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In prison for life, Murdaugh faces 2 more tax evasion counts

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina grand jury Tuesday charged convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh with two counts of tax evasion after prosecutors reviewed his final years of tax returns before he headed behind bars.

The former attorney is currently serving a sentence of life in prison without parole after a jury found him guilty in March of the shooting deaths of his wife and younger son in 2021.

From 2011 to 2021, Murdaugh made about $16 million as a lawyer, while stealing about $9 million from his law firm, settlement money for clients and other places, according to indictments.

Murdaugh, 54, also faces about 100 other charges, including tax evasion for his 2011 through 2019 returns as well as charges he stole money from clients, ran a drug and money laundering ring and tried to defraud his life insurer into paying a $10 million policy by having a friend kill him.

The latest indictments came from Murdaugh’s 2020 and 2021 tax returns.

In 2020, Murdaugh did not pay more than $67,000 he owed in taxes after making more than $1.1 million from his law firm and an additional $1.1 million through theft and money laundering, prosecutors said.

In 2021, Murdaugh should have paid $65,000 in taxes from $86,000 he earned from his law firm and just over $1 million he made illegally, according to the indictment.

Murdaugh’s wife and son were killed in June 2021 and he rarely worked before his bond on theft and insurance fraud charges were revoked four months later. He would be charged with murder while in jail during the summer of 2022.

Prosecutors argued Murdaugh’s swirling financial problems led him to kill his 22-year-old son Paul with a shotgun and then his 52-year-old wife Maggie with a rifle outside the kennels at their Colleton County home.

Alex Murdaugh then cleaned up the scene, went to visit his ailing mother to try to establish an alibi, then called 911 and reported his wife and son dead when he returned home, prosecutors said.

Murdaugh denied killing them when he took the stand in his murder trial, but admitted it was his voice on a video taken by his son at the killings minutes before data showed the victims stopped using their cellphones forever. Murdaugh told the initial investigators several times he was never at the kennels.

Murdaugh maintained his innocence as he was sentenced to life in prison without parole and is appealing the convictions. He is currently being held in protective custody at an undisclosed maximum security South Carolina prison.

State prosecutors also want to try him on all the other tax evasion, theft, insurance fraud and other charges as soon as they can, although no trial date for those cases has been set.