The defense team for Alex Murdaugh, who was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the murders of his wife and son, plans to appeal the former attorney’s conviction, his lawyers said.
The team plans to file a notice of intention to appeal the decision within 10 days. Attorney Richard “Dick” Harpootlian shared the timeline in response to a question from a reporter outside the courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, Friday.
A reporter followed up with a question about what the defense believes is the strongest grounds for an appeal.
Another of Murdaugh’s attorneys, Jim Griffin, highlighted the admission of financial crimes evidence to be considered in support of the prosecution’s presented motive for the killings — to distract and delay investigations into Murdaugh’s growing financial problems.
“That was being offered as motive for why he would go home and kill his wife and son, which we thought was illogical and ludicrous,” Griffin said. “There really was no evidence linking one to the other, and we did not think it should (be admitted).”
More context: The prosecution’s focus on Murdaugh’s financial motive underscored the lack of direct evidence — such as a murder weapon, bloody clothing or eyewitnesses — that connected him to the killings. Instead, they hinged their case on circumstantial evidence, including a consequential video placing Murdaugh at the crime scene that night.
Though the financial evidence was not directly related to the murder charges, the judge overseeing the case ruled to allow it, saying it was “so intimately connected” with the state’s case “that proof of it is essential to complete the story.” He instructed jurors to only consider the financial evidence as part of the motive and not as a broader criticism of the defendant’s character.
CNN’s Eric Levenson and Alta Spells contributed to this post.