BEAUFORT CO., S.C. (WSAV) – One week ago, a man was indicted on charges connected to the death of a 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
But the question some have is, is why isn’t Paul Murdaugh behind bars?
News 3 has learned that Murdaugh will be in court May 6 to face three charges connected with the boating crash that killed Beach back on February 24. The 20-year-old was indicted last week for Boating Under the Influence Causing Death, and BUI with grave bodily injury.
According to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources’ investigation, Murdaugh was driving the boat at 2 a.m. on February 24. A Port Royal police report shows everyone on the boat was “grossly intoxicated” when it hit a bridge pylon, throwing Beach overboard.
It took seven days to find her body in Archer’s Creek.
News 3 reached out to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, to find out why Murdaugh has yet to be arrested.
In a statement, Communications Director Robert Kittle told News 3:
(Its) normal procedure when someone is represented by counsel and has been indicted by direct presentment to the county grand jury (rather than first by warrant) is to appear to arraignment in General Sessions Court to be served with the indictment and bond set.
“It’s typical policy and he’s not being given special treatment,” Kittle added.
The question of special treatment has come up because of the Murdaugh’s family connection with law enforcement in the area.
His father, Alexander Murdaugh, is a prominent attorney in the Lowcountry. His grandfather, Randolph Murdaugh, was a longtime 14th Circuit Solicitor from Hampton County.
Both those men have been named, along with Parker’s gas station and Luther’s Rare and Well Done restaurant, in a civil lawsuit filed by Mallory Beach’s mother Renee.
The suit claims Paul Murdaugh’s older brother, who is of drinking age, gave him his identification to buy alcohol even though he was underage. The suit says Parker’s didn’t check that ID properly, and Luther’s allowed Paul Murdaugh and the five other teens to continue drinking in the restaurant illegally.
All of which is alleged to have taken place before the 20-year-old drove the boat and crashed, killing Beach.
Already, the current 14th Circuit Solicitor’s office, two Beaufort County judges, and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office have recused themselves from this case because of their ties to the Murdaugh family.
The May 6 arraignment will be heard in Beaufort County Court by another judge.