The South Carolina judge in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial said at a panel at Cleveland State University Tuesday that he doesn’t believe the convicted killer despised his wife or son.
“In my mind, no doubt he loved his family. I don’t believe that he hated his wife and certainly do not believe he did not love his son, but he committed an unforgivable, unimaginable crime and there’s no way that he’ll be able to sleep peacefully,” said Judge Clifton Newman, elaborating on a comment he made at Murdaugh’s March 3 sentencing in Colleton County.
Newman told the disgraced lawyer when he handed him two terms of life in prison for the slaying of his wife, Maggie, 52, and his son, Paul, 22, that they would haunt him for the rest of his life.
“And I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the nighttime when you’re attempting to go to sleep. I’m sure they come to visit you,” Newman said in court.
CONVICTED KILLER ALEX MURDAUGH SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON
The South Carolina circuit judge stood by his decision to allow in pivotal evidence of Murdaugh’s expansive financial crimes, telling the spectators, “Once a defendant takes the stand and testifies, almost everything is fair game at that point.”
At the defense’s request and over the objection of lead prosecutor Creighton Waters, Newman allowed jurors to visit Moselle, the 1,700-acre hunting estate where Murdaugh slaughtered his wife and son on June 9, 2021.
ALEX MURDAUGH: TIMELINE OF ONCE-POWERFUL SOUTH CAROLINA LAWYER’S SPECTACULAR DOWNFALL
“It ended up, I thought, being helpful to the prosecution and not to the defense though requested by the defense,” the judge said in the 75-minute video posted to the Cleveland State University College of Law’s website.
It took the jury just three hours to convict Murdaugh, 54, of all counts after a six-week trial, which many legal experts described as an unusually swift verdict.
But Newman disagreed, calling the speed of the decision “about normal as far as I’m concerned.” Murdaugh has insisted he’s innocent, and his lawyers have filed a notice of appeal.
MURDAUGH MOSELLE ESTATE ITEMS SELL FOR BIG BUCKS AS BUYERS DESCEND ON SOUTH CAROLINA AUCTION
Newman, who graduated from the law school in 1976, was the valedictorian and president of the student body, according to a statement from the university.
Dean Lee Fisher called Newman, “the best known judge in the world right now.”
Newman is also assigned to Murdaugh’s financial crimes trial. The disbarred South Carolina attorney has been indicted on 99 counts stemming from the theft of nearly $9 million from his former law firm and clients.
The Murdaugh hunting estate in Hampton County sold Thursday for $3.9 million. Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster, will receive $530,000 from the proceeds and the remainder will be divvied up among creditors.