EXCLUSIVE: Richard “Buster” Murdaugh Jr. — the only surviving son of disgraced South Carolina lawyer and accused murderer Alex Murdaugh — lives a quiet life with his longtime girlfriend at a vacation resort leading up to his father’s highly anticipated murder trial, TBEN News Digital has learned.
“They are a very nice couple,” said a neighbor, who was unaware of Buster’s identity or tragic family circumstances. “They always smile and say, hello.”
Buster and Brooklynn White, both 26, live with their beloved golden retriever Miller in a modest one-bedroom Hilton Head Island apartment building — far from the sprawling 1,700-acre hunting ranch known as the Moselle, where he grew up in Islandton, South -Carolina.
Alex, 54, is charged with shooting and killing Buster’s only sibling, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, and their 52-year-old mother, Maggie Murdaugh, on June 7, 2021, near the estate’s dog kennels.
ALEX MURDAUGH MAY BE CALLED TO WITNESS IN FEDERAL TRIAL FOR BANKER RUSSELL LAFFITTE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
The fallen patriarch is to face trial on January 23 for the shocking double murder. Buster has continued to support his suspended and imprisoned father.
On Tuesday morning, Buster stopped in his gray GMC Yukon in front of the Georgia apartment with a dejected expression, then carried in a basket of laundry before leaving.
The property, which features a blue Marlin decoration on the front porch, is located in a complex with a communal swimming pool, tennis court and gym.
It’s unclear when Buster and White started dating, but according to a source, she accompanied him to Paul and Maggie’s joint funeral.
She was seen comforting her sweetheart as he cried during the service, and she was in loving contact with his father, the source added.
ALEX MURDAUGH 911 CALL CAME ONE HOUR AFTER ARRIVAL AT PROPERTY, WHERE SON, WIFE WERE FOUND DEAD: DOCUMENTS
More than 17 months after the murders, the graves of the dead mother and son in the Hampton cemetery still have no headstones and are marked with small plastic plaques.
White, who is from Rock Hill, South Carolina, bought the Hilton Head apartment in July 2021 for $180,000 after landing her first job after law school at Olivetti McCray & Withrow, where she specializes in estate and estate planning, according to the company’s website.
She declined to answer questions Wednesday morning about her friend’s condition or the case against his father, politely responding to several requests for comment with a simple, “No, ma’am.”
The condo on Hilton Head, a vacation destination known for its pristine beaches and golf courses, is about 70 miles from Buster’s childhood home.
White attended the University of South Carolina Law School alongside Buster, who was reportedly thrown into his sophomore term for plagiarism, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Alex paid a lawyer $60,000 to try to get Buster re-admitted, according to FitsNews.
MURDAUGH DOUBLE KILLS: SOUTH CAROLINA INVESTIGATORS RELEASE HARROWING 911 CALLS
The news site also reported that Buster attended the annual South Carolina Association for Justice convention at Hilton Head in August with his uncle, Randolph “Randy” Murdaugh IV.
Buster has kept a low profile since unleashing a firestorm in October 2021 when he was photographed in public with his uncle, John Marvin Murdaugh, gambling and drinking at The Venetian in Las Vegas.
The latest Buster sighting comes the same week that the federal trial of banker Russell Laffitte began — the first criminal case to result from the spectacular Murdaugh dynasty unraveling before a jury.
Laffitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank, is charged with bank fraud, wire transfer fraud and other crimes for helping Murdaugh get his personal injury clients out of their settlement money.
Although he is a central figure in that federal case, Alex has not been charged. But he has been charged on more than 80 counts of financial crimes in state court in connection with the alleged theft of $8.5 million from his clients’ settlements.
LAWYER ALEX MURDAUGH IN SOUTH CAROLINA MONTHS AFTER WIFE AND SON DEATH IN UNSOLVED CASE
Prosecutors revealed during Laffitte’s trial on Tuesday that Alex was first confronted with financial irregularities with the family’s once-illustrious personal injury lawyer the same day his wife and son were murdered.
The company, formerly known as Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Derrick, PA, accused Alex of embezzling funds and forced him out.
Days after he lost his job, Alex was shot in the head in a failed attempted suicide, allegedly intended to leave Buster with a $10 million life insurance policy.
The Murdaughs, a prominent Democratic family, had wielded immense legal and political power for over a century. Four generations were the local prosecutor, known as the attorney, who oversees the five counties at the southern tip of the state.
But their dominance began to wane in 2019 after Paul was accused of drunkenly slamming his father’s boat against the stilts of a Beaufort bridge, killing 19-year-old Mallory Beach, injuring four others and causing of a series of lawsuits that spotlight Alex’ alleged unfair financial dealings.
Buster was also named as a defendant in the Beach case for allegedly allowing Paul, who was a minor, to use his ID to purchase alcohol for the doomed boat trip. The civil case will go to court in January.
MURDAUGH DOUBLE KILLS: SOUTH CAROLINA AG DROPS BOAT CRASH COSTS AGAINST MAN KILLED BEFORE THE TRIAL
Since the double murder, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has reopened the investigation into the mysterious death of Buster’s classmate Stephen Smith in 2015, with whom he was rumored to be having a secret affair.
Authorities also launched a new investigation into the death of Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper in 2018.
A new HBO documentary series “Low Country: the Murdaugh Dynasty” that aired earlier this month features a series of prison conversations between Alex and his son, which were recorded at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.
In one shot, Alex asks Buster if “Brooklynn” got his letter. In several of the calls, which the series has not aired, Alex speaks directly to White, who addresses him as “sir” and speaks to him warmly.
In another conversation, Alex encourages Buster to return to Murdaugh’s estate, where his brother and mother were shot.
‘I think the dams there on the Moselle were full,’ says Alex. “If you feel like going back there, I bet it’s all right, I bet there’s deer on those things.”
Buster, sounding unsettled by the proposal, replies, “I’m not going to hunt there.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE TBEN NEWS APP
One of Alex’s lawyers, Dick Harpootlian, and the family’s spokeswoman, Amanda Loveday, did not immediately return requests for comment.
Haley Chi-Sing contributed to this report.