Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to Double-Life in Prison
Convicted murderer gets head shaved ahead of prison booking
March 3, 2023
Alex Murdaugh is facing the stark reality of spending the rest of his life behind bars in a state prison surrounded by the country's most violent offenders.
The disgraced legal scion appeared with a shaved head in a yellow jumpsuit after being booked into South Carolina's Kirkland Reception and Evaluation Center on Friday.
Murdaugh was earlier sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murders of his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, at their sprawling hunting estate in Moselle on the night of June 7, 2021.
He will spend the next few weeks at the R&E facility where he faces rigorous testing before he will be assigned to a permanent state prison. As he is a double murderer, he will be housed with the state's most brutal and violent inmates.
The life he faces is a far cry from the privileged world of multi-million dollar homes from the coast to the hunting lands of the Lowcountry to which he has grown accustomed in his 54 years.
'As part of the intake process, like all inmates, (Murdaugh) will undergo medical tests, mental health and education assessments, and the South Carolina Department of Corrections will gather other additional background information,' the South Carolina Department of Corrections said in a statement.
After the evaluation, Murdaugh will be sent to one of the state's maximum-security prisons to serve out the rest of his life behind bars.
Kirkland is home to more than 1,700 of the most violent criminals in the state and churns through more than 8,000 prisoners each year for evaluation.
As well as serving as the processing site for all of the state's convicts, it is also home to a specialized maximum-security jail for the most dangerous and violent offenders.
Adjacent to the prison is the Broad River Correctional Institution which houses both high and medium-security inmates.
More than 700 prisoners died in South Carolina's prisons and jails between 2015 and 2021. The majority of those deaths occurred at Kirkland (160) and Broad River (101).
'Kirkland is also responsible for the maximum-security unit which houses some of the most violent and dangerous inmates in the state,' the site's website says.
'Furthermore, Kirkland Correctional Center houses inmates who are in the statewide protective custody program.'
Trial attorney Robert Rikard tweeted last night ahead of Murdaugh's sentencing: 'Tomorrow will be a much different day for Murdaugh. After sentencing instead of going to the county jail he will go to Reception and Evaluation on Broad River Rd.
'They'll shave his head and put him through a battery of tests that vet weeks.
'Then he will be assigned to a SC Department of Corrections facility. Because he's convicted of a violent crime, he will go to a facility that only houses the violent criminals. The worst of the worst.
'It will be a much different scene than the county jail. These are brutal environments and it will be quite a shock after the privileged life he has lived.'
Judge Clifton Newman issued a searing sentencing earlier, describing Murdaugh as a 'monster' who continued to lie even when the evidence was damning.
'This case qualifies under our death penalty statute based on the statutory aggravating circumstances of two or more people being murdered by the defendant by one act or pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct. I don't question at all the decision of the state not to pursue the death penalty.
'But as I sit here in this courtroom and look around at the many portraits of judges and other court officials and reflect on the fact that over the past century, your family, including you, have been prosecuting people here in this courtroom and many have received the death penalty, probably for lesser conduct.
'Remind me of the expression you gave on the witness stand. Oh, what a tangled web we weave. What did you mean by that?'
'I meant when I lied, I continued to lie,' Murdaugh replied.
'And the question is when will it end? When will it end? And it has ended already for the jury, because they've concluded that you continue to lie and lied throughout your testimony. And perhaps with all the throng of people here, they, for the most part, all believe or 80, 90& or 99% believe that you continue to lie now when your statement of denial to the court.'
Prosecutor Creighton Waters said none of the victims of the crime – members of Murdaugh's family and the parents and relatives of his wife – wished to speak on behalf of the prosecution before sentencing.
'The depravity, the callousness, the selfishness of these crimes are stunning. The lack of remorse and the effortless way in which he is, including here, sitting right over there in this witness stand – your honor, a man like that, a man like this man, should never be allowed to be among free, law-abiding citizens,' Waters said.
He learned his fate in the same courtroom on the circuit where his father, grandfather and great-grandfather tried cases as the elected prosecutor for more than 80 years.