RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Alex Murdaugh appeared in a virtual bond court Monday morning where he faced a slew of charges handed down from a State Grand Jury.
Murdaugh was first hit with five indictments, totaling 27 charges, on November 18th. It was later announced the grand jury brought seven new indictments against the disgraced Hampton County lawyer in December, totaling 21 new charges.
These charges range from breach of trust with fraudulent intent, computer crimes, money laundering, schemes to defraud victims, and other crimes.
Attorney Dick Harpootlian, who is representing Murdaugh, read a statement Murdaugh in which he confessed to taking $4.3 million from the family of his longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, which was meant as settlement funds in a wrongful death case.
Satterfield died following an alleged slip and fall accident at the family’s Colleton County home in 2018.
In his statement, Murdaugh apologized for the “mishandling” of the funds.
Harpootlian asked that Murdaugh be granted a personal recognizance bond, placed on house arrest and electric monitoring for the pending 48 state grand jury charges. He also told the judge Murdaugh needed to return to a treatment facility where he had been recovering from opioid addiction.
Murdaugh then delivered an emotional testimony regarding his state of mind in the weeks after his wife, Margaret, and son, Paul was found dead on their family property over the summer.
Murdaugh said he was in a depressed and dark place when he attempted to kill himself on the side of a rural road and was having withdraws from opioids. He told the judge that he knew his crimes would hurt his family – and the family of his wife, Margaret, and that he was working to help himself and his family.
He said told judge Alison Renee Lee that he has “never been better and feels good.” He said that he’s gone through inpatient treatment and was sick for several weeks while in jail.
Murdaugh said he wants to face the charges and repair the problems he has caused.
Meanwhile, Creighton Waters, who is representing the state of South Carolina, said Murdaugh should remain in jail. The state believes Murdaugh is a liability should he be released from jail and has been “unhinged” since his September 4th assisted suicide attempt.
Judge Lee said she had some concerns with releasing Murdaugh on bond related to him leaving South Carolina to seek treatment and the need to bring him back to the state if necessary.
She felt it was appropriate to set a bond and provided a number of conditions, including him being under GPS electronic monitoring, house arrest, surrendering his passport, waiving extradition if he leaves the state, and other criteria set by the grand jury if he were to receive bond.
He would also be subject to random drug testing and counseling sessions.
Bond was ultimately set at $7 million.
His attorney, Harpootlian, attempted to argue against that amount because he essentially did not have the money to pay it and asked the judge to reduce the number.
Judge Lee said she would entertain a motion to reconsider the bond hearing to $6.2mil in the future.