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Crime News

Family Of Gloria Satterfield, Alex Murdaugh's Housekeeper, Breaks Silence On Alleged Plot To Bilk Them Of Settlement

In an interview with NBC’s “Dateline,” Gloria Satterfield's family members speak of her death after an alleged “slip and fall” accident, as well as Alex Murdaugh's alleged attempt to bamboozle her sons.

By Kevin Dolak
Alex Murdaugh Surrenders As Alleged Suicide Plot Unravels

The family of Gloria Satterfield, the longtime housekeeper for jailed South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh’s family, sat for an interview airing Friday in which they speak publicly about her 2018 death on his property for the first time and discuss the allegations that the jailed scion to a generation-spanning legal dynasty schemed to bilk them of millions in insurance money. 

In an interview with NBC’s “Dateline” set to air Friday, October 29 at 9 p.m. ET, Satterfield's family members speak of her death after what Murdaugh said in 2018 was a “slip and fall” accident; she tripped over the family dogs by some stairs at their Hampton home. It’s unclear if the Murdaugh family called 911 after the February 26, 2018 accident or how Satterfield was transported to the hospital, where she died 10 days later, as attorney Eric Bland noted in a statement on his law firm’s website last month. 

His firm, Bland Richter, represents Michael Satterfield and Brian Harriott, the late housekeeper’s two sons and the sole heirs to her estate, following her death at the age of 57.  On Oct. 4, the firm reached a settlement with Cory Fleming, a close associate of Murdaugh’s; Fleming is the attorney that he ushered Satterfield’s sons towards after approaching them at their mother’s funeral. There he encouraged them to bring legal claims in connection to her accidental death on his property, as Bland previously told Oxygen.com

Ginger Harriott Hadwin, Satterfield's sister, questioned Murdaugh’s motivates during this incredible moment of grief and loss for her family while speaking at the sit-down interview with NBC News correspondent Craig Melvin. NBC released a few moments from the clip before it airs on Friday night. 

"Did he have that going through his mind that day when we buried Gloria, and thinking, 'Oh, how much money am I gonna get? How can I get this?'” she asked rhetorically.

"Why would we not think that?" she replied ,when asked by Melvin if she believes Murdaugh launched his elaborate grift at the funeral. 

While holding back tears, Satterfield's brother, Eric Harriott, Jr., assured Melvin that “it’s not about the money” for the family of the late housekeeper, who was so devoted to the Alex Murdaugh, his wife and their two sons, whom she looked after for 20 years, that her obituary names several Murdaughs as “those she loved as her family.” 

"It's like she was a nobody, as much as she's done for him," Harriott said of Murdaugh’s alleged scheme to bamboozle the sons.

Rather than choosing a Satterfield family member to represent the late housekeeper’s estate in the legal proceedings, Fleming appointed a prior colleague of his and Murdaugh’s, Chad Westendorf. From that point, Westendorf was the only one to petition the court for approval of future settlements, and a figure of roughly $505,000 was agreed upon after Murdaugh admitted negligence. Satterfield’s sons did not participate in the settlement negotiations or sign any agreements; according to Bland, the sons only learned that a petition for a $505,000 settlement in their mother’s death had been entered after reading a newspaper article regarding a deadly  2019 boating accident involving Murdaugh’s son.

According to the 2018 settlement document, the wrongful death claim was concluded and Murdaugh’s insurer paid out a sum of $500,000 for personal liability and $5,000 in a medical payment.

In September, Bland filed a lawsuit on behalf of Satterfield’s sons after he said he found a missing judge's order approving a $4.3 million settlement in the housekeeper’s death. The document, which he previously told Oxygen.com had no court terming or case number, had been signed by a judge based on what had been presented in court — but it was never filed.

Murdaugh, who over Labor Day weekend was shot in the head, then was accused of attempting assisted suicide, then entered rehab after separately being accused of embezzling millions from his family's legacy law firm, was arrested on Oct. 14 for misappropriation of the settlement funds. Last week, he was returned to his jail cell by a judge after a bond hearing, pending a mental health evaluation. He is currently jailed in Richland County, facing charges of insurance fraud and filing a false police report in regard to the roadside shooting and two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.

Murdaugh’s attorneys have said that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s assertion that their client attempted to die by assisted suicide in the hopes of “allowing a beneficiary to collect life insurance” is, in fact, true. Murdaugh allegedly wanted an associate of his to kill him so Buster Murdaugh, his surviving son, would receive $10 million from his life insurance policy. 

Attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian released a statement weeks after Murdaugh was shot, saying that their client was pushed to suicide by multiple individuals that were feeding his addiction to opioids. This, combined with the deaths of his wife and son, nudged him towards the edge, they said. 

On June 7, Murdaugh found his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, shot to death on their hunting property in Islandton. The investigation into their deaths is ongoing and police have named no suspects.

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