Murdaugh, Griffin, and Satterfield: A Case of Misuse in a Killing of a Man During the June 2021 Shooting
Murdaugh’s lawyers have previously acknowledged he struggles with an opioid addiction and prosecutors presented evidence Friday showing Paul confronted his father about a stash of pills a month before he and his mother were killed.
Murdaugh admitted for the first time publicly that he lied to investigators about his whereabouts on the night in June 2021, when the killings of his wife and son took place.
Prosecutors rested their case Friday after calling more than 60 witnesses to bolster their argument that Alex Murdaugh shot and killed his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh at the family’s Islandton estate in June 2021 in an attempt to distract from financial misconduct allegations against him.
The voice of the man in the video was heard at the dog park where the bodies of his wife and son were found. The video shows Murdaugh at the scene of the killings, contrary to his repeated statements that he was not there that night.
They have a lot more evidence about financial wrongdoing that they don’t have about guilt in a murder case. Jim Griffin said last week that this was all about that.
Murdaugh offered to file a claim against his insurance company to get money for his housekeeper’s sons, Michael Satterfield testified. However, Satterfield did not see any of that money and did not know Murdaugh had collected more than $4 million in settlements, he testified.
According to his coworkers, the checks played a big part in the firm discovering that Murdaugh had misappropriated funds.
Michael Satterfield testified in court about how he was deceived by Murdaugh.
Satterfield said that he and his family heard about the settlement from media reports. He said when he inquired about it in June of 2021, Murdaugh told him that it was making progress and would be ready to settle by the end of the year.
Tim Owen, the Murdaugh Dynasty, and Mallory Beach, Tennessee, recalled Thursday at the end of the February 2021 interview
The CEO of the local bank claimed that Murdaugh’s account was overdrawn by 350,000 dollars. The total debt that Murdaugh had to the bank was more than four million dollars.
Thursday’s session ended with attorney Mark Tinsley on the stand. He represents the family of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed in February 2019 when a boat, owned by Murdaugh and allegedly driven by Paul, crashed.
Tinsley was asked about how the lawsuit was going on Thursday. He testified he was trying to get $10 million from Murdaugh, but was told he could only get $1 million. Tinsley was not cross-examined Thursday and is expected to resume his testimony Friday morning.
When we were worried about his mental state and the fact his family had been killed, we were not going to harass him about money.
Indeed, that “day of reckoning” didn’t come for another three months, when his law firm again confronted him about misappropriated funds, leading to his resignation, a bizarre murder-for-hire and insurance scam plot, a stint in rehab, dozens of financial crimes, his disbarment and, ultimately, the murder charges.
Owen’s testimony Wednesday comes as the state nears the end of its case, in which prosecutors contend Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from a mountain of alleged financial crimes he had committed and to stave off a “day of reckoning” when those crimes might come to light.
Editor’s Note: The HBO docuseries “Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty” chronicles the family’s influence in South Carolina. It airs on CNN Sunday, February 19, at 8 p.m. ET.
Murdaugh’s statements during the August 2021 interview were voluntary, Owen testified Wednesday. Murdaugh wanted to ask SLED agents questions about the investigation, Owen said, and the agent told him he wanted to ask Murdaugh some questions, too. He said that he was comfortable answering the agents questions.
The case was transferred to the Attorney General’s Office because the Murdaugh family had been associated with the local solicitor for many years.
The footage played in court Wednesday showed SLED agents confronting Murdaugh about evidence that appeared to contradict his earlier statements to law enforcement.
Around 8:45 p.m., Paul’s phone recorded a video of a friend’s dog as his father’s voice could be heard in the background. The video prompted the elderMurdaugh to change his story about where he was that night.
Rogan has been around your family for a long time, Owen said. You have a distinctive voice because he recognizes it. Can you think of anyone else with the same voice that he may have misinterpreted?
Murdaugh and Owen, the defendant, had no contact with the murderer during the July 2021 shootings at the Milnor property in Almeda
During cross-examination, defense attorney Jim Griffin noted that investigators had the Snapchat video in July, but did not ask Murdaugh about the whereabouts of the blue shirt and pants he was seen wearing in that footage. Owen said that he did not ask Murdaugh for those clothes.
You andPaul were on the farm that night, and you have a video on your phone. You’re wearing khaki pants and a dress shirt … When I met you that night, you were in shorts and a T-shirt,” Owen said. Did you change your clothes in the evening?
The prosecutor asked Murdaugh if he ever askedMaggie to come to Moselle to stay with him. But Murdaugh insisted he hadn’t specifically asked her to come from their house at Edisto Beach that night.
Blanca Simpson testified last week that she was told on the day of the murders that Alex asked both Paul and Maggie to come to Moselle.
“And the reason you didn’t, (was because) you weren’t concerned about those clothes. Your investigation had been focused since early June on the T-shirt he was wearing, the shorts he was wearing and shoes he was wearing at the time he called 911,” Griffin said.
Owen told the grand jury that an expert had found multiple blood spatter particles on the front of the shirt and that was sent to a lab for testing. The test, however, found no blood on the shirt.
HemaTrace tests can confirm whether or not there is blood, but they came up negative. Didn’t that not get neglected? asked Griffin.
“Whoever killed Maggie and Paul would likely have biological material on them from the blasts that killed the two victims, right?,” Griffin asked Owen.
Griffin established that Murdaugh’s mother’s property in Almeda was not searched until months after the killings, in September 2021. No weapons were found on that property, Owen testified.
The motion to limit the scope of questioning Murdaugh would face was denied by the judge, who was most focused on allegations of financial wrongdoing.
Griffin seemed to suggest the killings could have been related to a money dispute with a drug gang, telling the court that Murdaugh was buying $50,000 worth of drugs each week from Smith. Owen agreed, testifying that he has been told the same.
“Prior to that day, had Alex Murdaugh ever mentioned to you Curtis Edward Smith or anyone else that might have been involved in his son’s or his wife’s murder?” prosecutor John Meadors asked.
Owen was asked if a cell phone analysis was done to find out if any of the drug gang members were in the area on the night of the killings. Owen said state investigators had identified only first responders as coming to the scene around Moselle.
Owen was asked if a small amount of unknown male DNA found under Murdaugh’s fingernail could be linked to him. Owen said no.
Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys on Tuesday called his surviving son to testify in the disgraced South Carolina attorney’s double murder trial, as the defense tries to counter prosecutors’ allegations Murdaugh killed his wife and younger son.
Buster Murdaugh was called as the defense’s first witness of the day. The accident reconstructionist will most likely focus on the findings of the investigators at the scene, as well as how the scene was treated and what conclusions were drawn, according to a source familiar with the case.
He told investigators that when he got home he found the bodies of his wife and son by the dog house and called for help.
Alex Murdaugh, the first witness in a double murder trial, told the jury he lied about being down there for a long time
Colleton County Coroner Richard Harvey, the defense’s first witness on Friday, said he estimated Paul and Maggie’s times of death to be around 9 p.m. on June 7, 2021, based on body temperature checks.
The video was filmed by Paul while he was on his phone at 8:44p.m., and it depicts one of the family dogs being taken away from them. The supervisor of the computer crimes center is David Dove.
“Watch your step” — Alex Murdaugh heard those words from a courthouse employee as he entered the witness stand on Thursday, taking the extraordinary move of testifying on his own behalf in a double murder trial.
Several witnesses have identified Alex Murdaugh’s voice in a video taken by Paul at the kennel, just before investigators say an execution-style shooting began.
“On June 7, I wasn’t thinking clearly,” Murdaugh said. I lied about being down there and I don’t think I was capable of reason. And I’m sorry that I did.”
When he and Shelley Smith Met to Murdaugh at the Kennel, with he Reached 80 mph on the Rural Roads
His driving speed has also attracted notice — the vehicle reach speeds up to 80 mph on the rural roads, far above the posted speed limits. When asked about that, Murdaugh said, “I was driving however I drive. That is normal way that I drive.
He dropped the Suburban off at the kennels. Asked what he saw there, he wept and replied that he “saw what y’all seen pictures of” — a bloody crime scene, with his wife and son fatally wounded by rifle shots and shotgun blasts. It was “so bad,” he said.
Murdaugh was on the phone with Paul and Maggie and called for them to come to him. Paul’s injuries were particularly bad, Murdaugh said, and he recalled trying to check his son’s body for a pulse and trying to turn him over.
There’s a lot of speculation concerning a statement in that call. “Paul had gotten the most vile threats on social media and elsewhere,” Murdaugh told the court. The threats were so “over the top,” he added, that the family disregarded it.
Murdaugh testified that he returned home around 6:30 pm and took his son Paul with him as he rode around the property. Later, Murdaugh returned to the main house, he said, by which time his wife had arrived home. Murdaugh took a shower, then sat on the couch to eat dinner.
Shelley Smith, the person that Murdaugh’s mother looks after, testified that she may have seen him carrying a blue tarp into her home the day after the killings.
On the stand, Murdaugh said he couldn’t recall bringing a tarp there — and he then sought to dismiss Smith’s version of events, stating, “Shelley’s got something in her mind about that.”
The blue rain jacket that tested positive for gunpowder was found in a closet at his mother’s house and the speculation was that it was wrapped around a recently fired weapon.
Griffin later questioned Murdaugh closely about his movements after the killings, with Murdaugh saying that he stayed at several places, so he had clothes spread out among them.
Murdaugh’s testimony was designed to humanize him to the jurors, portraying him as a loving husband and father who just returned from a University of South Carolina baseball game with his family, and who was dealing with two sick parents, his mother with Alzheimer’s.
Murdaugh said he and Paul had been driving around the property, checking on plantings for fields they used to hunt doves. He said that he was sweaty at work because he was heavier, and that taking opioid made him sweat more.
Murdaugh said that after visiting his mother in Islandton, he went back to the house to find that Margaret and Paul were not there.
Dogs were running around, Murdaugh said. He went into detail about how his dogs behaved — and he said one of the dogs, Bubba, had chased and caught a chicken. Murdaugh said he took the chicken out of the dog’s mouth and placed it on top of a dog crate at the kennel — “and then I left.”
Murdaugh’s case against stealing from his law firm and his clients in the wake of the murders of his wife, his son, and a nephew
It’s the latest dramatic shift in a case that has drawn attention because of the Murdaughs’ status as a wealthy and prominent family — and also because the 2021 killings were bookended by two other violent actions: a fatal boating accident involving Paul, and Alex’s alleged attempt to have his cousin kill him in an apparent botched suicide.
As they considered letting their client testify, Murdaugh’s defense team has asked Newman about possible limits on what questions the prosecution could pose to him — hoping to restrict the topic to the financial allegations. But the judge has refused to set such limits on cross-examination.
Murdaugh insisted that he didn’t shoot his wife or son, but he did admit that he had killed them.
In that four-minute span, Murdaugh also called Maggie twice, records show. Asked if he deleted any calls from his phone’s records, Murdaugh said, “Not intentionally.”
Murdaugh admitted Thursday to stealing from his law firm and his clients, which ultimately led to his resignation from the firm, then known as PMPED and since renamed Parker Law Group.
Murdaugh acknowledged to Mr. Waters that he took money that wasn’t his, and that he shouldn’t have done it.
“I don’t know why I tried to turn him over,” an emotional Murdaugh said. “I mean, my boy’s laying face down. He has done the way he has done it. His head was where he wanted it to be. His brain was laying on the sidewalk. I didn’t know what to do.”
Murdaugh rebutted earlier testimony about data collected from his cell phone, which showed he searched Google for a restaurant in Edisto Beach , and read a group text message soon after finding the bodies.
On Friday, Murdaugh admitted sometimes taking more than 2,000 milligrams of oxycodone per day in the months leading up to the deaths of his wife and son. He testified that the drugs made him more interesting and gave him energy.
After the killings, Murdaugh asked a man who he had originally intended to shoot to instead shoot him.
Murdaugh’s hatred of his lawyer: Between lies, drug use and details in the grisly case – a high-energy court adjournment
After about six hours of testimony Friday – which included a prosecutor grilling the former disgraced South Carolina attorney over lies, drug use and details in the grisly case – the court adjourned for the weekend and is set to resume Monday morning.
“And you disagree to my characterization that you’ve got a photographic memory about the details that have to fit now that you know … these facts but you’re fuzzy on the other stuff that complicates that? You don’t agree with that?
The heated cross examination continued after a lunch break. Waters pointed out discrepancies in Murdaugh’s videotaped statements to the police, including his claim that he had not been at the dog kennels. The jury saw the parts of the taped interviews that were played.
Murdaugh said he wasn’t sure before responding: “I know what I wasn’t doing, Mr. Waters. And what I wasn’t doing is, doing anything as I believe you’ve implied, that I was cleaning off or washing off guns, putting guns in a raincoat.”
He said that he did not make an alibi because he would not hurt his wife and child. I know for a fact that I never, ever, ever created an alibi.
“I can tell you for a fact that the person or people who did what I saw on June 7, they hated Paul Murdaugh,” he testified. “And they had anger in their heart.”
Waters inquired whether Murdaugh looked his clients in the eye as he deceived them.
After a break, the defense attorney for Murdaugh began questioning Waters a second time after he concluded his cross examination. The court adjourned for the day after Griffin ended his questioning.
Murdaugh: A Murmurdaugh man who lied to the people that I stole from and when I trusted me, how I did do it, and what I did about him
“They are real people. They’re good people. They’re all people that I care about … And a lot of them people that I love and I did wrong by them,” Murdaugh said.
I don’t know if it came from me looking them in the eye or not. I agree that every single client I looked at was someone I stole money from, and I think that the people that I stole from trusted me.
“I did lie to them,” he said of his comments to investigators that he had not been that day to the estate’s dog kennels, where the bodies of Maggie and Paul were found, until he found them dead. He said he lied because of “paranoid thinking” stemming from his addiction to opiate painkillers.
On September 4, 2021, nearly three months after the killings, Murdaugh reported he was shot alongside a road and was treated for a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” authorities said.
He said various factors contributed to his “paranoid thinking” which led to his decision to lie to police, including his “distrust of SLED,” (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division), questions about his relationship with his wife and son, and “the fact that I have a pocket full of pills in my pocket,” he said. The prosecution played clips of the police interview.
He is accused of two counts of murder as well as possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and he is being tried at the Colleton County Courthouse. If convicted, he faces a potential sentence of life in prison.
Murdaugh’s final moments with his wife and son: a conversation with Waters during the time of the fatal shootings in South Carolina
During his testimony, Murdaugh offered multiple explanations for his decision to lie to investigators: He was paranoid due to his drug use, he said. He said that the questions about his family relationships caused him to feel like a suspect. He didn’t trust the law enforcement agency leading the investigation due to previous encounters, he explained, too.
Then, in a final dramatic moment Friday, prosecutors played body camera footage recorded by an officer who responded to the scene immediately after Murdaugh had called 911.
“It was earlier tonight,” Murdaugh can be heard responding. I didn’t know the exact time, but I left. I went to my mother’s house for an hour and a half, but I saw them around 45 minutes before that.
Choosing to lie to investigators so soon after the deaths made him wonder about his other explanations. “You still told the same lie, and all those reasons that you just gave this jury about the most important part of your testimony was a lie too,” the prosecutor said.
“You told this jury how cooperative you’ve been and how much information you wanted to provide, but you left out the most important parts, didn’t you?” Waters asked about something.
The exchanges between Murdaugh and Waters turned testy. Waters faulted Murdaugh for not knowing what to say about his final moments with his wife and son.
Waters began with the first interrogation by lead South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigator David Owen, held in a car hours after the killings.
In the recording, Murdaugh said that he knew she had gone to the kennel. In the video, he glanced at Owen in the driver’s seat and added, “I was at the house.”
In a June 10 interview with Owen, Murdaugh was asked if the last time he saw the two of them was when they were eating supper.
The subject of cell phone records on the night of the killings was the focus of testimony on Friday.
Waters said that cell phone location data showed that Murdaugh did not bring his phone to the kennels. Murdaugh acknowledged that he “must not have” had his phone, adding that it was not unusual for him to leave his phone in the house.
The phones were locked for the last time at 8:49 p.m. The data shows that Maggie’s phone moved 59 steps from 8:53:15 to 8:55:24. The phone went from a portrait to a landscape and back several times.
Alex Murdaugh’s phone was immobile at the main house during that time. According to data from Murdaugh’s phone, it moved more than 300 steps in just four minutes.
Despite frequent prodding by Waters, Murdaugh did not give details about when he was getting ready to go to his mother’s house.
Noting that he had just left Maggie at the nearby kennels and had then failed to get her on the phone, Waters asked why Murdaugh didn’t just swing by the kennels to speak with her. “She’s so close, and there’s a driveway right there,” Waters said.
Murdaugh’s family was influenced by the execution-style slayings on the Lattice as a criminal trial
In the months before the slayings, Murdaugh said, there were days when he took more than 60 pills a day. He said that he was purchasing various types of pills for oxycodone at the time.
On the stand, Murdaugh repeatedly said he could not remember details or precise conversations — but he declined to dispute the prosecutor’s accounts of the misdeeds.
Waters also questioned Murdaugh about a solicitor’s badge he carried for years — a credential he received from his father when he volunteered at the circuit solicitor’s office that elder generations of the Murdaugh family led for some 86 years.
Waters put a photo of Murdaugh wearing the badge on his table as he spoke to people about his son Paul’s boating accident in which one woman died. That event thrust the family into an unwelcome spotlight, and Murdaugh has said he believes it is linked to the execution-style slayings.