Co-author Confesses to Plagiarism on Alex Murdaugh Trials Book

Journalist Neil Gordon discovered a shocking case of plagiarism from co-author Rebecca Hill in new nonfiction book.

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Behind the Doors of Justice book cover

Co-author and journalist Neil Gordon, along with co-author and Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill, have decided to unpublish Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders after revelations that Hill plagiarized sections of the book without Gordon’s knowledge. Here’s what happened that turned an insightful nonfiction book into a confession of plagiarism.

Who Are Neil Gordon and Rebecca Hill?

The two co-authors of Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders, wrote about the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh, where Murdaugh was accused and convicted of murdering both his wife and son. Hill was the Clerk of Court for the case, and met Gordon during the final days of the trial. They became fast friends, and decided to dive into the case more deeply and write the book together to reveal some of the details of the trial that Hill played such a big role in.

Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders book cover by Rebecca Hill and Neil Gordon.
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

However, Gordon discovered evidence of plagiarism when reviewing Hill’s emails. Hill had previously received an email from a British Broadcasting Company (BBC) journalist, Holly Honderich, and Gordon claims that it included an excerpt from an unpublished article the BBC journalist was writing about the Murdaugh trial. One of the emails included the following quote from the journalist’s unpublished article.

To know South Carolina’s Lowcountry is to know the Murdaugh family name. For 86 unbroken years, 1920 to 2006, a Murdaugh presided as the chief prosecutor for South Carolina’s Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. It was the longest such stretch of family control in United States history.

Holly Henderich, BBC

Gordon compared the writing from Honderich’s excerpts to Hill’s writing in the preface of the book. Such as similarities between the quote above, and the following quote from Hill’s book.

To know South Carolina’s Lowcountry is to know the Murdaugh family name. For eighty-six unbroken years, from 1920 to 2006, a Murdaugh presided as the chief prosecutor for South Carolina’s Fourteenth Judicial Circuit. It was the longest such stretch of family control in United States history.

Rebecca Hill, Behind The Doors of Justice

According to Gordon, it was evident through comparisons like these that Hill took the BBC journalist’s writings and inserted them within her own book. Gordon confronted Hill, to which she confessed that passages of the book were plagiarized due to deadline pressures. Gordon released a statement saying he does not condone nor excuse her actions.

What Happened to Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders?

After Hill confessed to plagiarizing, an official statement was released on December 26th, 2023, announcing that the book would be unpublished, and sales ceased. The book is still available on Amazon and Audible through self-published methods, but Hill’s attorneys have stated that they are still deciding on the necessary next steps. Her attorneys also apologized on her behalf, stating that Hill regretted the plagiarism and respects the work of journalists. They also stated that Hill personally reached out to Honderich to express her apologies, although neither Honderich nor BBC have made any announcements regarding the book.

While the accounts of plagiarism have been confirmed since Hill confessed, it’s still unclear what will happen with the book. Hill also faces jury tampering allegations for the Murdaugh trial, although there is no date for the hearing over those allegations yet. While Hill deals with the issues that resulted from the trial, it will likely be a while before they decide what to do with the plagiarized book.


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