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Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial: Here’s what we know

(NewsNation) — Alex Murdaugh, the disbarred South Carolina attorney who has been accused of a murder-for-hire plot, embezzling millions from his clients and trafficking drugs, is set to go on trial Monday for the June 2021 murder of his wife and son.

NewsNation’s Special Report: The Murdaugh Mysteries hosted by Marni Hughes will break down everything we know about the case, including details of numerous mysterious deaths and allegations of financial and drug crimes. The special report will air on Jan. 22 at 8/9 ET. Here is how to watch.

According to court documents, Murdaugh’s wife Maggie was shot multiple times with a high-powered rifle, including in the back of the head while she was lying facedown on the ground. Their 22-year-old son Paul was killed with a shotgun, struck in the head and chest.

Murdaugh, 54, has repeatedly denied any role in the deaths, saying he was visiting his mother and ailing father and discovered his son and wife slain when he returned to their estate.

But what came next was a double homicide investigation that uncovered a trail of corruption by Murdaugh, who became the subject of investigations into numerous deaths and millions of dollars of missing money.

NewsNation’s special report will take a deep dive into the web of criminality that surrounds the Murdaugh family, including the death of Murdaugh’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, and the millions Murdaugh agreed to pay her estate.

NewsNation talked with Will Folks, a journalist who broke the Murdaugh story and is extensively covering the case and trial. Folks discussed a possible surprise when the trial starts next week.

“You have some of the most gifted attorneys in the state who are going to be on this case,” Folks said in a preview of NewsNation’s special report. “Dick Harpootlian, who is the lead attorney for Alex Murdaugh, is a guy just an absolute veteran, we are told that Harpootlian’s opening argument is going to be something to behold. In fact, we’re told that he’s going to flip the traditional script.”

Prosecutors alleged in court filings that Murdaugh killed Maggie and Paul because of the threat of “personal, legal and financial ruin.” The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office said Murdaugh sought to portray himself as a victim to distract from multiple investigations into a decade of financial crimes.

Alex Murdaugh has been arrested several times since his wife and son were found dead on their Colleton County property. Since then, he has been accused of scheming a botched assisted suicide attempt and stealing insurance money from previous legal clients.

State police also said the information they gathered in the Murdaugh investigations led them to reopen the case of what was initially reported as the hit-and-run death of 19-year-old Stephen Smith in Hampton County in July 2015.

The Murdaugh mysteries have run deep, captivating the county — spurring documentary series and making international news.

Murdaugh continues to be held at the Richland County Detention Center in Columbia, despite a $7 million bond set by Judge Allison Lee on Dec. 13.

Murdaugh faces 48 additional charges related to alleged theft and money laundering of $6.2 million in settlement funds and attorney fees. If convicted of all charges, Murdaugh faces a sentence of more than 500 years in jail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.