Paul Murdaugh, the grandson of a prominent South Carolina prosecutor, was murdered alongside his mother last Monday while awaiting trial for a 2019 boating accident that killed a 19-year-old girl. Murdaugh and his mother, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, were shot multiple times near a dog kennel on family property in Islandton, South Carolina.
Three days after the horrific murder, Paul Murdaugh’s grandfather, 81-year-old Randolph Murdaugh III, died. The cause of death has not been revealed. Randolph Murdaugh was the son and grandson of South Carolina prosecutors and had become a prominent one himself, serving as the elected solicitor in the 14th Circuit from 1987 to 2005.
Randolph Murdaugh’s death was announced by his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick on Thursday, just a day before Friday’s graveside services for his grandson, Paul, and daughter-in-law, Maggie Murdaugh. Investigators have not released any information regarding Randolph’s death, or whether the three incidents were connected.
Paul Murdaugh was murdered while awaiting trial for killing Mallory Beach in 2019 while drunkenly driving a boat. The boat crashed, sending Beach overboard, and her body was found a week later. Paul was the apparent target of the shooting, investigators said, who have allegedly ruled out the killing of Paul and his mother as a murder-suicide.
Beach’s family released a statement through their lawyer regarding the losses the Murdaugh family has suffered. “Having suffered the devastating loss of their daughter, the family prays that the Murdaughs can find some level of peace from this tragic loss,” the family said in the statement. “They would like the family and the community to know that their thoughts and continued prayers are with the Murdaughs.”
According to statements made during Paul’s ongoing trial, Paul Murdaugh had a drunken alter ego, which his friends said was terrifying. Paul was drunk on the tragic 2019 night when Mallory Beach was killed. The heir to the prominent Murdaugh name was called “Timmy” when he was drunk, due to the differing nature between his sober self and drunken form.
“It’s a different name because he turns into a completely — totally different person,” Anthony Cook, Beach’s boyfriend, and Murdaugh’s cousin said in a deposition. “So somebody will say, ‘All right. Here comes Timmy. We got to go.’”
Beach’s family filed a civil case against the Murdaugh family, and the trial has been ongoing since 2019. At the time of the killing, Murdaugh had allegedly stripped down to his underwear after arguments broke out on the boat between the six individuals on board.
“He started taking his clothes off during one of the arguments, and it is 40 degrees outside,” Cook recalled. “I’ve seen him do it a few times when gets drunk. I don’t know why he does that.”
The passengers then urged Murdaugh to take the boat home, but he drove in circles instead. He also reportedly physically assaulted another passenger, assumed to be his girlfriend. The boat, which was in the water near Hilton Head Island, crashed, killing the University of South Carolina student.
The murder of Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, have not led to any arrests, and no suspects have been identified by investigators. It is still unclear whether the murder is connected to the 2019 incident, or if the shooting is unrelated.
Randolph Murdaugh III’s law firm issued a statement via social media on Tuesday, saying that “The Murdaugh family and PMPED wish to thank everyone for the many calls and condolences in the aftermath of the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. We ask for your continued patience and prayers through this tragic time.”
The statement continued, requesting that anyone with information “please contact law enforcement.” The death of Randolph Murdaugh III is still shrouded in mystery. Police are closing in on the 14-day deadline to release their reports to the public.