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Alex Murdaugh moved to 8-by-10 cell in protective custody unit, South Carolina prison official says

The verdict against Alex Murdaugh
The verdict against Alex Murdaugh 05:02

Alex Murdaugh has been moved to a statewide protective custody unit of a South Carolina maximum-security prison, a state Department of Corrections spokesperson confirmed to CBS News on Saturday.

Murdaugh, 54, was sentenced to life in prison for the 2021 murders of his wife Maggie Murdaugh, and his son, Paul Murdaugh. Murdaugh denied any involvement in the murders at his sentencing during a trial that riveted the nation.

His new home — which he moved to on Friday — consists of an 8-by-10-foot cell with a bed, toilet and sink, said Chrysti Shain, the corrections department spokesperson. 

There are 28 other inmates in his unit, Shain said, and include "former law enforcement" or "corrections officers," people that need an "extra layer of security." 

Murdaugh's unit is separated from the general population, an essential security measure to keep him safe from other inmates. 

Notorious inmates can be at risk if they mix with the general population. Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate in 1994, while mob gangster James "Whitey" Bulger was beaten to death by fellow inmates in 2022.

Although prisoners moved into protective custody are shielded from the general population, they can still be killed. Pedophile John Geoghan, who molested hundreds of minors as a Roman Catholic priest, was killed by another inmate in 2003 while in protective custody. 

The prison location where Murdaugh is serving his sentence will not be released for safety reasons, said the corrections department.

He was placed in protective custody after the state's four-member review board met on Thursday, the corrections department said. The board, which includes security, mental health, and classification experts, reviews an inmate's classification annually, Shain said. 

Murdaugh will stay in the protective custody unit for the year. Administrators will then assess whether to move him into the general population, or keep him in the protective custody unit, Shain said.  

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