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Crime News

$15M Wrongful Death Settlement Reached in Murdaugh Boating Crash That Killed Mallory Beach

Paul Murdaugh was 19 when he allegedly drove a boat under the influence and crashed, leaving 19-year-old Mallory Beach dead. 

By Elisabeth Ford
Fatal Boat Accident Part of Murdaugh Story

A series of lawsuits over the fatal boating accident involving the younger son of disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh have been settled, attorneys say.

In February of 2019, a boat that Paul Murdaugh, 19 at the time, was allegedly operating under the influence crashed into a bridge piling in a Hilton Head-area creek, throwing 19-year-old Mallory Beach into the water, ultimately killing her. Beach’s body was found a week later.

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh Indicted for Allegedly Defrauding Dead Housekeeper’s Family, Multiple Clients

As of Sunday, all lawsuits relating to the deadly crash have been settled, including those from the four other teenagers who were on board that night, NBC News reported, citing two lawyers familiar with the negotiations.

According to a police report obtained by NBC News, all the passengers on the boat were “grossly intoxicated,” though under the legal drinking age. Authorities said alcohol was found on the boat. A security video showed that Paul illegally purchasing alcohol earlier that evening, using the ID of his brother, Richard Alexander “Buster” Murdaugh Jr., to do so, according to police.

An image of Mallory Beach

Paul was awaiting trial for charges in the boat crash case when he and his mother, Margaret, 52, were fatally shot at their family hunting estate in June of 2021. Alex Murdaugh was convicted in March of murdering his son and wife.

Prosecutors alleged that Murdaugh killed his family to distract from growing financial problems. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh Asks Court To Vacate $4.3M Judgement for Dead Housekeeper’s Family

A trial for one of the claims in the boat crash had been expected to move forward against Murdaugh, who was the owner of the vessel, before all claims were settled, NBC News reported.

Parker’s Corporation, which owns the convenience store where Paul purchased alcohol the night of the crash, was a target of one of the lawsuits, and reached a $15 million wrongful death settlement with the Beach family, Fox News reported, citing the family’s attorneys.

Maggie And Paul Murdaugh Spotlight 5

"It wasn't about the money, but that's a number that represents a level of accountability that they hope would make people who sell alcohol take their responsibility seriously and keep it out of the hands of minors," the Beach family’s attorney, Mark Tinsley, told the outlet. "The Beach family didn't want this settlement confidential because they want other ‘Greg Parker’s' to know, that if you sell alcohol illegally, you will be held accountable."

The wrongful death lawsuit trial that was set for August 14 against Murdaugh and store operator Greg Parker has been called off, Fox News reported.

Buster and the estate of Maggie reached a settlement with the Beach family in January.

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh ‘Invented’ Story about Dogs' Involvement in Housekeeper’s 2018 Death

"The Beach family’s fight is not over," attorney Taylor Vaux, also representing the Beach family, told Fox News. "The [civil] conspiracy case is alive and active and we look forward to exposing the corruption and the depths to which Parker's was willing to harass and intimidate the Beaches, trying to diminish their resolve to hold those accountable who contributed to the preventable death of their daughter."

Meanwhile, lawyers for Parker’s Corporation said in a statement Sunday that the retailer’s insurers opted to settle out of court in an attempt to avoid costs stemming from unfavorable views of Murdaugh,

"The unfairness of that caused Parker’s insurance carriers to resolve these suits to avoid paying the likely award intended to punish Alex Murdaugh," lawyer PK Shere said in a statement, according to NBC News.

He added, "This marks the conclusion of all the boat crash cases. We sincerely hope that all involved parties will find some measure of closure."

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