Rivers sentenced in drug trial


Jerry K. Rivers, who supplied convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh with painkillers, was sentenced to 7 years on February 12.

Rivers, of Walterboro, has said he never met Murdaugh. Prosecutors contend Rivers enabled Murdaugh’s opioid addiction by taking money from Murdaugh’s dealer, to purchase pills with counterfeit prescriptions. Sometimes Rivers could make as much as $40 a dose.

After the opioid business stopped. Prosecutor Johnny Ellis James Jr. said, Rivers ran a series of fraudulent schemes. He allegedly took out loans for fake car purchases, claimed unemployment benefits for jobs he never held, and applied for COVID-19 aid for a beauty salon that didn’t exist.

Rivers allegedly handled more than $88,000 in his partnership with Curtis “Eddie” Smith, Murdaugh’s distant cousin who faces several pending charges for his alleged role in the operation.

James said, “Rivers cashed his last check from Smith on Sept. 3, 2021, the very same day Murdaugh’s law partners discovered he’d been stealing from clients for years.”

Judge Cliffton Newman credited Rivers with being forthcoming about what he’d done and having spent more than 200 days in jail already. At the hearing in the Hampton County Courthouse, Newman imposed a sentence that was on the lower end of the sentencing range which was between 5 and 20 years.

Prior to the judge announcing his decision, Rivers acknowledged he’d made several bad decisions because of addictions and that he was ready to pay his debt to society. Family members also ask the judge for leniency so Rivers can eventually return home and set a better example than for his son.

Five people have now been sentenced to prison in connection with state and federal investigations into Murdaugh who once practiced a few blocks from the Hampton County Courthouse.