In True Sunlight Episode 38, Mandy Matney and Liz Farrell dove into a recent FOIA return we got after asking Colleton County for a series of emails and records as we fact-checked Colleton Clerk of Court Becky Hill’s response to the ethics complaint failed against her.

Among the information we asked for was a copy of all emails between Hill and the production companies that were working on various Murdaugh Murders documentaries both before and after Alex Murdaugh was tried in early 2023 for the murder of his wife and son.

There are nearly 100 pages of emails between Hill and production companies, including a 16-page section where she sent memoranda of interviews (also referred to as MOIs) between SLED and Alex Murdaugh’s siblings.

Most shocking thing we found?

The interview with Lynn Goettee, Alex Murdaugh’s only sister, which revealed something disturbing about how the evidence in the aftermath of the Murdaugh Murders was handled.

The day after Maggie and Paul were killed, Alex’s sister Lynn Goettee was at Moselle — at the house — and her niece — Randy’s younger daughter — handed Lynn a bloody towel and Lynn didn’t give it to investigators. INSTEAD, SHE HAD IT WASHED.

See the PDF below for the MOIs from the Murdaugh siblings completed over a year after Maggie and Paul were murdered.

What We Asked For

The FOIA request was originally sent to Colleton County on December 15, 2023, while we were working to understand the entirety of the Becky Hill situation and further highlight the differences between the jury tampering allegations and the allegations of ethical missteps while in office.

Among the 25 different records we asked for were personnel files for Hill and Laura Hayes, one of Hill’s former employees. Those personnel files are subject to disclosure under FOIA as Hill is and Hayes was a public employee.

We also asked for the emails between Hill and her son, Jeffrey Colt Hill, who was arrested and charged with wiretapping just before Thanksgiving 2023. Colt Hill worked as the county’s IT director until his arrest.

What We Received

Each of the links below will take you to a PDF that fulfills one of our requests to Colleton County. Redactions in pink were made by Luna Shark to further protect the privacy of those involved; redactions in black were made by Colleton County prior to sending the information to us.

  • Personnel file for Rebecca “Becky” Hill
  • Personnel file for Laura Hayes – including her resignation letter 
  • Personnel file for Gary A. Hale, Jr. (Note: Records indicate Hale took Hayes’ place when she left the clerk’s office.)
  • Any contracts or filming agreements between Colleton County and Cinemart, Netflix, Fox Nation, Hulu, Lifetime, Murdaugh Productions Inc, Johnson Production Group, Zeke Wilson, Same Race Productions
  • Emails between Jon Carpenter (Colleton County Finance Director) and Laura Hayes between January 2023 and September 2023
    • Note: This file is coming soon
  • Emails between Meagan Utsey (Colleton County Deputy Administrator) and Laura Hayes between March 2023 and September 2023
  • Emails between Becky Hill and clerk’s office staff regarding her taking time off between June 1, 2023 and August 31, 2023
  • Emails between Becky Hill and Colleton County administration regarding courthouse tours
  • Emails between Becky Hill and Jeffrey Colt Hill from January 1, 2023 and Jeffrey Hill’s last day of work for Colleton County

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Contact Beth Braden

Beth Braden

Beth Braden is an award-winning journalist with experience covering government, education and crime and courts for more than 10 years. In addition to following breaking news and writing feature stories about life in her home state of Tennessee, her by-line appears on several internationally known websites.

Beth is passionate about communicating complex information in an easy-to-understand manner and she loves to pore over public records and court documents as she seeks out patterns and context to share with her audience. In her spare time, she enjoys quilting, strange museums, and good cups of coffee.

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