Judge sentences Alex Murdaugh to life in prison for double murder 4:52
(WABNEWS) — The family of Mallory Beach, a young woman who was killed in an accident involving a boat owned by South Carolina’s prominent Murdaugh family, has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with the convenience store where Paul Murdaugh, then of 19 years old, bought alcohol on the night of the accident.
A $15 million “global settlement” was reached this Sunday with convenience store company Parker’s Kitchen and owner Greg Parker, a lawyer for the young Mallory Beach family, confirmed to WABNEWS.RELATED
“The Beach family believes this agreement will serve as a warning to all Parkers around the world who may be making an illegal sale of alcohol to a minor that they will be held accountable for their wrongful conduct if they do so,” said attorney Mark Tinsley told WABNEWS. “These settlements won’t bring Mallory back, but we hope they will save someone else’s son or daughter.”
The lawsuit claimed that Paul Murdaugh used his older brother’s driver’s license to buy alcohol at a Parker’s Kitchen convenience store in February 2019, before the boating accident. Police say Paul Murdaugh was drunk when he rammed his father’s boat into a bridge with five friends on board, throwing Beach into the water. Search teams found his body a week after the accident.
In June 2021, Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Maggie, were shot to death. Earlier this year, his father, attorney Alex Murdaugh, was convicted of killing Paul and his mother and is serving two life sentences for the murders. He is appealing the sentence.
At the time of his murder, Paul Murdaugh was facing charges of boating under the influence causing serious bodily injury and death in the boating accident. Paul Murdaugh pleaded not guilty and the charges against him were dropped after his death.
With the agreement, the civil trial that was scheduled to start next month will be cancelled. Alex Murdaugh had been scheduled to be deposed for trial in the wrongful death case. He was listed as the second lead defendant in the civil suit.
“All of the cases settled with the Parker and Mallory Beach wrongful death case with them for $15 million,” Tinsley explained. “We are settling the remaining claims against Alex Murdaugh with the court trustee who has taken all of his assets.”
The settlement was prompted by two major decisions by a judge just days earlier, according to a lawyer for Parker. Last week, a judge denied Parker’s request for his case to be tried separately from Alex Murdaugh and for a change of venue from Hampton County. Parker’s lawyers argued that the Murdaugh name had become too toxic in the small community for their clients to get a fair trial.
“It is disappointing that the content of the settlement discussions was released today against the mediation agreement signed by all who participated,” PK Shere, Parker’s attorney, said in a statement to WABNEWS.
“The court recently ruled that Parker would be tied to Alex Murdaugh at the upcoming trial. The fact is that (employee) Tajeeha Cohen made a legal and valid sale, as determined by (State Law Enforcement Division).
“This case was never about that legal and valid sale or the repeated bad decisions that these young people made that night. For Mark Tinsley, it was about using the wrongdoing of the Murdaughs and South Carolina’s unfair joint and several liability law to make Parker pay a verdict meant to punish the Murdaughs. Given the enormous publicity this case has received, being tied to a convicted murderer almost guarantees that Parker will not receive a fair trial,” Shere said.
“The application of joint and several liability law in South Carolina meant that if Parker was found to be even 1% at fault, he would have paid in full any verdict entered against the Murdaugh family,” Shere continued. “The unfairness of that caused Parker’s insurance companies to settle these lawsuits to avoid paying the likely award intended to punish Alex Murdaugh.”
“This marks the conclusion of all boating accident cases. We sincerely hope that all parties involved find some type of closure,” Shere said.
The other passengers on the boat at the time of the accident have also settled with the Parkers, according to attorneys.
The Beach family did not settle separately in a civil conspiracy lawsuit against Parker, his store and others that alleges harassment and centers on the public release of confidential photos from the investigation, including Mallory Beach’s body.
That trial is ongoing.