SCDNR releases Connor Cook’s Paul Murdaugh deposition

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Connor Cook, one of six passengers aboard the Sea Hunt boat that crashed and killed Mallory Seashore in 2019, claimed in sworn testimony that he was terrified to tell law enforcement Paul Murdaugh was driving the boat for the reason that of the Murdaugh family’s influence, in accordance to court paperwork submitted in Richland County Wednesday.

Cook dinner, in his testimony to lawyers from the independent wrongful loss of life accommodate, appears to reference two other fatalities — Stephen Smith and Gloria Satterfield — rumored to be related to the Murdaugh family members.

“I indicate, just anything at all they get in, they get out of,” Cook dinner explained, referring to the Murdaughs. “I’ve always been informed that.”

A attorney for the S.C. Department of Normal Methods filed Cook’s testimony in response to a civil petition from Cook’s lawyers. The petition, filed in July in opposition to SCDNR and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Place of work, claimed law enforcement officers may well know about intentions to hamper the crash investigation and change blame from Murdaugh to Cook dinner. The petition sought accessibility to legislation enforcement officers’ work and particular cell telephone documents.

SCDNR submitted Cook’s deposition Wednesday as evidence that Prepare dinner “lied early and often to investigators” about who was driving the boat on Feb. 24, 2019. Prepare dinner, in accordance to the reaction, continue to refuses to present a statement to SCDNR declaring he understood Paul Murdaugh was driving the boat. The response argues that simply because Murdaugh, observed shot to loss of life in June, and was the only individual charged in the crash, Cook dinner “suffered no damages.” It asks a decide to dismiss the petition.

In the much more than 100 webpages of testimony launched Wednesday, Prepare dinner, who broke his jaw in the crash, describes in detail what transpired in the hrs leading up to and soon after the infamous boat wreck.

A photo of the Sea Hunt boat immediately after it crashed and killed Mallory Seaside on Feb. 24, 2019. The photograph was introduced Monday as part of the S.C. Legal professional General’s Office’s case file. S.C. Lawyer General’s Office environment

The paperwork provide new facts about the crash, the Murdaugh family’s makes an attempt to influence the investigation and two other fatalities rumored to be connected to the family members:

Prepare dinner advised lawyers numerous times that Murdaugh was driving the boat when it crashed, in accordance to his deposition. He explained he explained to investigators he did not remember who was driving simply because Alex Murdaugh, Paul’s father and an lawyer and volunteer prosecutor, told him to “keep my mouth shut and notify them I did not know who was driving and that he’s received me.”

He claimed that he didn’t give investigators any more information and facts than a temporary assertion after the crash since he “was explained to not to.”

Connor Cook’s prepared assertion to DNR about the crash was two sentences, just one of which browse: “I bear in mind observing the bridge and that’s about it.”

He said Paul Murdaugh still left his hospital bed and frequented Cook’s area as he was leaving the healthcare facility.

Alex Murdaugh advised an attorney, Corey Fleming, for Cook dinner at the hospital, according to the deposition. Cook dinner later on hired legal professional Sam Bauer before he was represented by his current attorney Joe McCulloch, according to his testimony.

Prepare dinner told lawyers that “a pair of points that experienced took place in Hampton” worried him about the Murdaugh relatives. Questioned what created him fearful, Cook responded: “Them being who they are.” He references a rumor that “Paul had pushed his housemate down the stairs and she died and practically nothing at any time transpired.” This rumor — with the identify Gloria Satterfield — have circulated online in the wake of Paul Murdaugh’s dying.

Gloria Harriott Satterfield, 57, died on Feb. 26, 2018, at Trident Health-related Centre in North Charleston, in accordance to her obituary.

Her obituary suggests she cherished Alex and Maggie Murdaugh and their family “as her family.”

On Dec. 19, 2018, a agent of Satterfield’s estate submitted a wrongful demise claim in opposition to Alex Murdaugh. The accommodate suggests Satterfield died from injuries she sustained in a trip-and-tumble incident in Hampton County. The first court submitting explained Murdaugh’s insurance policies provider would pay out $500,000 moreover an supplemental $5,000 for professional medical payments.

Of that cash, $177,500 was to be paid to the regulation organization Moss, Kuhn & Fleming.

The claim was settled on Oct. 5, 2020, in accordance to courtroom filings. The paperwork do not suggest irrespective of whether anything at all else was provided in the settlement.

No interviews or general public data introduced in these instances link Paul Murdaugh to Satterfield’s demise.

Cook explained to attorneys about “another” incident where “Paul was supposedly concerned with a person, bought identified conquer up in the middle of the highway that they received out of,” his deposition said.

Cook’s assertion appears to refer to the unsolved dying of 19-calendar year-old Stephen Smith. Smith’s physique was found in the center of a rural highway close to Hampton in 2015.

Immediately after Murdaugh and his mom, Maggie, were found shot to dying, the S.C. Law Enforcement Division opened an investigation into Smith’s dying “based on facts gathered” for the duration of the double murder investigation.

Prepare dinner advised attorneys that, just after the boat crash, he overheard Paul Murdaugh phone his grandfather and say that Cook was driving the boat. Prepare dinner, in accordance to his deposition, turned apprehensive that the Murdaughs were being going to blame him for the crash.

When requested by lawyers no matter whether he blamed Paul Murdaugh for the boat crash, Cook reported indeed, in accordance to his deposition. He told the attorneys that he hardly ever tried out to just take regulate of the boat when Murdaugh was “driving erratically.” Requested no matter whether he ever took around the wheel, Cook dinner mentioned he only steered at sluggish idle when it “needed to be steered since we were likely spherical and round like finding us pointed back. That’s it.”

Prepare dinner told attorneys that Murdaugh had “always been the just one that needed to push the boat and will not let anybody else push the boat. He instructed us it was his boat and no 1 could operate his boat like him and no one particular is driving his effing boat.”

Cook dinner informed lawyers that after an argument on the boat, Murdaugh “was pissed and everyone was prepared to get house, so he hauled ass.” After the boat hit bridge pilings, Prepare dinner claimed he remembered waking up in the base of the boat.

Referring to the other boat travellers, Prepare dinner instructed lawyers that “we all understood I was not driving.”

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A reporter for The Island Packet masking local authorities and enhancement, Kacen Bayless is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri with an emphasis in investigative reporting. In the past, he’s worked for St. Louis Magazine, the Columbia Missourian, KBIA and the Columbia Enterprise Moments. His do the job has garnered Missouri and South Carolina Press Affiliation awards for investigative, business, in-depth, well being, advancement and authorities reporting.
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