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5 revelations from The Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal

The true crime documentary is on Netflix

murdaugh murders netflix© Photo: Netflix
Francesca Shillcock
Senior Features Writer
February 28, 2023
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Netflix is renowned for its true crime series and the streaming giant's latest addition has gripped viewers all over the globe. The Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal tells the story of one family who yielded power and influence in the state of South Carolina, but went on to become one of America's most notorious families.

The three-part documentary looks into the different cases surrounding the family, most prominently the death of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, the son and wife of Alex Murdaugh, who is currently on trial for their murder. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Netflix's new documentary provides plenty of insight and testimony into the cases. Here are five revelations that came up in the three episodes. Meanwhile, check out the trailer for the series below...

WATCH: The official trailer for Netflix's The Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal

The Murdaugh family's history of cover-ups

One overarching theme of the documentary is how the Murdaugh family had a reputation for yielding influence on law enforcement. Men in the family, going back generations, traditionally worked in high-profile roles including lead prosecutors, solicitors, and District Attorneys which afforded a level of power to them. Many people featured in the documentary including Paul Murdaugh's former friends, explained how he and the rest of the family behaved without consequence.

One example described by Morgan Doughty, an ex-girlfriend of Paul's, was an incident that allegedly saw Paul get into a car accident after drinking heavily one night. She claims in the episode that rather than calling authorities, he called his family who cleared any evidence of a crash. The examples are given to provide context into the claims that the family did not think twice about covering their tracks.

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Murdaugh family photo shown in documentary© Photo: Netflix

The Murdaugh family shown in Netflix series, A Southern Scandal

Forensic analysis of the boat incident

One of the major cases the documentary focuses on is the tragic boat incident. In February 2019, Morgan and Paul took their friends on a speedboat after attending a party. The boat crashed into a nearby bridge and lead everyone to fall into the water. While others were retrieved, their friend Mallory Beach, was not. A missing person's case was opened but seven days later she was found dead.

In the documentary, Morgan claims that Paul was driving and therefore responsible. At the time, he denied this and stated that it was their friend, Connor, who was controlling the motor vehicle. However, forensic evidence shown in the documentary by a boating engineer showed that Connor Cook could not have been in the driver's position, due to injuries he and Paul both sustained during the crash.

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Mallory Beach and Morgan in Netflix doc Murdaugh Murders© Photo: Netflix

Mallory Beach [left] was killed in a boating incident

Renee Beach was denied access to the crime scene

After the boat incident, Mallory's mother Renee was not granted access to the crime scene despite the Murdaughs being provided access. She says in the documentary: "That's when I started to realise the Murdaughs were more worried about a cover-up than they were trying to find Mallory."

Not only that, the Beach family's attorney, Mark Tinsley, later found out that the Murdaugh's connections high up in law enforcement meant that they were able to pin the blame on Connor and also had law officials allegedly tampering with evidence that exposed the contrary.

Paul Murdaugh in court before his death© Photo: Netflix

Paul Murdaugh was shot and killed in 2021

New evidence in the murder of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh

In the summer of 2021, Alex Murdaugh made a call to the authorities stating that his son, Paul, and wife Maggie has been murdered at their estate. News reports at the time revealed that they had both been fatally shot multiple times. Investigators at the time found that the gunshot wounds came from an AR-15-style rifle, many of which were found at the Murdaugh family home.

Alex, who was subsequently arrested and charged with murder, denied any involvement and claimed his alibi was his parents and stated he was out visiting them at the time of the deaths.

But, as outlined in the documentary, Alex's voice can apparently be heard in a video that was filmed near where the bodies were found. This key piece of evidence has been a big factor during his trial.

Alex Murdaugh pictured in court room© Photo: Netflix

Alex Murdaugh is currently on trial for murder - he pleaded not guilty

The Murdaugh trial is ongoing

Although the docuseries has already been released on Netflix, the story isn't over yet because Alex's trial is still ongoing. Alex vehemently denies the murder of his wife and son and plead not guilty in 2021 when he was initially charged.

Earlier this month, Alex took the stand and testified his defense but did admit that he lied to investigators about his alibi on the night of 7 June, when Maggie and Paul were shot. Alex's opioid addiction has also come to light which he claims caused him to have "paranoid thoughts." Not only that, the trial has brought forward his failed hitman/suicide plot.

The defense has made its case and, according to the BBC, jury deliberations are expected to begin this week. 

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