Letter confirms solicitor removed himself from prosecuting Murdaugh killing cases
BLUFFTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A letter sent by the 14th circuit solicitor confirms he has recused himself from prosecuting any cases in the shooting deaths of two members of a prominent Lowcountry family.
In a letter dated Aug. 11, Solicitor Duffie Stone told South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson that he intended to recuse himself from the investigations into the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
Stone asks Wilson to “assume all prosecutorial functions in this matter effective immediately” and states the request came “considering the events of today” in the State Law Enforcement Division’s investigation of the double shooting.
The letter does not specify what details Stone is referring to in making the request.
Stone said he was also informing SLED Chief Mark Keel of the decision.
SLED spokesman Tommy Crosby said Thursday morning that the agency’s investigation into the killings remains active and declined to provide details about any events in the investigation might have led to Stone’s letter. Crosby referred all questions about prosecution in the case to either the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office.
“We can confirm that we’ve received Solicitor Stone’s letter,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said Thursday morning. “We cannot comment further.”
So it remains unclear whether Wilson will indeed assume the prosecutorial role if anyone is arrested in the slayings.
Stone made his first public comment about the killings on June 21, saying his office recognized the “high degree of public interest” regarding the deaths, but that it was “neither prudent nor proper” for him to comment on particulars of this or any case while it remained under investigation.
“To do so would risk interfering with the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division’s investigation,” he said.
Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son, Paul, 22, were found gunned down at their hunting property in the rural Colleton County community of Islandton on June 7.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office responded to the scene that night after Alex Murdaugh, Maggie’s husband and Paul’s father, discovered them. The State Law Enforcement Division was called in and took over the investigation.
The Murdaughs were both shot multiple times, investigators confirmed.
The family has strong connections to the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, which serves Allendale, Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper Counties.
Members of the Murdaugh family ran the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office for about 87 years. When that position became an elected position in 1920, Randolph Murdaugh Sr., Paul Murdaugh’s great great grandfather, became the first man elected to the role. He served until he died in a train accident in 1940. His son, Randolph Murdaugh Jr., took over the position after his father’s death and served until his retirement in 1987.
His son, Randolph Murdaugh III, the grandfather of Paul Murdaugh, became solicitor and served until 2006 when he left to focus on his private law practice.
The Murdaugh family announced in late June a $100,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers.
To be eligible for the reward, which the release states will be administered through the law firm of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick, the tip must be called in to SLED’s tip line at 803-896-2605 and must be received by Sept. 30.
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