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Mallory Beach's mom, boat crash survivors file $65M in claims against Murdaugh estates

The Island Packet logo The Island Packet 1/26/2022 Kacen Bayless, The Island Packet (Hilton Head Island, S.C.)

Jan. 25—Mallory Beach's mother and two survivors of the boat crash that killed Beach near Parris Island in 2019 have laid claim to the Murdaugh family's 1,700-acre hunting lodge.

Mark Tinsley, the attorney for Renee Beach and boat crash passengers Miley Altman and Morgan Doughty, on Monday filed six creditor's claims totaling $65 million against the estates of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, who were murdered in June.

The creditor's claims are a legal maneuver by Tinsley to stake a claim to the family's property, called Moselle. The claims also prevent once-prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh, who is named as the sole beneficiary of his late wife Maggie's estate, from inheriting the property before the claims are paid.

Tinsley filed the six claims less than a week after John Marvin Murdaugh, Alex's brother, filed motions in Hampton County court to cancel another action, called lis pendens, that sought to prevent the sale of Moselle and the family's Edisto beach house.

Tinsley, in a text to a reporter Tuesday, wrote, "At this point, Alex is the sole beneficiary of Moselle.

"John Marvin's move to cancel the lis pendens is a clear indication to me that he and Alex are trying to maneuver to avoid the claims against Moselle," he wrote. "It makes no sense otherwise."

The text continued, "I do not believe Alex can disclaim his interest to avoid these claims, but if that's what they are trying to do, these claims will block that."

Tinsley filed the six claims in Colleton County Probate Court against the estates of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul Murdaugh, 22, who were found shot to death on the Moselle property in June in a murder mystery that has garnered international attention for the small town of Hampton.

The claims include:

— Two $25 million claims by Renee Beach, one against each estate. The claims are for wrongful death related to the boat crash that killed her daughter in 2019.

— Two $5 million claims by Morgan Doughty, one against each estate. The claims are for personal injury from the boat crash.

— Two $2.5 million claims by Miley Altman, one against each estate. The claims are for personal injury from the boat crash.

John Marvin Murdaugh, who serves as the personal representative of Maggie Murdaugh's estate, will now have to settle the claims before any money or property can be disbursed to Alex Murdaugh.

Billy Newsome, John Marvin's probate attorney, in an emailed statement Tuesday, said his client is required to administer Maggie's estate "as a prudent businessperson."

"The current real estate market is good for sellers and it's prudent to sell Moselle now for the highest and best price for the benefit of creditors or whoever the courts ultimately determine to receive the sales proceeds," the statement said. "Moselle cannot be sold until the Lis Pendens are removed. Any sale will only be done with court approval at a hearing with notice to all interested parties."

John Marvin Murdaugh, the statement said, "has made it clear he will cooperate fully with the court.

"He is not working with Alex or anyone else, and will not make distributions of any sales proceeds to Alex or anyone else, until the court directs him who to pay."

Randolph Murdaugh IV, John Marvin's and Alex's eldest brother, resigned from handling Paul Murdaugh's estate in October. However, because no one has applied to take his place, he will still have to handle the claims.

The murders of Paul and Maggie, while unsolved, have since sparked a dizzying fall from grace for once-prominent attorney Alex Murdaugh, who faces 74 criminal charges for allegedly stealing millions from clients for roughly a decade and for a botched plot to have himself killed in September.

At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh faced felony drunk-driving charges, accused of driving the boat that crashed and killed Beach, 19. Five others were aboard the boat, including Altman and Doughty.

A month after the crash, Renee Beach, Beach's mother, filed a wrongful death suit against the people and companies she believed caused the crash, including Alex Murdaugh, the owner of the boat; Paul's older brother, Buster; and the gas station where the underage Paul Murdaugh bought alcohol.

In December, The Island Packet and Beaufort Gazette revealed that Maggie Murdaugh's last will and testament left all of her property — which would include Moselle — to her husband when she died.

Murdaugh, however, does not have access to the property because his assets are tied up in a court-ordered receivership.

He is being held in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia, unable to make the $7 million bond state Judge Alison Lee has imposed on him.

Murdaugh's lawyer has acknowledged that his client is a "person of interest" in the murders of his wife and son, but police have released scant information and announced no suspects.

This story was originally published January 25, 2022 3:14 PM.

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