As the state nears an end in the double murder trial, Murdaugh’s attorneys are considering putting him on the stand
Alex Murdaugh, the father of a 12-year-old girl, and the murder of his wife, Maggie, Paul, in a boat wreck
It was a day when body camera videos from law enforcement officers who responded to the murder of Alex Murdaugh’s wife and son were made public.
The video had been shown to the jury in January, but Monday was the first time the public could watch Murdaugh’s actions as deputies arrived at his home on the family’s estate after he placed a 911 call.
About 30 seconds after Greene and Murdaugh begin talking, the deputy asks him whether the gun he brought to the scene was from inside the home. Murdaugh says yes, and then offers his own reasoning as to why someone would kill his family.
The deputy asks where the gun is, and Murdaugh tells him it is leaning against Murdaugh’s vehicle. The deputy checks Murdaugh’s shirt before talking further.
Prosecutors accuse Murdaugh of committing the killings to distract attention from a series of alleged illicit schemes he was running to avoid “personal legal and financial ruin,” per court filings.
This is a long story. My son was in a boat wreck … months back. Murdaugh says he has been getting threats. “Most of it’s been benign stuff. We didn’t take serious, you know, he’s been getting like punched. Um, I, I know that’s what it is.”
When he was asked when he was last with them, Murdaugh replied that he was leaving the home to go and see his mother, who lived a short distance away.
Several witnesses have testified that Alex Murdaugh can be heard in a video on Paul Murdaughs phone at 8:44 p.m., when he started recording.
At the time of the killings, Murdaugh was facing a lawsuit stemming from a boat crash in February 2019 that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. It is claimed that Paul Murdaugh was driving the boat at the time of the accident.
Alex Murdaugh was scheduled to face a hearing on June 10, 2021, in which the state contends he could have been found guilty of financial misdeeds and disclosure of his accounts. But after Maggie and Paul were killed three days beforehand, the hearing was canceled.
Earlier Tuesday the court heard the cross-examination of Dr. Ellen Riemer, a pathologist at the Medical University of South Carolina who testified a day earlier about the victims’ fatal injuries, during which Murdaugh appeared visibly upset.
Alex Murdaugh cried when Riemer detailed the extent of the wounds to his son and wife, and dabbed his eyes and clenched his jaw. He shook his head as he listened.
Maggie Murdaugh was shot at least four times with a different weapon – an “assault rifle,” Riemer testified. Riemer said that the first two shots went through her body, one of which was through her left thigh.
Paul’s hands were down when he was shot, Riemer testified, telling the court, “I don’t see anything on his hands that would indicate he had his hands up to his face in anticipation of the injury that was about to happen,” Riemer testified.
The shot went through the left side of her face as it went upward. Riemer said she attributed that to the first two shots causing Maggie to double over, with her head bent over. This wound would have been immediately fatal, she said. The last gunshot, Riemer testified, was to the back of the head.
A lawyer for the Murdaugh family is considering putting the disgraced former South Carolina attorney on the stand in the trial for murders of his wife and son
The remaining jurors were tested Monday and will be tested again Wednesday. Prosecutors and defense attorneys discussed with the judge postponing the day’s proceedings, but Judge Clifton Newman said jurors would wear masks and “they have a positive attitude.”
With prosecutors nearing the end of their case, attorneys for Alex Murdaugh are strongly considering putting the disgraced former South Carolina attorney on the stand in his own defense in the trial for the killings of his wife and son, according to a source familiar with the defense’s thinking.
The defense is expected to make the decision in the next few days, according to a source. But the decision will be made late and perhaps at the last second, the source said, after the prosecution is done presenting its case at some point this week. A final decision has not been made, according to the source.
Murdaugh claims he called the emergency services after returning home and finding his wife and son dead of gunshot wounds. The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office – which is prosecuting the case because of the Murdaugh family’s ties to the local solicitor’s office – has accused the 53-year-old of carrying out the killings to distract attention from a series of alleged financial crimes prosecutors say he was committing.
Proctor testified that Murdaugh wanted Maggie to come to Moselle, their hunting property in Islandton, the day of the killings. She said she talked to the person staying at Edisto Beach, who said that he didn’t want to go. Proctor said it made sense that Alex would need Maggie there because the health of his father, who lived not far from Islandton, had deteriorated.
Her voice broke as she said that her priority was to find out who killed her sister and Paul.
“We never … talked about finding the person who could have done it. It was very odd. We were living in fear, because we thought this person was out there.
Alex Murdaugh, 24, was found with a twisted hose at the Riverside Zoo in Narnia, California, on December 13, 2005
He said that part of the cleaning process was to hosing the kennells down with a hose and then rolling up in a coil to hang out, so as to avoid leaks and breaks in the hose.
During the murder trial, Davis testified he was to the property twice on the day of the murders, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. But when shown a photo of the crime scene taken that night, Davis told the court the hose had not been properly stored.
Davis said he was particular about the way he rolled the hose up. If you notice that there was pressure on that hose, that is how it is. Somebody used that hose after I did because it’s twisted.”
The defense team questioned Davis about his perception of the Murdaugh family. Davis had earlier made comments referring to Alex and his wife as “lovey dovey,” he acknowledged, and testified under cross-examination he had never seen Alex Murdaugh raise his voice at Maggie.
Davis was asked if there was a time when one of the dogs was badly injured. The decision was made to put the dog down, Griffin said, which Davis agreed with.
On Riemer’s finding of skin sand for a shot fired by a gun to commit suicide, Reply to Waters
On re-direct, Riemer underscored she did not find soot on Paul’s skin as would have been expected from a shot fired from a barrel no further than 6 inches from the wound. She was able to see a gun fired with a barrel up to 3 feet away, and that it hit Paul in the chest. But the stippling was not present on his other wound.
A lot of what they were discussing about the contact wounds was about someone using a shotgun to commit suicide, correct?
“Frequently contact wounds do indicate a suicide, but potentially people can be shot by another also at contact range,” Waters said, noting Riemer’s finding for Paul’s manner of death was homicide.