father's influence in the legal sphere (as a prominent lawyer). This is when pressure began to mount on the family and accusations about how they would weasel their way out of a death of a young woman and try and force a cover-up took place.

Murdaugh murders

Paul Murdaugh and his girlfriend Morgan Doughty

(Image credit: Netflix)

However, in a shocking twist, Paul and his mother Maggie were found dead in June 2021, just ahead of the trial.

Paul and his mother Margaret were murdered in a double homicide and were shot and killed at the family's hunting property near Islandton – known locally as Moselle. Paul appeared to have been shot with a shotgun and Maggie seemed to have been attacked with an assault rifle. At the time, Margaret, also known as Maggie, was estranged from her powerful husband Alex and was living at their beach house and reportedly looking into divorce proceedings. 

Alex (Paul's father and Maggie's estranged husband) discovered the bodies and was the person to call 911. But his difficult relationship with both his son and wife led to Alex becoming the prime suspect in this double homicide shooting. In July 2022, Alex was accused and formally indicted for their murder. 

In another bizarre twist, in September 2021, just months after his son and wife's murders, Alex Murdaugh called 911 claiming that a stranger shot him in the head after stopping to help him with his tire. This took place just after he stepped down from the family business because of numerous embezzlement accusations.

Later, Alex confessed that he hired a hitman for himself to shoot and kill him so that his only son, Buster, could get a life insurance payout of $10 million. Alex was then also arrested for conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

According to Netflix, 'The three-part series will feature first-hand accounts from those on the boat that fateful night, many of whom have not spoken about the crash or double homicide of Maggie and Paul until now, including: Paul Murdaugh’s longtime girlfriend, Morgan Doughty; Mallory Beach's childhood friends, Miley Altman and Connor Cook; Mallory's boyfriend, Anthony Cook; and, several others.'

Murdaugh Murders

Alex Murdaugh on trial

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Murdaugh Murders Update

Currently, the trial of Alex Murdaugh for the murder of his wife and son is ongoing in South Carolina. The courthouse is in the town of Walterboro and is just around 10 miles from where Maggie and Paul's bodies were found.

Alex has pleaded not guilty to the murders of his wife and child. As well as the death of Mallory Beach, investigations are taking place into the death of Stephen Smith, a suspected lover of Murdaugh’s only living son Buster, who was found dead 2015 in the middle of the road, and a family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 and subsequently a concealed insurance payout was discovered.

The trial began just days ago on Monday, January 23, 2023. If charged with the double homicide, Alex faces life imprisonment. Although the death penalty is legal in South Carolina, it was confirmed by officials in December 2022 that State prosecutors will not pursue capital punishment as a punishment for this crime.

A Netflix Documentary Series, Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal is only on Netflix Wednesday, February 22, 2023.

Laura Harman

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


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