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Alex Murdaugh taken into custody by SLED, waives extradition

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 10:51 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 15, 2021 at 4:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Alex Murdaugh was taken into custody Thursday by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to be charged in connection with the alleged misappropriated settlement funds in the death of his former housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

According to Satterfield’s obituary, she died at the age of 57 on February 26, 2018, at Trident Medical Center. Her death was attributed to injuries she sustained after “a trip and fall accident,” according to the settlement reached between Satterfield’s estate and Alex Murdaugh after her death.

According to the attorney for Satterfield’s estate, Eric Bland, Satterfield’s children never received a “dime” from the more than $4 million settlement reached between their first lawyer after their mother’s death, Cory Fleming, and Murdaugh.

Murdaugh was taken into custody by SLED agents at a rehabilitation facility in Orlando. He is charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, according to SLED.

Murdaugh is being held in Orange County Corrections until he can be extradited. Once back in the state, officials say he’ll receive a bond hearing.

“Alex Murdaugh was taken into custody this morning at a Florida rehabilitation center. Alex is expected to be transported by SLED to Beaufort County where he will appear before a Magistrate for a bond hearing tomorrow,” wrote Murdaugh’s lawyers Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin in a statement to the press. Harpootlian and Griffin added that Murdaugh intends to “fully cooperate” with this investigation.

Jim Griffin’s secretary says the extradition hearing is set to take place tomorrow at 1 p.m. in Florida. Murdaugh will then be transported to the Beaufort County Detention Center where he will be held until his arraignment and bond hearing. They expect the earliest a bond hearing will be held is on Monday in Beaufort.

The Attorney General’s Office says Murdaugh’sbond hearing on charges of obtaining property by false pretenses will take place on Tuesday, October 19 at 10 a.m.

The head of SLED said what happened today is just another step in a longer process.

“[SLED agents] will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others. As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel.

In an interview with WIS, Bland said he also expects more charges to come against Alex Murdaugh in this case.

“Today’s charges are a rifle shot. Obviously, he is only charged with two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses class felony. So, there are three checks he misappropriated,” Bland claimed. “There are also additional counts of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, [and] it’s not a stretch to say he probably didn’t report $3.6 million on his income tax return.”

The lawyer said he is still working to figure out where the millions of dollars in the wrongful death settlement between Murdaugh and the estate went.

Bland also described Murdaugh as a “dangerous man” who should’ve been arrested in connection to this case earlier. But said he received a call from Chief Keel this morning letting him know about the arrest.

“He has had the better of a month and a half to manipulate his money, to move it around, to take certain actions...He is not only committing crimes with a pen in my case but with a gun in his case,” Bland said alluding to the suicide-for-hire plot Murdaugh that lead to Murdaugh being charged with insurance fraud.

When asked if he still feels confident Satterfied’s death was an accident Bland explained he hasn’t seen anything to contradict that story.

“Everything I am told and I’m learning is consistent with an accidental death with the dogs tripping her down the stairs of the Moselle property. Those are about eight very steep brick stairs that are round and pointed, pointed with a sharp edge, so it’s consistent with a fall,” he said.

However, Bland said while his clients are grateful for the progress in the case they still do not feel a sense of closure.

“They are not at peace with their mother’s death. They can’t be all of this has brought up this fresh scab and picked it. So no they are not at peace,” Bland said.

On Friday, Murdaugh waived his right for an extradition hearing.

This story is developing and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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