A $15 million deal has been made to settle a lawsuit against a convenience store chain that sold Alex Murdaugh’s son alcohol while he was too young to drink. The teen who died in a boat accident was the first victim of Murdaugh’s financial problems, according to prosecutors.
The deal on Sunday came after a judge wouldn’t let the Parker’s Kitchen chain be kept separate from Murdaugh in a wrongful death trial next month in Hampton County, South Carolina, where Murdaugh used to be a famous and powerful lawyer.
Now Murdaugh is in prison for life without the chance of parole for k*illing his wife and the son who was in the drunken boat accident in 2019 at their home two years later.
Mark Tinsley, Mallory Beach’s lawyer, told the media that the $15 million settlement from the convenience store chain’s insurance was the amount that the family thought would show that the store needs to take alcohol laws seriously.
A report on the crash says that the Parker’s Kitchen worker did not stop 19-year-old Paul Murdaugh from using his older brother’s ID to buy be-er. When he was ki*lled in June 2021, Paul Murdaugh was being charged with boating while drunk, which caused death.
Parker’s Kitchen doesn’t have to take responsibility for the case as part of the settlement. The stores’ lawyer said that owner Greg Parker felt he had to settle because Alex Murdaugh and the chain would be tried together in the wrongful death suit.
South Carolina law says that Parker’s Kitchen would probably have to pay most of the settlement, even if the jury found them only 1% responsible. This is because Murdaugh is almost broke and Parker’s Kitchen has more money.
On Friday, the judge wouldn’t separate Parker’s Kitchen from Murdaugh or take the case out of Hampton County.
“Because that was unfair, Parker’s insurance companies settled these lawsuits so they wouldn’t have to pay the likely award meant to punish Alex Murdaugh,” lawyer P.K. Shere said in a statement. He also said he was upset that Tinsley made public details of the settlement before a judge could approve it.
Authorities say that Beach, 19, was ki*lled when Paul Murdaugh steered the boat into a bridge piling in February 2019. Three other teens in the boat were hurt.
Beach’s family has already reached a settlement with the crab roast hosts, the pub that served Paul Murdaugh alcohol right before the crash, and Murdaugh’s older brother Buster.
Lawyers say that Parker’s Kitchen also reached settlements with the three teens who lived through the crash.
People who worked at the hospital where the teens were hurt said that Alex Murdaugh and his father came in soon after the crash and tried to talk to the teens alone in the emergency room. One of the teens said it looked like the family was trying to get them to say that the boat wasn’t being driven by Buster Murdaugh.
Alex Murdaugh was also afraid of a wrongful death lawsuit after the crash. At his trial for two mur*ders earlier this year, prosecutors said he was afraid that financial details in the suit would reveal that he had been stealing millions of dollars from clients and his law firm for ten years.
Tinsley said in court that he wanted Murdaugh to pay him $10 million, but Murdaugh’s lawyer said that his client was broke and only had $1 million to spare.
Tinsley said that didn’t make sense given Murdaugh’s reputation and outward signs of wealth, so he asked for records of all of Murdaugh’s money. This was brought up in front of a judge at a hearing that was supposed to happen on June 10, 2021, but was pushed back because Murdaugh’s son and wife were ki*lled.
Police say Murdaugh ki*lled his son Paul with two shots from a shotgun and his wife Maggie, who was 52 years old, with four or five rifle shots outside of their home.
Cops who came while the bodies were still on the ground were asked by Alex Murdaugh if he thought the ki*llings were caused by his anger at his son for the boat crash. But prosecutors said they were really a sneaky, planned way for him to buy time to fix his money problems and stop the wrongful death suit over the boat accident.
Murdaugh, who is 55 years old, said he didn’t ki*ll his family. He is being held in protective custody at a prison in South Carolina while he serves his life sentence. His lawyers have said that he wants to settle his part of the Beach family’s lawsuit for wrongful death.
Agents from the state have been looking into whether Murdaugh got in the way of the cri*minal investigation into the boat crash. No charges have been made public.