Paul Murdaugh hosted booze-fueled boat party days before his murder – as he faced charges for deadly crash

Alex Murdaugh was ‘going to take care of’ the incident – which came two years after the death of Mallory Beach

Rachel Sharp
Thursday 21 September 2023 07:34 EDT
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Paul Murdaugh was pulled over by police for hosting a booze-fuelled boat party just days before he was brutally murdered by his father – and at a time when he was awaiting trial over a 2019 deadly boat wreck.

In the new series of Netflix’s “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal”, released on Wednesday, housekeeper and family friend Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson revealed that the 22-year-old had a fresh brush with the law in the run-up to the 7 June 2021 murders.

His father Alex Murdaugh was said to be taking care of the matter.

The incident took place around a week before Memorial Day weekend, when Ms Turrubiate-Simpson said Maggie told her that “Paul got in trouble again”.

“He was on the boat with friends and they were drinking,” she said. “But they called Alex and he said he was going to take care of it.”

Colleton County Clerk of Court Becky Hill also confirmed that the DNR had stopped the 22-year-old with a boat full of people of board.

The group was already drinking alcohol from a cooler “full of booze” and were “ready to go out on the water” in the boat.

“The DNR held him back and took all of the booze off the boat,” said Ms Hill.

The court clerk said that the incident is shocking given that – just two years earlier – Paul allegedly caused a drunken boat wreck that killed his close friend Mallory Beach, 19.

“You would think someone who would be appearing in court to decide if they are going to jail for killing somebody from  a boat crash just two years before would not be still found on a boat partying,” she said.

It was one night in February 2019 and Paul was allegedly drunk driving the Murdaugh family’s boat and crashed it, throwing his friends overboard.

The others survived but Beach as missing. Her body washed ashore a week later.

Paul was charged with multiple felonies over the boat wreck and was facing 25 years in prison at the time of his murder.

At Murdaugh’s trial, prosecutors revealed that the disgraced attorney was also being sued by Beach’s family.

On the day of the murders, Murdaugh was working on the case.

Paul Murdaugh was drunk driving the family boat one fateful night in 2019

A lawsuit hearing had been scheduled for 10 June 2021 – a hearing which prosecutors said would have exposed Mr Murdaugh’s ruinous finances.

Murdaugh was also investigated by a grand jury investigation into allegations he tried to influence the other teens who survived the boat crash to get Paul off the hook.

Prosecutors said that the boat wreck – and the escalating legal troubles it had brought – was the catalyst for murdering Maggie and Paul.

Now, details of May 2021 boating incident – and Murdaugh’s apparent plans to fix it – appear to indicate another “pressure point” for Murdaugh in the run-up to the 7 June 2021 killings.

“It makes you wonder if it was another pressure point for Alex knowing that he could not control anything that Paul did,” said Ms Hill in the show.

“It just added to the pressures that were adding up in Alex’s life.”

Ms Turrubiate-Simpson said that the incident also cast doubts on Murdaugh’s claims – and that of his son Buster when he took the witness stand in his defence – that things were “normal” among the family prior to the murders.

Jurors had been shown footage of the family and some close friends singing “Happy Birthday” to Murdaugh during a Memorial Day weekend celebration.

Buster had described the day as a “normal Memorial Day weekend”.

Ms Turrubiate-Simpson said that description was “not true”.

Disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh arrives in court in Beaufort on 14 September

“That’s not true... There was a lot going on at the time,” she said.

At the trial, jurors heard how a “perfect storm” led Murdaugh to kill his closest family members, arguing that he wanted to distract from what later transpired to be a decade-long multi-million-dollar fraud scheme – at a time when it was on the brink of being exposed.

On the day of the murders, jurors heard testimony of how he was confronted by Jeanne Seckinger, the CFO at his law firm PMPED, about missing payments. Murdaugh had stolen the money from the firm and his clients – and didn’t have the money to pay back.

The boat crash lawsuit was also going to expose his financial crimes.

And his father Randolph – the family patriarch – was dying.

Randolph died on 10 June 2021 – three days after Maggie and Paul.

Ms Turrubiate-Simpson said that she thinks the family knew that Murdaugh would “lose it” once his father died.

“I think [Maggie] knew at that point that if something happens to Randolph, Alex is going to lose it because he was really close to his dad – like Paul,” he said.

“It might not have been spoken but I think the family knew that once Mr Randolph was no longer alive the family dynamic was going to change. There was not going to be that family unity any more.”

The disgraced legal scion was convicted in March of the brutal murders after a gruelling six-week trial.

Now, he is fighting to be granted a new trial, accusing court clerk Ms Hill of tampering with the jury.

Even if he is granted a new trial, Murdaugh will likely spend his life behind bars as he is facing a slew of state and federal charges over a slew of financial crimes.

On Monday, he reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors – agreeing to plead guilty to 22 federal charges and admitting that he stole millions of dollars from law firm clients for his own personal benefit.

He is headed to court on Thursday to officially enter his plea – marking the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime.

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