Last year at this time few outside South Carolina knew the names of the key lawyers in the Alex Murdaugh murder saga.
But due to national television coverage of the six-week Murdaugh murder trial last winter, prosecutor Creighton Waters of the S.C. Attorney General’s office and defense attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin have transcended the courtroom, catapulted into the public eye and become the newest stars in the dark galaxy of American true crime.
The crime in question, of course, is the still-mysterious and ultra-violent killings of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and son Paul on the family’s remote 1,770-acre estate in rural Colleton County, South Carolina, on June 6, 2021. The two death weapons — a shotgun and an assault rifle — have never been found.
At Murdaugh’s trial, Waters and his team of prosecutors and investigators used reams of circumstantial evidence to convince a jury of his guilt. Murdaugh, 55, is now serving two life without parole sentences. Harpootlian and Griffin, vanquished in the courtroom, are appealing and contend he is innocent.
On Saturday afternoon, at this year’s annual CrimeCon conference in Orlando, more than 2,000 attended a panel called “The Fall of a Southern Giant: Inside the Prosecution of Alex Murdaugh,” held in a huge auditorium with Waters as the only speaker. Two Court TV journalists, Julie Grant and Matt Johnson, moderated. Waters’ remarks were frequently applauded. Giant television screens brought his image home to the far reaches of the great hall.
Waters told the audience he was not there to advocate a position, but wanted to explain his thinking about some