The chief financial officer of Alex Murdaugh’s former law firm testified she confronted the South Carolina scion about hundreds of thousands of dollars in missing funds the morning Murdaugh’s wife and son were murdered.
Jeanne Seckinger testified in Colleton County court on Thursday without the jury present, as Judge Clifton Newman considered allowing the prosecution to present evidence of Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes — for which he is separately facing 99 charges.
On June 7, 2021 — the day Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were found shot to death at the family’s hunting estate — Seckinger confronted Alex Murdaugh about $792,000 in missing client settlement money, CNN reported.
The money should have been paid to the firm — Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth & Detrick [PMPED] — rather than an individual attorney, she testified Thursday.
Seckinger said the firm realized in May 2021 that either Murdaugh “got a check he hasn’t turned into us that is properly payable to PMPED or he’s received a check payable to him.”
On the day of the murders, she told him she suspected he had taken the money for himself and that he had to prove to her he did not. Murdaugh “assured” her he had the money and he could get it.
The disgraced 54-year-old heir to a powerful legal dynasty has pleaded not guilty to killing his wife, Maggie, 52, and troubled son, Paul at their Colleton County hunting estate.
Paul was shot twice with a shotgun near the dog kennels while Maggie was shot multiple times with an AR-style rifle nearby and received a single, execution-style shot to the back of her head while she was face-down on the ground.
Prosecutors allege he gunned down his family to cover up his extensive financial crimes. He then allegedly staged his own death in order to secure a $10 million life insurance payout for his surviving son, Buster.
“Ultimately the murders served as Murdaugh’s means to shift the focus away from himself and buy himself some additional time to try and prevent his financial crimes from being uncovered, which, if revealed, would have resulted in personal legal and financial ruin for Murdaugh,” prosecutors wrote in a motion, obtained by CNN.
At the time Murdaugh allegedly killed his wife and son, the family was facing a lawsuit from the family of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who died after Paul drunkenly crashed a boat into a bridge in December 2019.
Prosecutors said that a pre-trial hearing in the boat crash case, which had been scheduled to take place just three days after the murders, would have exposed Murdaugh’s criminal financial dealings — and was part of the motive that allegedly led Murdaugh to kill his wife and son.
The hearing was canceled after the killings and the firm decided not to immediately confront Murdaugh.
“Alex was distraught and upset and not in the office much” after the killings, Seckinger said. “And nobody wanted to harass him about nothing that we thought was really missing, when we had several months till the end of the year to clear it up. So we were not going to harass him at that point in time.”
In Murdaugh’s 911 call and on police cameras just after the murder, prosecutors said Murdaugh said he believes the murders were connected to the boat case.
Earlier this month, Beach’s family accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in exchange for dropping Maggie Murdaugh’s estate, and Paul’s brother, Buster, from the suit, Fox News reported. Paul had allegedly used Buster’s ID to purchase alcohol the day of the crash.
“The Beach family feels very strongly that whatever their faults were, Paul and Maggie didn’t deserve what happened to them,” Beach family attorney Mark Brandon Tinsley told Fox News. “They also feel Buster has suffered enough, so it was important to them to try and get him out of the case.”
Alex Murdaugh and Parker’s Kitchen — a convenience store where Paul allegedly purchased the booze — remain defendants in the case.