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Who is Alex Murdaugh and why is he on trial?

‘He faces life behind bars if convicted. Meantime, a portrait of his grandfather that hangs in the courtroom will be taken down,’ according to South Carolina Public Radio

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Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing in Varnville, S.C.

Alex Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C. Murdaugh has been accused of murdering his wife and youngest son along with other charges of financial crimes.

Mic Smith, Associated Press

The trial of Alex Murdaugh, who allegedly shot and killed his wife and son, has started in South Carolina.

Don’t know anything about the case? Here’s a brief synopsis.

Who is Alex Murdaugh?

Murdaugh is a South Carolina lawyer whose family built a powerful legal dynasty, according to The New York Times.

Greenville News reported that the Murdaugh family has a long legacy of maintaining power in the legal system of South Carolina.

The 54-year-old Murdaugh has been accused by the state of killing his wife and son and will be tried at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, according to NPR.

What did Alex Murdaugh do?

The New York Times reported that Murdaugh’s law firm had been questioning him about money that had gone missing. Before being pressed to disclose his finances, his wife and youngest son “were shot to death on the family’s expensive hunting property in a rural corner of South Carolina’s Lowcountry.”

Murdaugh has been in jail for over a year on 99 felony counts related to alleged money laundering, insurance fraud, drug-trafficking and stealing $8.8 million from his clients, according to The Wall Street Journal.

What is the jury doing now?

The Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors claim that the motive for the murders was to gain more sympathy and allow him to have more time to cover up his crimes.

“Murdaugh will not be shackled during the trial, which begins Monday in Colleton County,” according to the South Carolina Public Radio. “He faces life behind bars if convicted. Meantime, a portrait of his grandfather that hangs in the courtroom will be taken down.”

Paul Murdaugh sent a Snapchat video shortly before he and his mother were killed and jurors will review the footage, according to People magazine.