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Live updates Wednesday: Silence on solicitor conflicts in Murdaugh case

·3 min read

As South Carolina’s top law enforcement agency broke its silence Tuesday on the Murdaugh double homicide investigation and created a new tip line Wednesday, the area’s top prosecutor is still not saying whether his office is involved in that investigation.

After nine days, the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office has yet to recuse itself or acknowledge a role in finding who killed Paul Murdaugh, 22, and his mother, Maggie, 52.

No arrests have been made and no suspects have been named in the Murdaugh murders. The two were fatally shot outside their home in Colleton County on June 7.

CONFLICTS OF INTEREST IN DOUBLE HOMICIDE CASE?

Wednesday, 2:44 p.m.: The top prosecutor in the region, whose office has close family ties to the Murdaughs, is refusing to say what role his office is playing in the investigation into the deaths of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.

In 2019, the day after the fatal boat crash, 14th Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone recused his office from the investigation, citing the family ties as a conflict of interest.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Solicitor’s Office said, it would be “unethical for our office to be involved in prosecuting or sorting out the facts of any case in which material witnesses, potential defendants or victims have a familial relationship with someone in our office.”

He added the Solicitor’s Office is “not typically involved in a criminal investigation until after a law-enforcement agency brings a charge. However, it is not unusual for those agencies to seek guidance from our attorneys on legal questions involving their cases.”

Stone is the first elected 14th Circuit Solicitor who is not related to the Murdaugh family. He was appointed to the job by the governor in 2006.

Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, left, introduces S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, who delivered the keynote address during Thursday’s ceremony opening the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center. The center, the first of its kind in South Carolina, provides services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes against vulnerable populations. The facilities include an exam room and forensic interview room.
Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor Duffie Stone, left, introduces S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson, who delivered the keynote address during Thursday’s ceremony opening the 14th Circuit Victims Services Center. The center, the first of its kind in South Carolina, provides services for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other crimes against vulnerable populations. The facilities include an exam room and forensic interview room.

- Lana Ferguson, Kacen Bayless

MURDAUGH’S FAMILY TREE

Wednesday, 2:06 p.m.: Everyone in small-town Hampton has known the Murdaughs for generations, first as neighbors then for their mega-successful law firm.

For the past few years, the name’s reach has stretched further into the Lowcountry, especially among newcomers, first because of the fatal 2019 Beaufort County boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach and now the double homicide of Paul and Maggie.

Read a who’s who of the family and others related to the boat crash here: Who’s who? How all the figures in Murdaugh murders and 2019 boat crash are connected

Portraits of Randolph “Buster” Murdaugh Jr. (left), Randolph Murdaugh III and Randolph Murdaugh Sr., hang in a courtroom in Hampton County’s Courthouse in Hampton, SC. Three generations of the Murdaugh family have served as solicitors for the 14th Circuit.
Portraits of Randolph “Buster” Murdaugh Jr. (left), Randolph Murdaugh III and Randolph Murdaugh Sr., hang in a courtroom in Hampton County’s Courthouse in Hampton, SC. Three generations of the Murdaugh family have served as solicitors for the 14th Circuit.

- Lana Ferguson

SLED TIP LINE

Wednesday, 1:28 p.m.: The S.C. Law Enforcement Division, which is the lead investigating agency on the Murdaugh double homicide case, has set up a 24-hour tip line for any member of the public to call with information. The number is 803-896-2605.

In the nine days between the murder and the establishment of the tip line, SLED had directed people to contact CRIMESTOPPERS.

- Lana Ferguson

FOX NATION PERSONALITY COMMENTS ON MURDERS

Tuesday morning: Nancy Grace, a veteran news anchor and current host of America’s Most Wanted Overtime, appeared on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, talking about the Murdaugh double homicide.

“My instincts tell me that this was a targeted hit” meant for Paul Murdaugh, and that Maggie Murdaugh was “collateral damage,” Grace said, echoing The Island Packet reporting saying that is one avenue sources have said they are investigating.

She also speculated their deaths may be related to the 2019 boat crash, which officials have not confirmed.

“What was the motivation other than anger or revenge?” she asks.

Her passionate interview has garnered a lot of attention online.

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Something to note: The TV anchor and Grace wrongly state Paul Murdaugh was named as a defendant in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Beach family. He was never a defendant, but his brother, father, and grandfather were all named in the original suit. The grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh III, was later removed. The anchor also misstates when Murdaugh III died. He died on June 10 after being seriously ill for some time.

- Lana Ferguson

Follow our previous coverage here.

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