The judge who presided over the trial and sentencing of convicted murderer Alex Murdow spoke Tuesday about the decision he made in the high-profile case.
Speaking Tuesday at his alma mater Cleveland State University, South Carolina District Court Judge Clifton Newman said he did not expect the Murdow trial to draw national attention beyond South Carolina.
“It had more notoriety because it involved a lawyer accused of stealing more than $8 million from multiple clients,” Newman said. “A lawyer who, of course, was on drugs and more than anything else, a man accused of murdering his wife and child.”
“And despite the type of facts that people are really going to be interested in, I believe that when I decided to make the whole process public and to the media and broadcast it where it was needed … around the country and around the world, I wasn’t there. I didn’t experience any of that – I was just a judge in court doing my job, as I’ve done many times over the years,” he continued.
Newman sentenced Murdow to two consecutive life terms on March 3, a day after a jury convicted the former attorney of murdering his wife, Maggie Murdow, and younger son, Paul Murdow.
Before sentencing, Newman spoke directly to Murdow, saying he would have to deal with the deaths of his wife and son “with his own soul”.
“I know you have to see Paul and Maggie at night when you’re trying to sleep,” Newman said. “I’m sure they come and visit you.”
Newman elaborated on those comments in a speech at Cleveland State.
“I don’t believe he hated his wife, and I certainly didn’t believe he didn’t love his son, but he committed an unforgivable, unthinkable crime, and there’s no way he can rest easy.” she said.
He also spoke about his decision to allow Murdow’s alleged financial crimes into evidence at the murder trial. Murdow was indicted on 99 separate counts of financial crimes, alleging that he defrauded clients of his former law firm out of approximately $8.8 million.
“I think the record speaks for itself,” Newman said.
“When a defendant takes the stand and testifies, pretty much anything is fair game at that point,” he added, referring to the moment Murdo gave his own defense during the trial.
Murdow’s attorneys said they plan to appeal Murdow’s conviction. He did not plead guilty to 99 other financial crimes.
Newman also addressed his decision for jurors to visit the murder site on the Murdow family property, known as Moselle.
“I thought it ended up being in favor of the prosecution, not the defense, although it was at the request of the defense,” he said.
Mozelle recently sold for $3.9 million, and Murdough’s, according to court documents Survived by son Buster Murdow It is planned to receive 530,000 US dollars from these funds.
Newman is required by state law to retire when he turns 72, but he is still tasked with presiding over the financial crimes cases Murdow is facing, meaning he could end up overseeing the trials even if they go into next year.
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