WALTERBOROUGH, S.C. — A prosecutor painted a damning portrait Wednesday of evidence against Alex Murdaugh, who A South Carolina heir, accused of murdering his wife and son, he said in court that Murdo texted and called his dead wife after committing the brutal killing and driving to his mother’s house, all These are all meant to establish an alibi.
But Mr Murdo’s lawyer, Dick Harpootlian, said the brutal killing was just one of many reasons why Mr Murdo was killed. Murdaugh, 54, who he described as a loving father and husband, takes no responsibility for it. “He didn’t kill – the butcher – his son and his wife,” Mr. Harpootlian told the jury in his opening address. “And you need to erase from your mind any hint of what he did.”
Competing arguments kicked off one of the state’s most anticipated murder trials in a generation, with both sides drawing back the curtain on a mountain of evidence as jurors weighed whether a man’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather had all served as prosecutors Everyone should be sent to jail. The trial took place in the Colton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, where a portrait of Mr. Murdaugh’s grandfather was hanged until he was ordered removed to stand trial.
The case, which involved not only a gruesome murder but also the dramatic downfall of a legitimate local dynasty, attracted national attention. Podcasts, documentaries, and a near-endless online forum have documented every detail of Mr. Murdaugh’s life fell apart after the murder, which prosecutors say he committed to prevent disclosure of his financial crimes.
In his opening statement, Attorney General Creighton Waters said the state will rely heavily on forensic and other physical evidence to prove Mr. Murdo carried out the killing, which took place on the family’s sprawling country hunting estate about 65 miles west of Charleston.
Prosecutor says no motive: Mr. They say Murdo has stolen millions of dollars from his clients and law firms over the past decade, and efforts to learn more about his finances threaten to expose his crimes. gentlemen. They argue that Murdo carried out the killing in a desperate and unsuccessful attempt to gain public sympathy and prevent his embezzlement from being exposed.
“Listen to that storm when everything came to a head,” said Mr. Waters told the jury. “The evidence will be such that you will come to the inevitable conclusion that Alex murdered Maggie and Paul, he is the storm, the storm is coming for them, the storm is coming on June 7, 2021.”
In the account of the prosecution, Mr. Murdaugh shot and killed his youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, at the door of the kennel feed room, then pointed another gun at his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, before shooting her in the back with an executing shot gun head.
In evidence, Mr. Waters said whether the shell casings found elsewhere on the property matched those found around her. Murdaugh’s body, suggesting she was killed with a “domestic weapon”. he said mr. Murdaugh was unable to account for two of the three rifles he purchased in recent years, and empty boxes of ammunition found on the property were of the same make and type as the shell casings found next to the body.
Understanding the “Murdo Murders”
gentlemen. Waters also said police investigations uncovered a raincoat covered in gunshot residue. Murdaugh’s mother’s home, which he had visited on the night of the killing.
Perhaps most importantly, Mr. Waters said it was the newly revealed cell phone evidence. He said Paul Murdaugh recorded and sent a video of a dog less than five minutes before what prosecutors believed to be the killing, his father could be heard in the background — Despite what Murdo has said in the past, he wasn’t in the kennel that night, but was napping in it.
Five minutes later, sir. At 8:49 p.m., both Maggie’s and Paul Murdo’s phones were locked and no texts or calls were returned, Waters said.
In the minutes after the killing, Alex Murdaugh called his wife twice, went unanswered, then texted her to tell her he was going to see See my mother who lives about 20 minutes away. He left the family property shortly after 9 p.m. and spent about 20 minutes with his mother, who prosecutors say has advanced Alzheimer’s disease and had a caretaker.
In prosecutors’ account, it was a ruthless and calculated effort to cover his tracks, as he made five additional phone calls to different people while driving to and from his mother’s house. gentlemen. Waters asked jurors to consider the possibilities of Mr. Murdo drove away from his home while his wife and son died on the ground in an attempt to “manufacture an alibi”.
It’s just after 10pm, sir. When Murdo returned home, his attorney said he was at the crime scene for the first time and called 911. But prosecutors said he was quick to try to lead police astray, suggesting the perpetrator must have targeted his son after Paul Murdaugh was facing a drunken ramming when he died in a deadly boating disaster two years ago , resulting in the death of a passenger.
Prosecutors allege the shipwreck was criminally connected, but not in the way Alex Murdaugh suggested. A lawsuit over the passenger’s death had threatened to force Mr. Murdaugh shares his financial details, potentially exposing his misappropriation. On the day of the murder, his law firm also confronted him over arrears.
gentlemen. Mr Waters said. Murdaugh provided police with three videotaped statements that will be played at the trial, which he urged jurors to pay close attention to.
“Watch his expression,” Mr. Waters said. “Listen to what he’s saying. Listen to what he’s not saying. Does that seem right, or does something seem wrong?”
To Mr. Harpootlian, Principal Counsel to Mr. Murdaugh, the prosecution’s theory is nothing more than speculation that ignores key facts. He said two videos recorded by Paul Murdaugh shortly before the murders showed the family having a relaxing evening, including father and son laughing next to newly planted trees. he said mr. Murdaugh had no reason — let alone enough time — to kill and drive to his mother’s house.
“Cellphone records show he had less than 10 minutes to kill them before he got up and went to the house, got in the car, started the car,” Harpootlian said. “He’ll be covered in blood.”
gentlemen. Harpootlian also said there was no blood on the white T-shirt Mr. Murdo was wearing that night, asking jurors: “Where’s the bloody clothes?”
During pretrial proceedings, he and prosecutors disagreed over whether tests found tiny blood stains on the T-shirt. Judge Clifton Newman, overseeing the trial, has yet to rule on whether prosecutors can call a witness who has concluded that the splatter was on the shirt, one of several key evidentiary issues remaining in the trial.
Mr.’s description is quite different. Murdaugh’s actions that night and what the evidence revealed may place greater weight on how jurors interpreted physical evidence and the parties’ conflicting analyzes of it.
Among the 12 jurors — eight women and four men — included a school assistant, a program manager, a mail carrier and a medical center employee, all of whose identities have been kept secret due to the attention being paid to the trial.
The trial, expected to last three weeks, has transformed the small city of Walterboro, with food trucks lining up next to the courthouse to serve the influx of lawyers and reporters, and locals stunned each day at the conclusion of the proceedings because Mr. Murdaugh was led out of the back of the courthouse in handcuffs.