Satterfield attorneys say Murdaugh’s latest court filing is meant to ‘victimize’ family again

Published: May. 8, 2023 at 8:51 AM EDT
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WIS) - The attorneys for the family of Gloria Satterfield are calling the latest filing by Alex Murdaugh and his defense team “a misinformation campaign.”

Satterfield, the longtime Murdaugh family housekeeper, died after an accident at the family estate in 2018.

In court documents last week, Murdaugh suggested that Nautilus, the insurance company suing him for $3.8 million, should look to the Satterfield family for the money.

“It’s just almost a perversion of the justice system to suggest that the Satterfield family be victimized again,” Eric Bland, Satterfield family attorney, said during a news conference on Monday.

The Satterfield attorneys, Bland and Ronnie Richter, also released a new investigative report made after Satterfield’s death, which corroborates Murdaugh’s original claim that the family dogs had something to do with her death.

In court filings last week, Murdaugh now said he “invented” the story about the dogs so that he could collect millions in settlement money from Nautilus, money that the Satterfield family never received.

Lawyers for the Satterfield family have recovered more than $7.5 million for their clients from other parties involved with Murdaugh’s scheme to take the settlement money himself.

However, none of that money came directly from Nautilus, the attorneys argued.

“There’s a signed settlement agreement in which Nautilus Insurance Company agrees to pay the Satterfields $3.8 million,” Richter said. “That did not happen. That payment was intercepted by Alex Murdaugh and stolen.”

The attorneys say that Murdaugh’s shifting story about what led to Satterfield’s death is a “false narrative.”

In a document released by Bland and Richter on Monday, Maggie Murdaugh said “the four dogs were walking near Satterfield” when she found her.

Paul Murdaugh told investigators that he remembers his father returning home the day Satterfield fell, asking what happened and Gloria saying “something about dogs.”

In an interview with Bryant McGowan, an insurance investigator, after Satterfield’s death, Murdaugh backed up the original claim.

When asked if Satterfield described the chain of events to him, Murdaugh responded, “She indicated that the dogs had caused her to fall.”

Bland called the assertion that the Satterfields pay up for money Murdaugh himself stole, along with his new narrative about the dogs, “just more spin” by the now-convicted killer.

“All of a sudden now Alex is the modicum of honesty, the modicum of truth,” he said. “He doesn’t tell you where the money went, the $3.8 million. He doesn’t tell you how Gloria died.”

In suggesting that the Satterfield family be made party to the lawsuit, the filing from Murdaugh’s defense notes that the family has recovered more than the money initially owed to them.

Richter responded to that on Monday.

“Legally, technically, we never got the $3.8 million from Nautilus Insurance Company,” he said. “Now you would say, well, ‘We’re made whole by the other recoveries.’ We don’t think that’s true at all. We think that the Satterfield claims are worth well in excess of even the money that we recovered because it’s not just you putting the cookie back in the cookie jar. There has to be a consequence for what happened.”

Bland and Richter argue that there is no need for a death investigation or exhumation of her body because her injuries would not provide more clarity as to how she died.

“If she was pushed down the stairs, her injuries are exactly the same as if the dogs tripped her and pushed her down the stairs, or if she herself tripped from the top stairs,” he said. “They’re not going to solve a crime. And it’s very convenient that the three people who could support or contradict Alex are all dead: Paul, Maggie, and Gloria.”

The attorneys say they do not believe Judge Richard Gergel will grant this request, and they perceive no risk to their clients.

Bland noted that Gergel recently wrote that Murdaugh is a “serial liar” and a “fraudster.”

Another question about Murdaugh’s money is pending before a Lexington County judge.

His assets are currently in the hands of receivers, set to distribute that money among victims of his alleged financial crimes.

His attorneys are seeking $160,000 from that pool to help fund his murder conviction appeal.

Murdaugh got settlement money from her death and her family never did.

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