While more cases of Alex Murdaugh’s manipulation and thievery from his clients multiplied, one story stood out to many as the most disturbing: the alleged defrauding of the Pinckney family.

Hakeem Pinckney’s hearing started deteriorating at a young age, but he never complained. In fact, he won a national championship in football when he was a senior at the SC School for the Deaf and Blind. 

But when he was 19, he was in a horrific crash with three other family members that forever changed his life. For Hakeem, the injuries would leave him a quadriplegic dependent on a ventilator.

In 2010, Alex Murdaugh, Corey Fleming and Palmetto State Bank’s CEO Russell Lafitte began representing passengers of the vehicle accident, including Hakeem who was paralyzed but aware. Despite the injuries, he persevered. His mother Pamela told us that he was improving before he died suddenly in 2011. 

10 years later, Pamela learned that Murdaugh allegedly stole insurance money from the Pinckney family after the accident, and again from Hakeem’s wrongful death settlement against his care facility after his ventilator was mysteriously “unplugged.”

Early in 2022, attorney Justin Bamberg joined the fight for sunlight against Alex Murdaugh and the good ole boys. While Alex was representing Hakeem, he even using the below video as marketing. Hakeem deserved more than his horrific death and being a victim of Alex Murdaugh.

Not only did Justin begin to represent the Pinckney family but many of Murdaugh’s other victims.

After a fulfilled FOIA request, Mandy and Liz spent hours listening to phone calls Alex Murdaugh made while in jail. Jail couldn’t even stop Alex from trying to utilize the good ole boys network.

Behind the Book with Co-Author Carolyn Murnick

Mandy was adamant about one thing: listening to Alex Murdaugh’s jailhouse phone calls truly creeped her out. After years researching and reporting on the guy, she thought she had gotten her head around his narcissism and depravity, but hearing his voice in her head truly took things to the next level. It was important that we animate this turning point for the reader, and I spent time listening to some of the tapes myself to get a sense of the vibe. It was definitely a lot to take in! I did not envy Mandy and Liz who spent hours and hours listening to every last one—it was a lot of mental energy to devote to something so dark. We also wanted to show how all of this was getting to Liz and her mental health. Mandy had only just begun her journey with antidepressants, and it was painful for her to watch Liz suffering as well amidst all the work they were doing. We also drew from MMP podcast episodes outlining the Hakeem Pinckney case, and it was heartbreaking for me to hear his mother Pamela’s grief. 

Carolyn Murnick

Stay tuned for additional documents and videos corresponding to Chapter 16.

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