Why Did Alex Murdaugh Reportedly Get into a Jailhouse Brawl?

Alex Murdaugh was awaiting trial for the 2021 murders of his son and wife when he got into a fight with convicted sex offender Robert Drayton

<p>TEDx Talks/YouTube, Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP </p> MaryElizabeth Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh

TEDx Talks/YouTube, Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP

MaryElizabeth Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh

Alex Murdaugh stuck up for his niece when he got into a jailhouse brawl with a fellow inmate who was ultimately convicted of sexually assaulting her when she was in college, the niece said.

“My uncle and my attacker had gotten into a fight in jail,” MaryElizabeth Murdaugh, 23, said on May 13 during a TEDx talk at The American University of Paris that was posted on YouTube and viewed by PEOPLE.

Alex, 55, got into the brawl with Robert Drayton, 42, in  the Alvin S. Glenn Detention in Columbia in Richland County, S.C., when Alex was awaiting trial for the June 2021 shooting deaths of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 55, and son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, The State reports.

Drayton was arrested in May 2021 for breaking into MaryElizabeth’s apartment at 4 a.m. on April 2021 when she was a student at the University of South Carolina, police said,

He broke her nose, tried to strangle her and then raped her before she was able to escape, court records show. In 2023, he was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree burglary and 30 years each for kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct.

Related: How Alex Murdaugh, Convicted of Killing His Wife and Son, Hid His Secret Life for 11 Years

The jailhouse fight allegedly erupted when Drayton confronted Murdaugh, sources told The State.

“They put this guy in the same pod at Alvin S. Glenn as Alex,” said a source who spoke with Alex about the fight, The State reports. “They were out in an open area together and the guy comes up to Alex and tries to explain how Alex’s family is framing him, and that just started a fight."

“Both of them got real banged up,” the source said, The State reports. “The jail was somewhat chagrined that they had had them together. They were never put together again.”

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MaryElizabeth revealed the fight between her uncle and her attacker while talking about the tools she has used to overcome trauma in her life — which has resulted from the 2021 attack and the murders of her aunt and cousin, she said in her TEDx talk, The State was the first to report.

“I watched the biggest heartbreak of my life turned into entertainment for millions,” she said.

Related: 'Big Family, Old Money, New Drama': Inside the Powerful S.C. Family at Center of Murder Mystery 

Alex is serving two life sentences for Maggie and Paul’s murders. He was also sentenced to 40 more years in prison for his financial crimes.

Related: Alex Murdaugh Blames Addiction as He's Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison for Stealing from Clients

The jail did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.

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