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Crime News Alex Murdaugh: Death. Deception. Power.

'A Jekyll And Hyde Character': What Happened On Night Of Fatal Accident On Murdaugh Boat?

In the new Oxygen special "Alex Murdaugh. Death. Deception. Power," host Troy Roberts takes a deeper look into a fatal boat accident that claimed the life of teenager Mallory Beach.

By Becca van Sambeck

You can watch "Alex Mudaugh. Death. Deception. Power." here or on Peacock starting January 6.

In 2021, a double homicide shook the sleepy community of Islandton, South Carolina.

On June 7, Alex Murdaugh, a prominent lawyer in the area, called 911 to report he had found his wife, Maggie, and his 22-year-old son, Paul, had been shot, according to SLED and The New York Times

Investigators started to work on the case, but strange twists and turns would occur — Alex himself was arrested in September after, according to SLED, he conspired with another individual “to assist him in committing suicide for the explicit purpose of allowing a beneficiary to collect life insurance.” He was arrested again the following month after investigators alleged he secretly diverted funds from a wrongful death settlement meant for the family of his long-time housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. 

 His attorneys have said in a statement to Oxygen.com that his “life has been devastated” and admitted the prominent attorney had been struggling with a secret addiction to opioids for two decades. 

Alex is currently in jail, facing criminal charges connected to the alleged suicide plot and the misappropriated settlement funds. He has not yet entered pleas in connection with any of the charges he faces. Central aspects of the case — including who killed his wife and son — remain unsolved. The charges against Alex are explored in the new Oxygen special "Alex Murdaugh. Death. Deception. Power." 

The special also dives into a fatal boat accident that occurred in the early morning hours of Feb. 24, 2019 on a boat belonging to Alex Murdaugh. Paul Murdaugh, his girlfriend, Morgan Doughty, and friends Connor Cook, Miley Altman, Anthony Cook, and Mallory Beach had all met at Paul’s home around 6:30 p.m. on February 23 before taking the boat to an oyster roast, local station WCBD reports. After leaving the roast, they headed to a bar in Beaufort, where Paul and Connor went inside and did shots.

Paul seemed drunk and “everybody” had tried to stop him from driving the boat after leaving the bar, according to Altman’s deposition filed in connection with a wrongful death lawsuit brought by Renee Beach, Mallory’s mother.

“I yelled at him once and he just told me, he was, like, sit, shut the eff up and sit the eff down,” Altman said in the deposition. “Nobody else is driving my boat.”

On the way back, the boat crashed into Archers Creek Bridge. Beach, 19, was thrown off the boat and killed. Paul would later be indicted on three felony counts of boating under the influence, although there remains questions about whether or not he was driving the boat at the time of the crash. 

In "Alex Murdaugh. Death. Deception. Power.," more light is shed on the night in question. Paul apparently had an "alter ego" they called Timmy when he was drunk, and became a "Jekyll and Hyde character" with his anger, Michael DeWitt, editor with The Hampton County Guardian, told the special's host, journalist Troy Roberts.

He had gotten into a conflict at the bar with another patron, and when he left he was very drunk and very angry, Seton Tucker, host of podcast "Impact Of Influence," explained, adding he even got in a altercation with girlfriend Doughty once back on the boat.

Doughty would later testify in her deposition, according to WSAV, that Beach had been “scared” and wanted them to leave the boat or let someone else drive it, but just moments later someone “slammed” the throttle and the boat crashed into the bridge, sending Beach flying overboard. Her body was found eight days later about five miles from the crash site.

Although the friends couldn’t be sure who had pushed the throttle, Anthony Cook said in his deposition that he imagined it was Paul. “I mean, he was the one behind the steering wheel when it happened,” Cook said.

As David Lucas, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, told Oxygen.com, Paul’s blood alcohol content was not taken at the crash site.  Paul’s blood was drawn at the hospital around 4 a.m. The results from the hospital indicated the BAC was .286%, according to records obtained by the SCDNR, more than three times the state’s legal limit of .08%.

On police dash cam footage obtained by "Alex Murdaugh. Death. Deception. Power," Anthony's fury at Paul after the accident is shown.

"Get that mothef--ker away from me ... my girlfriend is gone," Anthony is heard saying. He refused medical attention so he could aid in the hunt for Mallory, while the other four were sent to the hospital. There, Paul acted "rude," "aggressive," and "belligerent," according to documents obtained by the show. Ultimately, he had to be restrained.

"He was acting so bizarre they thought he might have a brain injury so that's why his blood alcohol was taken at the hospital," Tucker claimed.

Paul's father, Alex, showed up at the hospital that night. Connor Cook would later testify in his deposition that Alex stopped him to tell him, "I just needed to keep my mouth shut and tell them I didn't know who was driving." Alex also tried to get into Doughty's hospital room, and staff had to warn him to stay in his son's room, according to the special. It was "chaos" at the hospital that night, Roberts said, with many claiming they suspected Alex was trying to interfere with the investigation to protect his son.

"You know Alex Murdaugh? That's his son driving the boat. Good luck," Anthony is heard saying on police dash cam footage obtained by "Alex Murdaugh. Death. Deception. Power."

Although Paul pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against him, he’d never see his day in court and was shot to death before a trial could ever begin. The wrongful death suit filed by Mallory’s mother remains pending.