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Why Paul Murdaugh's Friend Says Police Tried To Frame Him For Boating Accident That Killed Mallory Beach

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Conner Cook, Paul Murdaugh and Mallory Beach

A survivor of the fatal 2019 boat crash involving Paul Murdaugh has filed a petition requesting the dismissal of law enforcement officers who responded to the accident.

Attorneys for Connor Cook, the survivor in question, confirmed that a petition, known as a Rule 27 petition, has been filed along with claims of a "civil conspiracy," namely that law enforcement attempted to shift the blame from recently murdered Paul Murdaugh, who is believed to have been driving the boat.

Documents filed in Richland County Court suggest the law enforcement officers who responded to the accident colluded to blame Cook instead of Murdaugh, who was actually at the wheel.

Paul Murdaugh is believed to have been driving the boat that killed Mallory Beach, but Connor Cook says officers tried to frame him instead.

Cook, who escaped the accident with only a broken jaw, believes evidence gathered at the scene of the accident is now suspiciously missing and is requesting that the involved officers be questioned about why they failed to conduct the investigation appropriately.

The SC Department of Natural Resources, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and “Unknown Others” are all identified as defendants in the case, which also references responding officers’ failure to administer sobriety tests along with “other investigative irregularities.”

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Cook’s hope is that a judge will allow him to depose and obtain the cellphones of the investigating officers.

His lawyers are attempting to interview the law officers about the accident and obtain footage from the officers’ body cams and all other physical evidence collected.

Cook’s attorneys claim law enforcement attempted to shift the blame away from Murdaugh and onto Cook. The filing of the petition came shortly after the murder of 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh and his mother Maggie, 52, in early June.

Paul Murdaugh was facing three felony charges related to the boating accident that led to the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach before he and his mother, Maggie, were found shot in the head on the sprawling property of the family’s South Carolina hunting lodge.

The murders of the two family members from a prominent legal dynasty in South Carolina have sparked countless questions about previous investigations the family is tied to, one of which being the boating accident.

The deadly boating accident occured in February of 2019 on Archer’s Creek near Parris Island, SC.

The boat, which belonged to Paul Murdaugh’s father, was believed to have been driven by Paul when it crashed into a piling, ejecting all six passengers from the boat.

Two of the felony counts Paul was awaiting trial for were due to boating under the influence, and the third count was causing death and bodily injury.

According to legal documents, Paul was described as “highly intoxicated”, and “belligerent.” The four other surviving passengers described Paul as an “angry drunk” who believed himself to be “invisible.”

The survivors also described a physical altercation that Paul and his girlfriend at the time, Morgan Doughty, had while on the boat. The passengers explained that Murdaugh slapped, pushed and spit on Doughty while on the boat.

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The group described Paul leaving the wheel of the boat while it was still moving on multiple occasions. They also claimed that Paul refused to let anyone else drive that evening.

One of the passengers recalled yelling at Murdaugh to let someone else drive the boat, to which he responded “shut the eff up and sit the eff down. Nobody else is driving my boat.”

Court documents from after the accident show the passengers describing Connor’s minimal involvement driving the boat.

When Anthony Cook, Connor’s cousin, was asked about who was driving the boat at the time of the accident, he replied, “Paul. I mean, he was the one behind the steering wheel when it happened.”

Anthony Cook’s testimony also describes how Connor would place his hand on the wheel when Paul Murdaugh would walk away from the center console.

At the time of the accident, there was conversation about the impropriety of the investigation.

When the police arrived at the scene after the accident, none of the passengers were issued a sobriety test.

However, an officer for the department of natural resources testified in court that he offered Cook a field sobriety test at the accident site and Cook refused.

While the charges against Murdaugh specifically were dropped following his murder, the case is still under investigation.

The answer to who was driving the boat when it barreled into the piling is still unknown.

Either Murdaugh or Cook are believed to have been driving at the time. It is believed that the attempted shift of blame may have been due to the influence of the powerful Murdaugh family.

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Livvie Brault is a writer who covers self-love, news and entertainment and relationships.