NATIONAL NEWS

Store that sold Alex Murdaugh’s son beer must pay $15 million to family of teen killed in boat crash

Jul 17, 2023, 10:08 AM

FILE - Witness Mark Tinsley, attorney for Mallory Beach's family, answers questions during Alex Mur...

FILE - Witness Mark Tinsley, attorney for Mallory Beach's family, answers questions during Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse, Feb. 10, 2023, in Walterboro, S.C. The family of Beach, a teen killed in a boat crash, which prosecutors said begin the financial downfall of Murdaugh, has reached a $15 million deal to settle a lawsuit against a convenience store chain that sold Murdaugh's son alcohol while under age. Tinsley said the settlement that will be paid by the convenience store chain's insurance was amount that Beach's family felt would show the store has to take alcohol laws seriously. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The family of a teen killed in a boat crash, which prosecutors said begin the financial downfall of double murderer Alex Murdaugh, has reached a $15 million deal to settle a lawsuit against a convenience store chain that sold Murdaugh’s son alcohol while under age.

Sunday’s deal came after a judge refused to allow the Parker’s Kitchen chain to be separated from Murdaugh in a wrongful death trial next month in Hampton County, South Carolina, where Murdaugh was once a powerful and well-known attorney.

Now Murdaugh is serving a life sentence without parole for killing his wife and the son involved in the 2019 drunken boat crash at their home two years later.

Attorney Mark Tinsley told media outlets the $15 million settlement that will be paid by the convenience store chain’s insurance was amount that Mallory Beach’s family felt would show the store has to take alcohol laws seriously.

The Parker’s Kitchen clerk did not stop Paul Murdaugh, then 19, from using his older brother’s ID to buy beer, according to an investigation into the crash. Paul Murdaugh was facing a charge of boating under the influence causing death when he was killed in June 2021.

The settlement doesn’t require Parker’s Kitchen to admit responsibility in the case. A lawyer for the stores said owner Greg Parker felt like he had no choice but to settle because Alex Murdaugh and the chain would be tried together in the wrongful death suit.

Under South Carolina law, even if the jury found Parker’s Kitchen was only 1% responsible, since Murdaugh is now nearly broke, the chain with its deeper pockets would likely have to pay nearly the entire settlement.

On Friday, a judge refused to separate Parker’s Kitchen from Murdaugh and declined to move the case out of Hampton County.

“The unfairness of that caused Parker’s insurance carriers to resolve these suits to avoid paying the likely award intended to punish Alex Murdaugh,” attorney P.K. Shere said in a statement that also said he was disappointed Tinsley revealed details of the settlement before it could be approved by a judge.

Beach, 19, was killed and three other teens in the boat were hurt in February 2019 after Paul Murdaugh steered the boat into a bridge piling, authorities said.

Beach’s family has already settled lawsuits with the family who held an oyster roast the group was attending, a bar that served Paul Murdaugh liquor just before the crash and Murdaugh’s older brother, Buster.

Parker’s Kitchen also agreed to settlements with the three teens who survived the crash, lawyers said.

Nurses at the hospital where the injured teens were taken said Alex Murdaugh and his father arrived not long after the crash and tried to talk to them alone in the emergency room. One teen said it appeared the family was trying to convince them to say someone other than Buster Murdaugh was driving the boat.

The crash also left Alex Murdaugh fearful of a wrongful death lawsuit. Prosecutors at his double murder trial earlier this year said he worried financial disclosures in the suit would show he was stealing millions from clients and his law firm for a decade.

Tinsley testified at the trial he wanted Murdaugh to pay $10 million and Murdaugh’s lawyer said he was broke and might be able to scrape together $1 million.

Tinsley said that didn’t make sense with Murdaugh’s reputation and outward signs of wealth so he asked for records of all of Murdaugh’s finances, a request being put before a judge at a June 10, 2021, hearing postponed after Murdaugh’s son and wife were killed.

Murdaugh killed his son Paul with two shotgun blasts and his 52-year-old wife Maggie with four or five rifle shots outside their home, authorities said.

Alex Murdaugh told investigators who arrived while the bodies were still on the ground that he wondered if the anger toward his son over the boat crash led to the killings. But prosecutors said they were instead a sinister, methodical plan to buy time to straighten out his finances and derail the wrongful death suit over the boat crash.

Murdaugh, 55, testified he didn’t kill his family. He is under protective custody at a South Carolina prison serving his life sentence. His lawyers have indicated he plans to settle his part of the Beach family’s wrongful death lawsuit.

State agents have been investigating whether Murdaugh obstructed the criminal investigation into the boat crash. No charges have been announced.

National News

Associated Press

Maryland announces civil lawsuit in case involving demands of sex for rent

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s attorney general filed a civil lawsuit on Friday against an Eastern Shore landlord and his company, alleging a pattern of gender-based housing discrimination involving sexual harassment and demands to exchange sex for rent. The lawsuit, which was filed in Wicomico County Circuit Court, is the first case to be brought […]

3 minutes ago

Associated Press

Detroit’s giant slide is back. There will probably be fewer bruises this time

DETROIT (AP) — A giant slide in Detroit reopened Friday, and no one lost a tooth — yet. The slide at Belle Isle state park made headlines, landed on late night TV and even inspired a song after viral videos in 2022 showed riders flying and bouncing down the bumpy ramp. Two years later, the […]

6 minutes ago

FILE - A copy of the Ten Commandments is posted along with other historical documents in a hallway ...

Associated Press

Ten Commandments won’t go in Louisiana classrooms until at least November as lawsuit plays out

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana will delay implementing a requirement that the Ten Commandments be placed in all of the state’s public school classrooms until at least November, according to an agreement approved by a federal judge Friday. A lawsuit was filed in June by parents of Louisiana public school children with various religious […]

34 minutes ago

This image from U.S. Capitol Police security video and contained in the government's sentencing mem...

Associated Press

Marine accused of flashing a Nazi salute during the Capitol riot gets almost 5 years in prison

A Marine who stormed the U.S. Capitol and apparently flashed a Nazi salute in front of the building was sentenced on Friday to nearly five years in prison. Tyler Bradley Dykes, of South Carolina, was an active-duty Marine when he grabbed a police riot shield from the hands of two police officers and used it […]

46 minutes ago

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance arrives with his wife Usha Chilukuri Vance at ...

Associated Press

What Usha Vance’s rise to prominence means to other South Asian and Hindu Americans

Usha Chilukuri Vance, entered the spotlight this week as the wife of JD Vance, former President Trump’s running mate in the 2024 presidential election. Her rise comes at a time when, across the aisle, there’s another prominent figure of South Asian descent: Vice President Kamala Harris, the nation’s first woman and person of color in […]

1 hour ago

FILE - Steam billows from a coal-fired power plant Nov. 18, 2021, in Craig, Colo. A federal appeals...

Associated Press

US appeals court allows EPA rule on coal-fired power plants to remain in place amid legal challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a victory for President Joe Biden’s administration, a federal appeals court on Friday ruled that a new federal regulation aimed at limiting planet-warming pollution from coal-fired power plants can remain in force as legal challenges continue. Industry groups and some Republican-led states had asked the court to block the Environmental Protection […]

1 hour ago

Store that sold Alex Murdaugh’s son beer must pay $15 million to family of teen killed in boat crash