Alex Murdaugh Charged With Swindling Sons of Dead Housekeeper
Mr. Fleming eventually negotiated a $4.3 million settlement with Mr. Murdaugh under which Ms. Satterfield’s sons, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, would be paid about $2.8 million after lawyers’ fees. But the sons said in their latest lawsuit that they were never told about the settlement and that they received no money. Instead, according to their suit, Mr. Murdaugh had directed Mr. Fleming to send the money to him, ostensibly to set up a fund for Ms. Satterfield’s adult sons. More than $3 million, the lawsuit said, wound up in Mr. Murdaugh’s personal bank account.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division also opened an investigation into the circumstances of Ms. Satterfield’s death after the coroner in Hampton County, S.C., raised questions about the fact that her death had been attributed to natural causes, despite the fall, and that no autopsy was conducted. Ms. Satterfield had a brain hemorrhage and died at a hospital several weeks after the fall.
Mr. Fleming has insisted that he was unaware that the money had not been forwarded to the sons, but he acknowledged that he made mistakes in his handling of the case. His law license has been suspended, and his name was removed from the title of his firm.
The two lawyers who are now representing Ms. Satterfield’s sons, Eric S. Bland and Ronnie Richter, said on Thursday that it was a “bittersweet day” for the family.
Ms. Satterfield’s relatives “are dealing with the betrayal of trust” and the fact “that their loved one’s death was used as a vehicle to enrich others over the clients,” the lawyers said.