Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorney says he has received disturbing hate mail — including messages wishing he would die from “rectal cancer” — ever since representing the now-convicted killer.
Dick Harpootlian, who is also a state senator, spoke of the hostile messages calling him a “piece of scum” or wishing cancer on him while on the South Carolina Senate floor on Thursday.
“Not all of them wished rectal cancer on me, but most were fairly critical,” he said, WCSC reported.
He represented Murdaugh, 54, who was sentenced to two life terms in prison Friday for the 2021 killing of his wife, Maggie, and their son, Paul.
Harpootlian and his fellow defense attorney Jim Griffin, who called the sensational six-week trial “a miscarriage of justice” have said that they intend to appeal.
Addressing the stinging messages and how those watching the trial felt “compelled” to express their opinions online, Harpootlian said he believes his harshest critics have a “misapprehension” of the nation’s justice system.
“While they’re very familiar with the Second Amendment, they apparently haven’t read the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth and the Eighth Amendments that guarantee our freedoms of ourselves and our property,” Harpootlian said.
“You don’t have to convince me you’re innocent for me to represent you. That’s not the issue. The issue is, can the state prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt? Once you decide that position, you are free to do what is in your client’s best interest.”
He then mentioned how several presidents, such as John Adams and Abraham Lincoln, represented defendants accused of murder.
Over the course of his own nearly 50-year-long career, Harpootlian said he has prosecuted a case that put a man in the electric chair — and defended a man who was sentenced to death.
“I’ve done both sides. I’m not a Red Sox fan or a Yankees fan. This is not what this is about,” he said. “So those out there — this may appear on YouTube somewhere — who don’t understand that, read a book.”
He ended his speech by directing some choice words to the people who slept outside in order to secure a seat in the gallery during the trial: “Get some help.”