$7 million bond set for man accused of killing wife, taking disabled teen hostage

Arlington, Va. — A Fairfax County judge Friday set a $7 million bond for Frank Murdaugh Jr., the man charged with killing his wife and taking her disabled teenage daughter hostage.

The 69-year-old Murdaugh, who did not enter a plea, is charged with first-degree murder and hostage taking. The charges came after he took his 75-year-old wife, Aviva Murdaugh, and their 15-year-old daughter Holly hostage last month at their home in Washington suburb.

His daughter is in a medically induced coma at a rehab center in Virginia. After the court proceedings, Holly’s father, Bruce Murdaugh, said his daughter’s condition is improving, but he is not sure how long she will survive.

Frank Murdaugh had attended the Nov. 1 court hearing wearing a suit jacket, and court officials said he had no trouble speaking. This time, though, he wore a wheelchair, dark glasses and a heavy-framed black-framed glasses.

Prosecutors said he would have to enter a plea by next Thursday and could not appear in court Friday. The motive for the shooting, they said, remains unclear.

Magistrate Carolyn A. Sherman, who appeared briefly in court, said she set the bond because she considers Murdaugh to be “extremely dangerous” and that he could flee. Murdaugh is due back in court Nov. 20.

She also said she did not believe that there was any guarantee he would show up in court. After serving 20 years in the Army, he has undergone a lifetime of mental health problems, including multiple sclerosis, bipolar disorder and depression, and he has lived in a thrift store and homeless shelters, according to court documents.

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