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Alex Murdaugh ‘Invented’ Story about Dogs' Involvement in Housekeeper’s 2018 Death
"No dogs were involved in the fall of Gloria Satterfield on February 2, 2018,” Alex Murdaugh's lawyers said in newly filed court documents.
Disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh, who is serving a life sentence for the murders of his son and wife, has now admitted to lying about the sudden 2018 death of his long-time housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, according to new court documents.
Murdaugh is currently being sued by Nautilus, the insurance company that's accused Murdaugh of committing insurance fraud in his fabrication of certain events surrounding Satterfield’s death.
In documents filed by Murdaugh’s legal team on Monday as part of the ongoing case, the former lawyer conceded that he’d concocted a false narrative involving the family’s pet dogs, which he’d initially blamed for causing Satterfield’s death.
Murdaugh had initially claimed Satterfield told him she'd tripped and fell over the dogs while walking up the stairs at his hime, prior to losing consciousness and being taken to the hospital. The claim, Murdaugh now says, was “invented,” according to ABC News, which cited court records.
“No dogs were involved in the fall of Gloria Satterfield on February 2, 2018,” Murdaugh’s lawyers wrote in federal court documents, according to the outlet. “After Ms. Satterfield’s death, Defendant invented Ms. Satterfield’s purported statement that dogs caused her fall to force his insurers to make a settlement payment, and he stated that she was not on the property to perform work.”
In February 2018, Satterfield died under suspicious circumstances when she allegedly suffered a fatal “trip and fall” down a flight of stairs at Murdaugh’s hunting estate in Moselle. Satterfield died at a North Charleston hospital after suffering a stroke and going into cardiac arrest, according to separate court documents.
Satterfield’s family have claimed that Murdaugh approached them in the immediate aftermath of the housekeeper’s death, suggesting they sue him, with the goal of forcing his insurance company paying out the claim. Murdaugh, however, later pocketed $4.3 million of the insurance settlement, which her children never received
“Beginning in July 2021 and continuing through the filing of this action, Nautilus became aware for the first time of facts regarding the Satterfield claims, allegations of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and allegations of criminal conduct,” the lawsuit states.
Murdaugh, however, “denies the existence of any conspiracy to improperly cause Nautilus to pay a fraudulent claim,” according to federal court documents.
Nonetheless, the case’s judge had previously cast doubt on Murdaugh’s credibility.
“Murdaugh is manifestly not a credible witness,” U.S. District Judge Richard Mark Gergel wrote in a court order last month. “Evidence offered during the Defendant’s trial established without question that Murdaugh is a serial liar and fraudster who stole from his clients and law partners. He now stands convicted of the double homicide of his wife and son. It is difficult to imagine a less credible witness under these circumstances.”
Palmetto State Bank, Moss & Kuhn, P.A., Cory Fleming and Chad Westendorf are named as co-conspirators in the alleged insurance fraud scheme, according to court documents.
Murdaugh was convicted and sentenced to two consecutive sentences of life in prison without the possibility for parole in the 2021 murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, Paul Murdaugh. Murdaugh, who is expected to appeal the sentence, has maintained his innocence.
The former South Carolina attorney was also charged with a bevy of financial crimes in the wake of his wife and son’s slayings, and was pushed out at his own family’s law firm for allegedly embezzling client funds. Prosecutors say Murdaugh again carried out insurance fraud when he allegedly staged his attempted assisted suicide as a murder shortly after the double homicide.
In September of 2021, South Carolina authorities announced an investigation into Satterfield’s death. Following his conviction for his wife and son's murders in March, Satterfield’s family called for the dead housekeeper’s body to be exhumed for the purposes of performing a new autopsy to see if she’d met with foul play.
"The police have some doubts about Alex's story,” Eric Bland, an attorney representing Satterfield’s family, told NewsNation. “He told an insurance adjuster exactly what he thought happened, which is that the dogs pushed Gloria down the stairs. It's gonna be difficult when they exhume her body ... to really determine were those done by human hands or by the fall.”
No homicide charges have been filed in connection with Satterfield’s death.