“Alex Murdaugh might be in jail. That doesn’t mean his tentacles stop at that cell door.”


A conversation with Susanne Andrews, friend of Stephen Smith's family, on why we may be in for a roller-coaster when the murder trial of Alex Murdaugh starts on Monday.

In the past 18 months, I’ve spent a great deal of time in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, talking to people about the bizarre, gothic tragedy and mystery of the Murdaugh family. Alex Murdaugh is accused of murdering his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, at a hunting lodge. His trial starts Monday.

The Murdaughs have effectively “ruled” over the five counties comprising South Carolina’s Lowcountry for nearly a century. They’ve held the position of “Solicitor”–equivalent to District Attorney–AND had a lucrative private law practice…yes, it’s a conflict. But this is South Carolina. In Yemassee, a town close to Colleton, where the trial will take place, I’ve spent six or more evenings in the only bar/restaurant and found that no one–and I mean no one–wants to discuss the family. If something about them flashes up on the TV above the bar, the channel gets switched to something else. Given their extraordinary fall and straitened circumstances, I found this a little weird.

I spoke this morning with Susanne Andrews, whom I met during my reporting. Susanne lives in Columbia, South Carolina’s capital. She’s a friend of the family of Stephen Smith, a young gay man whose roadside death in 2015 is being re-investigated in connection to evidence found around the Murdaugh murders. We discuss trial expectations and why justice may yet be perverted in the next few weeks. Like I said: this is South Carolina.

Listen to our conversation at “Vicky Ward Investigates”