A man found shot dead as he awaited trial over a teenage girl's death in a boat he was driving was likely targeted, sources say.
Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his 56-year-old mum, Maggie, were found shot dead near dog kennels at the family’s home near Islandton, in the US state of South Carolina, on Monday night (local time).
No one has been arrested and police are yet to name any suspects. The deaths are being treated as a double homicide.
Sources familiar with the investigation told US news site The Island Packet Murdaugh was likely targeted while his mum just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Murdaugh was awaiting trial on a charge of boating under the influence causing death in a February 2019 crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
He was driving a boat, owned by dad Alex, when it hit a bridge pylon throwing Mallory overboard. It took seven days for investigators to find her body.
Mallory’s death gained a lot of attention due to the Murdaugh family’s strong connection to South Carolina’s legal system and questions whether this affected the investigation.
Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to the charges against him after facing court in May 2019. He had his bond set but spent no time in jail.
Robert McCullough, a spokesperson for South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, told Fox News two lawyers prevented police from being able to speak to those on board the boat.
They were named as Murdaugh’s grandfather Randolph Murdaugh III and his dad, Alex.
Mr McCullough added the lawyers' intervention made the investigation more difficult, but it's alleged the 22-year-old was driving the boat and he was intoxicated.
An unnamed source told The State newspaper, the Murdaugh family “are the law around here”.
Mallory’s mum Renee Beach has since filed a civil lawsuit against the Murdaugh family.
Paul Murdaugh's grandfather dies just days after double murder
Randolph died at the age of 81 just days after his grandson and daughter-in-law.
He served as the elected solicitor in the 14th Circuit from 1987 to 2005.
His father and grandfather also held the job as prosecutor for Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties.
The announcement of Randolph’s death came from his law firm – Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick – on Thursday.
The firm didn’t give a cause of death, but Democratic state Senator Margie Bright Matthews of Colleton County said the 81-year-old was in intensive care when she asked for prayers for the family on Tuesday on the Senate floor.
Randoph's death came the day before the graveside service for his grandson and daughter-in-law.
with The Associated Press
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