Everything to Know About the Double Murder Trial of Alex Murdaugh

Everything to Know About the Double Murder Trial of Alex Murdaugh

What has been dubbed the “trial of the century” in South Carolina, the trial of Alex Murdaugh has gripped the nation as he faces potential life in prison for the alleged double murder of his wife and son.

What started in January of this year and was expected to conclude in early February, has ballooned weeks past its promised deadline after the prosecution presented more than 60 witnesses while the defense fights tooth and nail to proclaim Murdaugh’s innocence.

The saga began in June 2021 when Murdaugh’s wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and his son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found shot and killed outside the dog kennels at the family’s hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina. Alex Murdaugh, the son of a prominent and well-connected South Carolina family, maintains that he found their bodies after the fact while prosecutors allege that he killed them both to garner sympathy and distract from his alleged financial crimes, which include stealing millions of dollars from his former law firm.

During his testimony at the trial on Thursday morning, Murdaugh’s credibility came into question when he admitted that he lied to law enforcement repeatedly about visiting the dog kennel earlier that day, claiming that his long-term opioid addiction created insatiable paranoia in him. Murdaugh’s confession came as a result of a Snapchat video recorded by his son earlier that night, and witnesses testified that they could hear his voice in the background.

“Mr. Murdaugh, is that you on the kennel video at 8:44 p.m. on June 7,” defense attorney Jim Griffin asked, “the night Maggie and Paul were murdered?”

“It is,” said Murdaugh.

Murdaugh admitted he lied to South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on at least three separate occasions, blaming it on his addiction to painkillers.

“I did lie to them,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking clearly. I don’t think I was capable of reason, and I lied about being down there, and I’m so sorry that I did.”

Murdaugh, weeping on the stand, emphatically denied killing his wife and son. “I didn’t shoot my wife or my son, anytime, ever,” he said.

More details on the trial were provided by NPR:

The trial had initially been expected to conclude around Feb. 10, but it has sprawled far beyond that mark, as attorneys presented jurors with an array of evidence, including testimony about the millions of dollars Murdaugh is accused of stealing from his former law firm and its clients, his opioid addiction, and the roadside shooting that Murdaugh initially portrayed as an attempt on his life.

In a crucial ruling, Judge Clifton Newman decided in early February to allow prosecutors to present their account of Murdaugh’s alleged financial misdeeds, saying the defense “opened the door” to that facet of the case by asking witnesses about Murdaugh’s character — and whether they knew of any potential motive he might have to kill his own wife and son.

During his Thursday testimony, Murdaugh admitted to stealing from his former law firm, for which he was eventually fired. Murdaugh says the theft stemmed from his addiction to opioids, which originated from an injury he suffered while playing football in college.

Defendant Alex Murdaugh, seated between his two layers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian, listens during his double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, SC, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)

“How did you get in such a financial predicament that led you to steal money that wasn’t yours?” Griffin asked.

“I’m not quite sure how I let myself get where I got,” Murdaugh said. “I battled that addiction for so many years. I was spending so much money on pills.”

Murdaugh not only admitted to prosecutors that he stole from his law firm but also from people he represented in civil cases.

“I admit, candidly, in all of these cases, that I took money that was not mine, and I shouldn’t have done it,” Murdaugh said. “I hate the fact that I did it. I’m embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed for my son. I’m embarrassed for my family, and I don’t dispute that I did it.”

The Snapchat video shot by his son Paul earlier that night showed Murdaugh wearing khaki pants, but law enforcement later found him wearing shorts and a white T-shirt when they arrived at the scene. Murdaugh admitted that he showered at the estate and changed clothes that night, saying that he delayed going down to the dog kennels with his wife and son for that reason.

“It was hot, and I had just had a shower. I knew that I would end up doing more work and sweating more. And the dogs is always a chaotic scene,” Murdaugh said. “I just didn’t want to go right then.”

AFP

Hampton County Sheriff’s Office

Prior to visiting the kennels, Murdaugh said he visited his ailing mother. Telemetry data shows his car parked in his mother’s driveway for 20 minutes that night. Murdaugh claims that his phone slipped between the seats. Per WTAE:

Murdaugh knocked on the door when he arrived, he said, but called the other caregiver, Mushell Smith, to be let in. Murdaugh believed Smith didn’t hear him knocking, he said. Smith previously testified the timing of the nighttime visit was unusual.

Griffin asked Murdaugh about GPS data from his vehicle that showed the car stopped for about a minute while in his mother’s driveway. Asked if he was disposing of murder weapons or bloody clothes, Murdaugh said, “No.”

Murdaugh went back to Moselle, where he said he first went to the house. He said that Maggie and Paul weren’t there, and Murdaugh assumed they were still at the kennels, so he went there.

Murdaugh also said he had no knowledge or association with a blue rain jacket that police found in his mother’s closet that reportedly had “tested positive for gunpowder residue,” according to NPR.

Three months after the killings, the law firm concluded that Murdaugh had stolen money and fired him. The very next day, Murdaugh suffered a gunshot wound to the head and survived. He later testified that he asked a former client to kill him so his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could receive a $10 million life insurance payment.

Prosecutors have sought to give Alex Murdaugh life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.

Originally Posted on: https://www.breitbart.com/crime/2023/02/23/everything-know-about-double-murder-trial-alex-murdaugh/
By: Paul Bois

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