The children of a housekeeper who worked for embattled South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh have filed a motion for his arrest and detention until the money he allegedly embezzled from her estate is returned.
Gloria Satterfield — who spent more than two decades as the Murdaugh family housekeeper — died in 2018 in what was described as a “trip and fall accident” at the Murdaugh home, according to attorney Eric Bland, who is representing her estate.
After Satterfield died, a $500,000 wrongful death claim was filed against Murdaugh on behalf of her estate, Bland told CNN. The estate has not received any of the money owed as the result of a 2018 civil settlement, according to Bland.
Earlier this month, Bland filed a lawsuit against Murdaugh on behalf of Satterfield’s estate seeking the money they say they are due.
In Monday’s motion for civil detention filing, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott asked Judge Carmen Mullen for an order requiring the arrest and detention of Alex Murdaugh “in accordance with South Carolina Code Section 15-17-201, until such time as the Defendant returns to the Petitioners the property that he has fraudulently embezzled from them.”
“Murdaugh was able to embezzle and/or fraudulently misapply the funds that were intended to be paid to Tony and Brian,” who are the “sole heirs of Gloria Satterfield and were to be the sole beneficiaries of any proceeds of her Estate,” court documents said.
The filing states that Murdaugh’s civil detention is a “priority matter” and requests oral argument and testimony under oath.
CNN has reached out to Murdaugh’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, for comment.
Multiple investigations surrounding Murdaugh
Earlier this month, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said it was opening a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s death and the handling of her estate.
The investigation was initiated based on a request from the Hampton County coroner that highlights inconsistencies in the ruling of Satterfield’s manner of death, as well as information gathered during SLED’s other ongoing investigations involving Murdaugh.
“The decedent’s death was not reported to the Coroner at the time, nor was an autopsy performed. On the death certificate the manner of death was ruled ‘Natural,’ which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident,” the coroner’s request to SLED said.
In addition to Satterfield’s death, South Carolina investigators are also looking into the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son in June. Margaret Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found shot to death outside the family’s home in Islandton, according to SLED. Colleton County Sheriff’s deputies determined both victims had suffered multiple gunshot wounds.
Months later, on September 4, Murdaugh himself was shot in the head on a South Carolina roadway but survived. The 53-year-old later admitted to authorities he conspired with a former client to kill him as part of a suicidal fraud scheme so that his only surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance payout, according to an affidavit to support charges against the alleged gunman.
Murdaugh has since been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report.
He appeared in court on September 17 and was given a $20,000 personal recognizance bond.
Murdaugh faces other legal and personal issues as well. His shooting came a day after he resigned from his law firm amid allegations he had misappropriated funds. Two days after the shooting, Murdaugh released a statement saying he was entering rehab, and his law license has also been suspended.
“The murders of my wife and son have caused an incredibly difficult time in my life. I have made a lot of decisions that I truly regret,” he said in the statement. “I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated by these murders. I am immensely sorry to everyone I’ve hurt including my family, friends and colleagues. I ask for prayers as I rehabilitate myself and my relationships.”
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