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Alex Murdaugh will appeal his convictions in the killings of his wife and son, court filing says

Alex Murdaugh sentenced to life in prison after conviction in double murder trial during his sentencing at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., on Friday, March 3, 2023 after he was found guilty on all four counts. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)

(CNN) — Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh will appeal his convictions and sentences for the 2021 murders of his wife and son, his defense team said Thursday in a three-page court filing.

The filing was expected, as Murdaugh had 10 days to send a notice of appeal following his conviction last week, and his attorneys had indicated they planned to do so.

“Today (defense attorney Jim Griffin) and I filed our notice of appeal for Alex Murdaugh. This is the next step in the legal process to fight for Alex’s constitutional right to a fair trial,” one of Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian, said Thursday on Twitter.

Murdaugh was convicted March 2 of murder in the June 2021 shooting deaths in South Carolina of his wife, Maggie, and son Paul after a weekslong trial that included dozens of witnesses. He also was found guilty of two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

He was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Prosecutors argued Murdaugh killed his wife and son on their property in Islandton, South Carolina, to distract and delay investigations into his alleged financial crimes. They homed in on a long history of deceit, arguing he stole millions of dollars from his former clients and law firm and repeatedly lied to cover his tracks.

Murdaugh admitted in court that he stole money and lied about it, and also that he lied to investigators about his whereabouts just prior to the killings due to paranoia from his drug addiction. But he flatly denied killing his wife and son.

The jury deliberated less than three hours before returning the guilty verdict.

Murdaugh maintained his innocence during sentencing, telling the judge: “I would never under any circumstances hurt my wife Maggie and I would never under any circumstances hurt my son.”

Harpootlian, Murdaugh’s defense attorney, told CNN in an interview last week his client was “not happy” with the verdict but “expected it.”

In a separate case yet to go to trial, Murdaugh faces 99 charges stemming from a slew of alleged financial crimes, which prosecutors say involved bilking his law firm, clients and the government out of millions of dollars.