Charges in Boat Crash Case That Killed 1 Dropped After Double Homicide

Criminal charges in a South Carolina boat crash case, which killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach in 2019, were dropped against suspect Paul Murdaugh, 22, who was shot and killed in a double homicide June 7, the Associated Press reported.

Murdaugh was from a well-known family in the area and his mother, Maggie, 52, also died in the shooting outside their home before the boat crash case made it to trial. Last week, the South Carolina's Attorney General's Office dismissed the charges against Murdaugh, who was indicted on a charge of operating a boat under the influence leading to death. In February 2019, Murdaugh's boat crashed into the Beaufort County bridge resulting in not only Beach's death but injuring others onboard.

"It was really just a formality," a spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office, Robert Kittle, said to the Augusta Chronicle regarding the dismissed charges. "We were waiting on a copy of the death certificate, and some other bureaucratic red tape."

The boat crash investigation is still ongoing and state agents have not released information regarding the investigation into Murdaugh and his mother's deaths.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Boats in South Carolina
The charges against suspect Paul Murdaugh in a South Carolina boat crash case were dropped after he was killed in a double homicide in June. In this photo, a view of the Harbor Town light at Hilton Head is seen during the 2006 Verizon Heritage Monday Pro-Am April 10, 2006, at Harbour Town Golf Links in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Beach's body was found about a week after the boat crash.

Murdaugh and his mother's shooting happened on the family's land in Colleton County near Islandton, authorities said.

The double homicide renewed attention to the boat wreck, prompting stories that questioned whether Murdaugh's family ties to the area's legal system affected the investigation. State officials said after the deaths that they were reviewing whether local law enforcement officials tried to obstruct the inquiry into the boat crash.

Murdaugh's grandfather, great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather were longtime elected solicitors in the area, though no Murdaugh held the post at the time of the crash.

Police documents released after Murdaugh's death showed his father and grandfather both arrived at the emergency room after the crash. Murdaugh's father, Alex Murdaugh, tried to talk to the other people in the boat, scrutinizing the board that nurses and doctors use to keep track of which patients were in which rooms, nurses said.

One nurse finally ordered Alex Murdaugh to stay in his son's room or leave the hospital.

Murdaugh refused tests to see if he was boating under the influence, and he and the other passengers refused to say who was driving the boat. Blood taken at the hospital several hours after the crash showed his blood-alcohol level was about three times the legal limit to infer intoxication, according to the investigative file.