In 2021, a tight-knit southern community was rocked by its first major crime in decades. Alex Murdaugh, the patriarch of a prominent family in Islandton, South Carolina, is currently standing trial for the alleged murders of his wife and son, Maggie Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh. Maggie and Paul were shot on the family’s boat. The family operated the largest and most successful law firm in the area for decades. The motives for the murders have received mass media attention and have become the subject of thousands of theories.
The most likely theory is that Alex killed his son to avoid negative press attention on his powerful family. His son, Paul Murdaugh, was to be held responsible in the 2019 death of Mallory Beach, a friend of his then girlfriend Morgan Daughty who died in a boating accident in which he was drunk driving. Alex maintains that his wife and son were likely killed by vigilantes after Paul for the Mallory Beach accident.
The younger Murdaugh man was attempting to avoid standing trial shortly after the time of his murder in 2021. The case has already been adapted by Netflix into a limited series, titled Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal. Several people close to the case, including the late Beach’s boyfriend Anthony Cook and the late Paul Murdaugh’s girlfriend Morgan Daughty, were interviewed for the series. The show is full of shocking and peculiar details, including Morgan’s revelation that Alex Murdaugh kept large handles of alcohol in his law firm office that he frequently offered to his teenaged sons and their friends.
The world is strangely captivated by the absurd nature of Alex Murdaugh’s alleged crimes, but give the lessons learned with several other recent high profile cases, true crime fans and TikTok creators are attempting to be more empathetic towards the families of the victims, and more mindful of their safety.
Paul Murdaugh’s former girlfriend Morgan Doughty on whether she thinks Alex could have killed his wife and son. #alexmurdaugh #murdaughtrial #murdaughfamily #paulmurdaugh #maggiemurdaugh #truecrime #truecrimetiktok
A TikTok creator named Devie Bunting (@deviebunting) wrote, “this girl is not safe anymore. that family has too many ties,” receiving 40,000 likes. The empathy surrounding true crime has been at the forefront of the conversation since the release of Netflix’s Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story, in which countless viewers sexualized Evan Peters in his role as the notorious killer, and the families of real life victims voiced their opposition to the series.
Netflix has notoriously become the streaming platform that produces a high volume of true crime documentaries and limited series based on true crimes, and the Murdaugh trial appears to not be off the table. The three episodes paint a vivid picture of the backdrop of the ongoing trial. The series is likely what amplified the trial beyond the usual true crime podcast community. A TikTok account called Murdaugh_trial (@murdaughupdates) posts daily courtroom clips, and has amassed a whopping 75,400 followers.
#alexmurdaugh #maggiemurdaugh #rebuttal #defense #dickharpootlian #paulmurdaugh #murdaughmurders #bustermurdaugh #alexmurdaughreaction #alexmurdaughcase
The backstory of the case is reminiscent of a Lifetime movie, and the cinematic nature of it all is likely what is initially drawing viewers in. However, after keeping a close eye on the trial, viewers are even more keen on the conviction of Alex Murdaugh, in order to assure the safety of Paul’s ex girlfriend Morgan and the several other innocent people closely related to the case.
The trial continues to be deliberated, and Twitter is reacting to Dr. Kenny Kinsey’s testimony regarding the crime scene.
Sitting here and watching Murdaugh listening to this expert and smiling with his smug smile is truly sickening He has always gotten away with everything and fully expects to again. #MurdaughTrial
— Karen Brown (@KarenGrammyb46) February 28, 2023
Onlookers continue to hope that this case will serve as a landmark for future criminal cases involving lawyers and politicians like Murdaugh.