Depositions shed new light on the death of Lowcountry teen

Local News

Police say Mallory Beach was one of six "grossly intoxicated" teens on a boat that crashed in 2019

HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WSAV) – Depositions from the civil trial connected to Mallory Beach’s tragic death offer new insight into the night she was killed.

The Lowcountry teen died on February 24, 2019, after the boat she was riding on in Archer’s Creek in Beaufort with five other teens hit a piling in the water, throwing her off. A week passed before her body was found.

Now, four other teens — Morgan Doughty, Connor Cook, Miley Altman and Anthony Cook — who were on the boat that night have given testimony in the case filed by Renee Beach, Mallory’s mother.

“Where the f— is Mallory?”

That’s the question the teen’s friends were asking during a 911 call that fateful night.

Port Royal police report that all the teens were “grossly intoxicated” when the accident happened, despite the fact none of them were old enough to drink.

Meanwhile, Renee Beach is suing Paul Murdaugh’s father Richard Alexander Murdaugh and older brother Richard Alexander “Buster” Murdaugh Jr. and the Parker’s Corporation for monetary damage.

Doughty, who was dating Paul Murdaugh, and Altman, who were on the boat, said they both knew Paul was using his of age brother’s fake ID that night.

Altman said in her testimony Paul Murdaugh didn’t look like Buster Murdaugh.

“Buster had a fatter face,” she said.

“What about the height and weight. What is the height and weight on Buster’s ID?” the attorney asked.

“Buster he was chunky, so the weight was just completely off,” Altman said. “I think it was two-something. Obviously, Paul is tiny and I think Buster is maybe 6′, 6’1″, so its a big difference from Paul that’s 5’7″.”

Despite the differences, the underage teen was able to buy beer from Parker’s anyway. Altman testified she also bought alcohol with a fake ID that day.

Friends testified they remembered Paul Murdaugh walking out and holding the beer over his head seeming triumphant.

After getting their alcohol, the entire group went to an oyster roast in Hampton County surrounded by adults. The teens testified all or most continued to drink at the party.

Then, Paul Murdaugh and Cook said they wanted to go out for more drinks. While “buzzed” or possibly “intoxicated,” Paul Murdaugh apparently drove his boat back to Beaufort, and used the ID again at Luther’s Rare and Well Done restaurant.

The four friends all said Paul Murdaugh was drunk and belligerent, some saying he acted “like he was on drugs,” and “everybody” tried to stop him from driving the boat back to Hampton County, but he refused.

“I yelled at him once and he just told me, he was, like, sit, shut the eff up and sit the eff down. Nobody else is driving my boat,” said Altman in her deposition.

Cook said in his testimony that several people thought they should get an Uber or a taxi instead of driving the boat because “they knew it could be unsafe.” But they went anyway.

Doughty admitted she had seen Paul Murdaugh do cocaine and weed, but no one said they knew if he had done any drugs that night

Once on the boat, Paul Murdaugh’s behavior continued to get more erratic. He took his clothes off in 40-degree weather.

“He stripped all the way down to his boxers,” said Cook.

“Do you know why he took his clothes off?” the attorney asked Doughty.

“Because he was drunk. He’s a crazy drunk. He does weird things,” she said.

When everyone got back on the boat, with Paul Murdaugh driving, the depositions show he left the wheel “numerous” times while the boat was in a slow idle to either take off his clothes or yell at his girlfriend. Cook would then be left to take the wheel.

One time he apparently went to the front to yell at Doughty, and it got physical.

Doughty said Paul Murdaugh slapped her and spit on her as she sat on a cooler. She said it wasn’t the only time he’d done it.

“Had he ever spat on you when he was sober?” the attorney asked.

“No, ma’am,” Doughty responded.

She testified Mallory told people she was “scared” when Paul Murdaugh yelled at her after she brought up the possibility of leaving the boat behind or having someone else drive it. Cook yelled back at him, but it went no further.

Cook said despite the foggy conditions, the boat had no forward light, only running lights, and one flashlight, which he held the entire time, to guide the six teens and intoxicated driver through the foggy night on Archer’s Creek.

The moment that turned deadly was when someone “slammed” the throttle, sending the boat hurtling through the water at a high rate of speed.

“We went from a 2 mph idle to the bow of the boat sticking up in the air and I went to the back,” said Cook, who was Mallory Beach’s boyfriend.

Cook says he was holding on to Mallory Beach when they fell down to the floor of the boat when the speed increased sharply. That’s when it hit a piling, throwing several teens from the boat, including Mallory Beach.

No one deposed could say for sure that Paul Murdaugh hit that throttle. But each believed, under oath, that he was responsible for the sudden acceleration of the boat.

“Do you know who did it?” an attorney asked.

“I couldn’t tell you that for 100 percent sure, but I imagine it was Paul,” said Cook. “I mean, he was the one behind the steering wheel when it happened.”

“I’ve gone over it in my head so many times and the only thing I can think of is, like, Paul is an angry drunk, and he thinks he is invincible and so when he’s angry, I just feel like he put it in full motion,” said Doughty.

Parker’s has filed motions saying this case should be taken under “maritime law” and thus they should be exempt from civil monetary decisions and filings.

As for Paul Murdaugh’s criminal case, he remains out on bond.

There have been no new actions filed in courts since July of 2019 and no new dates for hearings or a date for a trial has been set.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s office is prosecuting Paul Murdaugh for two counts of BUI with bodily injury and death after the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office conflicted out of the case.

A judge from out of the area will also be presiding over the case because of more conflicts.

Randolph Murdaugh was a solicitor in the area for decades. His son Richard Murdaugh, Paul Murdaugh’s father, also worked cases for the solicitor’s office.

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