WALTERBORO, S.C. — Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was convicted of murder Thursday in the shooting deaths of his wife and son in a case that chronicled the unraveling of a powerful Southern family with tales of privilege, greed and addiction.
The jury deliberated for less than three hours before finding Murdaugh guilty of two counts of murder at the end of a six-week trial that pulled back the curtain on the once-prominent lawyer’s fall from grace.
Murdaugh, 54, faces 30 years to life in prison without parole for each murder charge when court is scheduled to reconvene for sentencing at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
About 30 members of the public seated in the courtroom were largely quiet as the verdict was read, and no audible gasps were heard. A court officer had earlier warned them to be quiet.
Murdaugh’s surviving son sat about four rows behind his father and defense team, frequently resting his face in the palm of his left hand before and while the verdict was read.
After the verdict was read, the defense moved to have a mistrial declared and the outcome tossed out, but Judge Clifton Newman denied the motion and commented on the massive amount of evidence and testimony jurors heard.
“The jury has now considered the evidence for a significant period of time, and the evidence of guilt is overwhelming," he said.
The state’s legal team emerged from the courthouse to a celebratory atmosphere. South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson thanked the prosecution for the past six weeks of late nights spent at a local hotel.
“It was all worth it. Because we got to bring justice and be a voice for Maggie and Paul Murdaugh,” Wilson said. “Today’s verdict proved that no one — no matter who you are in society — is above the law,” he added, a line met with applause from the growing crowd.
Through more than 75 witnesses and nearly 800 pieces of evidence, jurors heard about betrayed friends and clients, Murdaugh’s failed attempt to stage his own death in an insurance fraud scheme, a fatal boat crash in which his son was implicated, the housekeeper who died in a fall in the Murdaugh home, the grisly scene of the killings and Bubba, the chicken-snatching dog.
In the end, Murdaugh’s fate appeared sealed by cellphone video taken by his son, who he called “Little Detective” for his knack for finding bottles of painkillers in his father’s belongings after the lawyer had sworn off the pills.
Testimony culminated in Murdaugh’s appearance on the witness stand, when he admitted stealing millions from clients and lying to investigators about being at the dog kennels where the shootings took place but steadfastly maintained his innocence in the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
“I did not kill Maggie, and I did not kill Paul. I would never hurt Maggie, and I would never hurt Paul — ever — under any circumstances,” Murdaugh said.
Murdaugh’s 52-year-old wife was shot four or five times with a rifle and their 22-year-old son was shot twice with a shotgun at the kennels near their rural Colleton County home on June 7, 2021.
Prosecutors didn’t have the weapons used to kill the Murdaughs or other direct evidence like confessions or blood spatter. But they had a mountain of circumstantial evidence, led by a video locked on Paul Murdaugh’s cellphone for more than a year — video shot minutes before the killings that witnesses testified captured the voices of all three Murdaughs.
Alex Murdaugh had told police repeatedly after the killings that he was not at the kennels and was instead napping before he went to visit his ailing mother that night. Murdaugh called 911 and said he discovered the bodies when he returned home.
But in his testimony, Murdaugh admitted joining Maggie and Paul at the kennels, where he said he took a chicken away from a rowdy yellow Labrador named Bubba — whose name Murdaugh can be heard saying on the video — before heading back to the house shortly ahead of the fatal shootings.
Murdaugh lied about being at the kennels for 20 months before taking the stand on the 23rd day of his trial. He blamed his decadeslong addiction to opioids for making him paranoid, creating a distrust of police. He said that once he went down that path, he felt trapped in the lie.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Once I told a lie — I told my family — I had to keep lying,” he testified.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters grilled Murdaugh about what he repeatedly called the lawyer’s “new story” of what happened at the kennels, walking him moment by moment through the timeline and assailing his “fuzzy” memory of certain details, like his last words to his wife and son.
A state agent also testified that markings on spent cartridges found around Maggie Murdaugh’s body matched markings on fired cartridges at a shooting range elsewhere on the property, though the defense said that kind of matching is an inexact science.
Murdaugh comes from a family that dominated the local legal scene for decades. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather were the area’s elected prosecutors for more than 80 years and his family law firm grew to dozens of lawyers by suing railroads, corporations and other big businesses.
The now-disbarred attorney admitted stealing millions of dollars from the family firm and clients, saying he needed the money to fund his drug habit. Before he was charged with murder, Murdaugh was in jail awaiting trial on about 100 other charges ranging from insurance fraud to tax evasion.
Prosecutors told jurors that Murdaugh was afraid all of his misdeeds were about to be discovered, so he killed his wife and son to gain sympathy to buy time to cover his tracks.
Murdaugh’s lawyers will almost certainly appeal the conviction based on the judge allowing evidence of the financial crimes, which they contend were unrelated to the killings and were used by prosecutors to smear Murdaugh’s reputation.
You can find coverage of the sentencing here at 9:30 AM Friday.on wltx.com, on the WLTX+ streaming app on Amazon Fire and Roku TV, and on the News19 WLTX YouTube page.
Alex Murdaugh Closing Argument:
Attorney Jim Griffin presented the closing argument for the defense.
Griffin says he is here to review the evidence in the case and answer any questions the jury might have. He tells the jury as perfect as the jury system is, he would like an interchange between jury and the lawyers. This is his chance to answer any questions.
One thing he has no question about, he says, “you have been ideal jurors.” He praises them for their service
Griffin said, in Harpo’s opening statement, jurors are required to begin with the presumption the defendant is innocent, and Griffin realizes that is an unnatural opinion to start with. He uses the analogy that there is no instant replay in court as there is in sports. The call on the field is Alex Murdaugh is innocent and until the State proves he is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, he will remain innocent.
Griffin explains reasonable doubt for the jurors. He says if there is any hesitation in writing guilty on your vote, that is reasonable doubt. If there is reasonable doubt, Alex is not guilty.
Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest level of proof and the State must tilt the scale completely to find Alex guilty. In this case, the jury will be charged to find Alex guilty or not guilty.
Griffin says Harpootlian has traveled and observed a trial in Ireland and there juries can find a defendant guilty, not guilty or not proven. We have combined “innocent/not guilty” and “not proven” into “innocent” in the United States.
On June 7, 2021, Alex Murdaugh called 911 after finding his wife and son. And as the first responders pulled up, he was putting down his shotgun. At this point in the investigation, sure, Alex should have been a suspect in the case.
Griffin said what wasn’t fair is, on June 8, after the gruesome murder, a joint press release said “at this time there was no danger to the public.” Does that tell you law enforcement had already decided the killer was Alex Murdaugh? It is a question that hasn’t fairly been answered in this case. Alex is at the mercy of SLED to exclude him from the circle of suspects. SLED has the ability to collect the data to remove him from the circle, and defense has shown SLED was incompetent in collecting the evidence that might exclude Alex.
On June 7, a local sheriff and Mark Ball were on the scene were concerned tire tracks were not being preserved. Dept Greene’s vehicle was at on side of the kennels and Alex’s was on the other and no one had yet taped off the scene.
Agent Rutland said something about hair in Maggie’s hands. What happened to the hair in Maggie’s hands? Was it evidence of a struggle or her own hair?
SLED didn’t take fingerprints from feed room. SLED didn’t take footwear impressions from the feed room floor.
Both Kinsey and Palmbach had Paul’s shooter standing on the concrete outside the feed room and there were no impressions taken. The scene was not preserved
What has baffled us, why didn’t they take DNA samples off Maggie’s and Paul’s clothing? It was never done. But you know whose clothes they did take DNA from? Alex’s.
Was Alex assaulted on June7? Was he wrestling with the assailant? There is only one reason. Only one reason. They had decided, unless they find somebody else, it’s gonna be Alex.
Maggie’s phone was not secured properly. It was found on the side of the road on June 8. Whoever killed her threw it there. Alex said if you get my phone and Maggie’s phone and OnStar data, you’ll find the phones never traveled together.
SLED sent a subpoena to General Motors but there is no indication SLED followed up with a call or a letter. It wasn’t until somebody watching the trial somewhere contacted General Motors and asked them why they weren’t cooperating, and -- low and behold -- the OnStar data appeared.
That would be great but when they got Maggie’s phone, they put it in airplane mode, but the location services were still on pinging on cell towers and satellites and the location data overwrote itself in the phone. The data wasn’t extracted until mid-June and only goes back to June 9. We would have had the data earlier if SLED had extracted it earlier or put the phone in a Faraday bag. If they had done it, we wouldn’t be here today. There is enough data to show Alex wasn’t passing the location where the phone was found at the time.
Alex asked Agent Owen about copying his phone. SLED did a superficial extraction rather than pulling out GPS data from Alex’s phone.
They put the sheriff on the stand about putting blue lights on the car but didn’t put David Owen on the stand to talk about Alex’s repeated requests about getting data from his phone
Labor Day 2021, Alex is exposed and that made him an easy target for SLED.
The evidence is crystal clear. From that moment, SLED began fabricating evidence against Alex. Griffin said he doesn’t make that claim lightly. SLED came up with a report that Alex’s t-shirt had high velocity blood spatter. Agent Zapata said they did (Hematrace) presumptive tests and confirmatory tests on the shirt and found no blood.
Griffin said that didn’t stop SLED from going after Alex with a vengeance. They went from Mr. Bloody Shirt to Mr. Clean Shirt in the trial. No one asks about the clothes he was wearing in the snapchat video until November 2021.
Griffin asks, how did the lead investigator on the case not get the report that said there is no blood on the shirt? Did Alex get washed off and got in the golf cart buck naked and went to the house?
The blue raincoat with GSR. Shelly Smith told SLED after September, after she had a conversation with an Allendale police officer, the Wednesday after Mr. Randolph’s funeral, Alex shows up with a blue tarp and goes upstairs and lays out the blue tarp on Mrs. Libby’s rocking chair.
SLED gets a warrant and seizes a blue rain jacket and shows it to every family member and no one recognizes it. When they did the search at Almeda, John Marvin was there and told him they found a rain jacket at the back of the property. Then he was told it was found in a closet. Grififin shows a photo of the closet with the jacket folded in the closet. They never showed Shelly Smith the jacket, only the photo. SLED did GSR on the jacket and found a lot of GSR. Manufactured evidence ladies and gentlemen.
The question about the mixed ammunition found in guns at Moselle… Paul was shot first with buckshot and shot again with steel birdshot. There were four weapons in the gun room loaded with birdshot and buckshot – totally not true. Owen admitted it was not true on the stand. He made a mistake. You can make mistakes about time. Except Alex can’t make mistakes about time.
They finally get Paul’s phone unlocked and find a video with a voice that sounds like Alex and they get a grand jury indictment.
After six weeks, Griffin tells the jury, of the things presented as evidence – three out of four aren’t true – there is no blood spatter, no GSR, no loaded gun. We are left with the lie about being in the kennels.
Griffin said Alex lied. He lied because that’s what addicts do. He didn’t want any scrutiny on him. He lied because drug paranoia set in.
He didn’t lie because he killed Maggie and Paul, because he didn’t kill Maggie and Paul.
Griffin plays the dog kennel video and asks the jury to listen. He tells the jury four minutes later, the State would have you believe Alex got up and blew the brains out of Paul and Maggie. They want you to believe there’s a family doing what they normally do and then he kills.
Why wouldn’t Alex want law enforcement to hear the tape? There’s Alex, Maggie, and Paul in the kennel and that’s that.
Under their theory, if your phone isn’t moving, you’re dead at that point. That’s their case.
You’ve heard testimony form a lot of witnesses. A lot of witnesses testified under oath that Alex loved Maggie and Alex and Paul’s relationship was awesome.
In any trial you hope to find any authentic witness and that was Dale Davis. Davis said Alex and Maggie were “lovey dovey,” they loved each other.
Why? Why? Why would Alex execute his son and wife he adored?
State’s theory is a storm was coming and his financial house of cards was about to collapse and he’s about to be exposed. So, according to the State, he did what any rational person wound do, killed his wife and son.
And it worked – Jeanne Seckinger stopped investigating, the boat case was delayed.
Jurors use your common sense and think what kind of sense does that make?
Alex gets a call, Jeanne comes in to his office, Paul’s coming home – he’s thinking, this is the best time to kill Paul?
He is an addict. Addicts lie, addicts steal. The evidence provided is to solely consider he killed his wife and son because these a storm coming an that’s why he killed?
The only way to consider evidence is if there is sufficient reason for a to do this.
Alex was frenetic, and on June 7, Jeanne was concerned about the $172K Ferris fees and concerned Alex was sheltering money in the boat case and the firm didn’t want any part of it. Seckinger said she was in his office and Alex gets a call that his dad is put in the hospital, she treats him as a friend.
He slaughters Maggie and Paul to gain time?
There is evidence Maggie knew about his financial misdeeds, that she was going to blow the whistle on him.
The motions hearing on the boat case was scheduled for June 10. Even if the financial day of reckoning was right there, Alex wouldn’t have killed the people he loved in the world.
On September 4, he gets his drug dealer to shoot him in the head because it was all crashing down and he was facing financial collapse. This is what you do, you kill yourself, not the wife you adore or the son you adore.
It is so outlandish, totally illogical, and insane to kill someone else when you’re facing these issues.
Griffin says he has been a prosecutor in the past, but there’s times people get wrapped up and all they want is to win and they start a “win at all costs” approach.
Griffin said Waters said in closing argument Paul and Maggie were shot with family guns. In fact, the ballistics expert said the shotgun was shot by the same gun. The State put guns into evidence that are not related to this case. The 300 Blackout, Paul Greer testified the cartridges found at the scene that the tool marks -- the tool marks, -- matched tool marks at the shooting range and near the house. But the firing pin marks didn’t match and he didn’t compare projectiles that the scene with those dug out of the shooting range.
The tool mark test is soft science, not every investigative lab relies on it, it’s not gospel.
The 300 Blackout, The State says Alex bought it -- actually Maggie bought it -- it was the defendant’s gun, it was really Paul’s gun.
Waters demonstrated a gun shot.. Alex shoots Paul in the chest and puts the gun down and reaches for the 300 and, because Alex is so diabolical, he’s trying to make it look like two shooters, where in the world does that scenario exist except in Waters’ mind? There is no evidence to prove that -- and that Waters has to do so much mental gymnastics to get that shows there are two shooters.
Paul was an intuitive little dude, a little detective. Especially trying to root out if Alex was doing drugs. Waters infers Paul confronted Alex about drugs and there are no facts to support the implication.
What if Paul found the source of the drugs and goes to the drug source and tells them to stop selling or he’ll turn them in? Is that as plausible? You have to decide on the facts not theories, implication or speculation.
Alex implied Blanca and Shelly were lying. Pointing out inconsistent facts or misremembering is not accusing lying.
Marian’s memory is mistaken about Maggie’s’ whereabouts on June 7 and when she talked to Maggie. Maggie said she was going to Almeda to visit Alex’s parents. Marian remembered incorrectly because.
Shelly and the blue tarp, she says it was on June 16. Alex was in Summerville and couldn’t have been at the door on that day.
Barbara Ann Mixson doesn’t remember a blue tarp that week. Shelly remembers something but it wasn’t a blue raincoat. Shelly also talks about times and Alex talking to her about it. Alex said get the phone records and you’ll know when I’m there.
Griffin says Waters said Alex was in a hurry to compress the time to say when he was. That theory evaporates when he says he was there at Almeda. The OnStar data shows he drove straight over and drove straight home.
The biological matter on the Polaris may have been tested, Waters said it showed Maggie was running to her baby. Griffin said that is an inference. It may have happened but it’s not a fact
The phone turning on…Why is that important? It’s important because we have the OnStar data and we know Alex drove by the spot at 9:08pm and the question is -- did he throw the phone out the window? No. Because the phone would have registered the movement. Maggie’s phone didn’t register movement.
McManigalt spent the weekend finding out when a phone comes on and doesn’t. We wouldn’t be having the discussion if SLED put the phone in a Faraday bag and they weren’t so desperate to prove Alex guilty.
Alex said get the OnStar data, GPS data and you’d know Alex and Maggie’s phone wasn’t traveling together.
Why? Why? Why -- and no answers.
How? How could Alex butcher Maggie and Paul without evidence? He couldn’t. The question you should ask is, has the State provided evidence that Alex has killed Paul and Maggie without leaving a trace? Of course they haven’t.
Here, there is no direct evidence of Alex doing anything, except for Alex being at the kennel and a normal family talking about a dog.
When circumstantial evidence is considered must be consistent and point conclusively to the suspect
Paul last used phone at 8:48, Maggie’s phone locks at 8:50 but records steps at 8:55 and orientation change at 9:06. 300 Blackout casings match casings near house and shooting range.
How did they establish time of death? Cell phone usage
Cell phone usage cannot determine time of death. Paul’s phone battery was close to dying.
Griffin said Tuten testified Paul would put his phone down so it wouldn’t get wet, the hose is on the ground outside Cash’s kennel, not where the groundskeeper said he left it. From photos of the kennels on June 7, Paul and/or Maggie had sprayed out the kennels and put the hose away. It is a fair conclusion that Paul puts Bubba up and puts Grady up and goes into the feed room and is confronted. The prosecution is relying on cell phones for time of death.
Maggie’s phone timeline from 8:49 to 9:07. 8:53 backlight comes on and orientation changes and Siri usage before backlight goes off and on 8:54, camera use starts – maybe facial recognition or intentional usage – orientation changes. There’s a lot going on with Maggie’s phone. Missed calls from Alex at 9:04. Griffin says at 9:03, Maggie’s backlight was on, Alex’s call comes in at 9:04 and intentionally shut off; 9:05 backlight on: 9:06, another call from Alex; 9:07 the phone stops for good.
Griffin says one of the things you heard was the orientation change was at 9:06. Alex’s 269 steps over 208 meters are recorded in this time period. Griffin says prosecution says Alex is scurrying around. Do the math and it is 63 steps per minute, 1 step per second. This is Alex scurrying around? Between 9:02 and 9:06, Maggie’s phone has an orientation change but what it doesn’t have are steps. Alex is not walking with Maggie’s phone. OnStar data has Alex passing the location where Maggie’s phone was found at 9:08.
Alex drives fast to Almeda to compress timeline, the defense said. Griffin said there is not reason to compress the timeline going back to Moselle. The most curious part about Maggie’s phone is Alex has her password and if he’s wanting to change the timeline when he calls her phone, he should answer or reply to the texts. If he’s manufacturing a timeline, the best way to do it is to use both phones. Why would Alex take her phone and not Paul’s? Makes no sense. He knows her password, her phone was never locked. Why?
Theses are circumstances that have to be consistent and have to point to guilt by no reasonable doubt.
We know from timeline he left at 9:07. Were they killed before that? We do know if he as at the house he wouldn’t have heard it. They were angry about the acoustic tests.
They say after 8:44, 8:50, after having a pleasant conversation about the dogs, Alex kills Paul and Maggie after being confronted by Jeanne Seckinger. If it happens at 8:50, he’d have to be a magician to make the evidence disappear.
The shooter is covered in blood and biological material because of blowback. The gun is covered in blood. There is not sufficient amount of time to clean that up and make it disappear. Then he calls Buster. Does he tell Buster he killed Paul and Maggie? He calls his brother and Chris Wilson and sits with his mother. He’s acting normal but their theory is he blew them away moments before.
Griffin talked about the angles/trajectory if the shots. They’re joking about the height of the shooters on the graphics. Let them have their fun. Could a 6’4” person take the shots at those angles, sure. The most common-sense thing is there were two shooters because there were two guns. One gun had a high-capacity load so why use anything else?
It’s not our burden. Its not our burden to prove Alex is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and the prosecution hasn’t done that.
The condition of Paul and Maggie… It was so bad. It was so bad.
Alex was in the car talking to Agent Owen and Agent Croft. Croft misheard “They did him so bad,” to hear “I did him do bad.” That points to a bigger question – what would they say if the conversation wasn’t videotaped.
Alex said there was no danger to Buster on September 4 because he tried to kill himself.
The defense said Alex wasn’t concerned about Buster’s safety on June 7 because he knows he did it.
Alex is heard talking to Buddy Hill on June 7 about his concern for Buster and asks someone to get a police officer to Buster in Columbia. Griffin thanks God for Colleton County sheriff deputy wearing a body cam to capture that on video.
Alex’s statements about times are not lies, jut mistakes. Waters is critical because Alex was wrong about every time Alex gave a time estimate. The statement to Deputy Greene when he last saw Maggie and Paul is off but the question about what he did at the scene – ran to Paul and Maggie, went to get the phone, called 911, he doesn’t remember the sequence. For Waters to say Maggie was running to her baby, Alex was running to his baby and doesn’t remember the sequence of events. Is that evidence of guilt of evidence of trauma?
He loaded a 16-gauge in a 12-gauge. He knew better but was that trauma?
Maggie’s and Paul’s DNA are on the t-shirt. How did the DNA get there? Because he went to them and touched them
There is spot of blood on steering wheel that is Maggie’s the suburban never went to the kennels. A spot of blood on the gun. 3 particles of GSR on the shirt and shorts consistent with transfer GSR by picking up a gun.
So, we’re really… back to the lie. The lie about the last time he saw them, and he shouldn’t have. He told you what was going through his mind, he was going through the throes of addiction and was paranoid about getting interviewed by SLED, all the skeletons in his closet would come out.
The State has gone to lengths, by slight-of-hand, to show you this and that without evidence of guilt because financial misdeeds were about to come out and there is no evidence of that.
They bring shotguns into court that cannot be excluded, can’t include them either. But no blood or guts are on them as there should be. They want you to think if you own guns, you should be seen of differently.
Why would Alex execute his wife and son in cold blood? Six weeks later the state has not provided and answer to that question
The State has said Alex manipulates his story, but it is the State that has been manipulating evidence to fit their timeline.
The state cannot manipulate the grand jury and then manipulate the evidence for a guilty verdict.
Griffin asks the jury not to compound one family tragedy with another and to find Alex not guilty.
State's rebuttal by John Meadors
He thanks their jury for their service. And says there is no book on how to be a juror but you’ve been preparing for this moment all your life through living and deciding what’s credible and believable.
Credibility and believability. This is a commonsense case. You didn’t leave your common sense when you came to this case. You had it with you and you have it now.
The defense has put law enforcement on trial… SLED did this, didn’t do that, manufactured evidence. They’re taking you away from the evidence and Meadors finds it offensive that a family with a history in law enforcement and solicitors -- that the defendant claims law enforcement didn’t do their jobs while he is withholding and obstructing justice by not saying “I was down at the kennels.”
Griffin says can you imagine the scene. Can you imagine not telling law enforcement you were there?
Credibility and believability.
Remember six weeks ago, Waters’ opening about direct evidence and circumstantial evidence? Circumstantial became direct evidence in many instances.
This case is about two things: It’s about being real and choices.
Meadors said his mother gave him a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit and wrote always be real, this case is about this defendant never being real.
He tells the jury they blame everybody but Alex.
Regarding the press release about no danger to the public – what did Alex not do? The first time he reached out to Buster was not immediately, but about 40 minutes later. He didn’t ask about getting people to his mother and Shelly at Almeda. That’s what’s real.
He brings up the boat case right away. He’s using it to throw off law enforcement. There is a boat case coming up. Vigilantes did it, but they’d have to know Paul and Maggie were alone at Moselle at a certain time and they did not bring guns because there would be guns to use at the scene? Does that make sense?
Murder is the killing of another with malice aforethought. It needs only to exist for the time it takes to pull a trigger. It can be expressed or inferred (one gun, two guns).
His world was collapsing coming down, only way he to save Alex. Is that enough? If he’s down there at the kennel and he’s angry – “Bubba! Come here!” Maybe he just got angry at Paul -- he started this with the boat case -- and maybe Alex lost it and shot Paul and then had to shoot Maggie.
Alex got angry and did it. He lost it, did you prove malice? Yes, two shots to Paul. Malicious. Five shots to Maggie. Not an accident, five shots. Malicious.
The burden on us is beyond a reasonable doubt, not beyond all doubt. Listen to the Judge when he talks to you. Reasonable doubt is not beyond all doubt. You can’t answer every question and the law doesn’t allow for that.
Alex goes to see his mother. He goes and you see OnStar near the smokehouse, that’s where he hid the guns at 9:30 at night. Mrs. Mixson said she called and said his father wasn’t doing well and didn’t go that afternoon, he went that night. He wasn’t going for her but for Alex to create an alibi. Alex called and there was a five minute stint before he got into the house. What does Shelly say? He didn’t stay long. 15-20 minutes, and he left. Later that week, Alex came by and told Shelly he was there 35-40 minutes and became visibly upset. She said he wasn’t there that long and called her brother who is a policeman in Yemassee. Body language is so important.
One day that week, at 6:30 in the morning, Alex goes to Almeda and was carrying something blue and vinyl-like. Remember when she was on the stand? She said she talked to the investigators and they ran times by her about when Alex was there. He went upstairs, she doesn’t know where, she didn’t see the tarp later. The only other blue tarp in evidence is the one defense bought from Walmart. SLED searches a blue vinyl something crumpled in a closet.
Meadors doesn’t know why Alex killed Paul and Maggie. Probably because he wanted to help the one he loved then most – Alex. To preserve his lifestyle.
What’s inside the blue jacket? Gunshot residue inside the jacket Shelly said she saw Alex with. That’s what Alex disposed the guns with.
He got in an ATV and moved some vehicles around before leaving. He was hiding evidence, disposing of guns.
Meadors doesn’t have to answer every question, he can’t. But the evidence is consistent with the hypothesis.
Alex also tells Shelly if you need help with her daughter’s wedding, to let him know. He also asks about her other job with the school district and tells her to let him know if he can be of assistance.
Blanca loved Maggie. Even when she quit working with her for a while, Blanca would keep up. Blanca is texting Maggie and Maggie texting Blanca on June 7. Blanca said Maggie didn’t want to go to Moselle – Marian said that as well. Marian regrets telling Maggie to go to Moselle. Alex said Maggie wanted to come. He got her there.
Blanca has food ready and leaves, goes home and is called later that night. She drops the phone – real emotion because she cared about Maggie.
She put Alex’s collar back up on the shirt he wore on June 7. On the snapchat at the tree Alex had changed clothes. When questioned about that later by SLED, Alex asks the time on the video and said he must have changed clothes sometime after that. In mid-august, Alex comes to see Blanca and tries to get her to tell him what he was wearing. Blanca had not seen the shirt or shoes he was wearing ever again.
When David Owens gets there, Alex has changed clothes again. Blanca remembers the Sperry shoes Alex wore that morning but never saw after that. Is that real?
Why is that important? It goes back to credibility and common sense. Those are clothes Blanca washed and dried.
Why have a lawyer during the first interview that night? SLED agents asked what happened. Alex checked his phone, ran to the bodies to check for a pulse, tried to turn Paul over and check his pulse, went to Maggie and check her purse. Alex was clean. How? He washed up, you can hear water from the hose in the background of the kennel video.
Alex grabbed Maggie’s phone, put it down in the Suburban, made the calls and texts and that’s why her phone doesn’t register steps.
If Alex took as many pills as he said he did, he wouldn’t be alive. Look at the interview that first night. He was calm, he was in his right mind, he said he didn’t go down there to the kennels.
You think he would have said he went to the kennels if the video had not come out? He said he lied and continues to lie until 672 days later -- when he took the stand. He told family and friends he wasn’t there. Why is it so critical? Because that’s the time of the murders.
There’s only one shooter using two guns.
You want to help law enforcement, be in law enforcement with a badge? Tell them you were there.
Rogan thought he heard Alex on the video and he answers he doesn’t think so – until the video comes out and he’s stuck.
When Alex took the stand, he corroborated he didn’t tell the truth.
Investigators did take blood evidence that was not presented in the case and now defense wants to blame the state for not putting it in evidence. They blame everybody else.
SLED is working with the FBI, they are giving Alex the benefit of the doubt. In the third interview, Alex is trying to figure out what the evidence they have against him.
The shell casings found around Maggie came from the same gun that was shot around the house. It was a family-owned gun.
This is like an episode of Columbo. He killed them, tried to get a timeline, threw Maggie’s phone out the window. Alex would have bumped into the killers. The story is you’ve just seen them and yet you don’t go by when you leave to go to Almeda? With the timeline, Meadors says the State has proven the case.
Does it make sense about Paul’s phone popping out?
The only thing consistent about this trial is that Alex is a liar.
Paul testified through Dr. Riemer and through his phone. Alex didn’t know Paul took the video and that’s why he said he wasn’t at the kennels. Paul had that insurance on the phone. No one knew the video was on the phone until law enforcement working together found it on the phone and Alex was caught.
Maggie was a witness because the shell casings around her came from the same gun that left spent casings at the house.
DNA in this case, Bubba negates it all. Bubba is with Blanca. And that’s the lie he told. Meadors said your greatest power is the power to choose. Everyone has it and uses it when you make decisions.
Meadors said his father told him never to blame someone else for your bad choices.
Is this rational to be on the side of the road and in the ambulance? He wanted to kill himself yet called 911 and said someone shot him? In the call-in interview from detox, Alex said “my world” is being effected.
Meadors thinks Alex loved Maggie and Paul, but he thinks Alex loved Alex more and made choices to make Alex’s life continue.
Alex has lied and lied and lied and it got him through. Meadors requests the jury make it end here and find him guilty.
Check back throughtout the day for updates on the defense closing arguments.
Prosecution Closing Argument Recap:
Alex Murdaugh's theft of millions of dollars was about to be revealed so he killed his wife and son to buy time to figure a way out, a prosecutor said Wednesday during closing arguments in the disgraced South Carolina attorney's murder trial.
Fearing his years of stealing from his law firm and clients would be exposed and hoping to maintain his lofty standing in the community, Murdaugh killed his wife and younger son in the hopes it would make him a sympathetic figure and draw attention away from the missing money, prosecutor Creighton Waters told jurors. Aided by his knowledge of how criminal cases are constructed, he hatched a clever plan to make sure they were at the family's Colleton County property on the night they were killed, June 7, 2021, he said.
“The pressures on this man were unbearable. And they were all reaching a crescendo the day his wife and son were murdered by him,” Waters said. The defense will get to sum up its case on Thursday.
Murdaugh, 54, faces 30 years to life in prison if he is convicted of either murder count. Investigators said his 22-year-old son, Paul, was shot twice with a shotgun and his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, was shot four or five times with a rifle outside of the kennels on their property.
Jurors began the day with a visit to the crime scene, where a pool reporter said at least one of them carefully inspected the door frame of a storage closet where Paul Murdaugh was standing when he was killed.
The key piece of evidence connecting Alex Murdaugh to the killings is a video Paul Murdaugh shot from the kennels about five minutes before he last used his cellphone. It took more than a year for federal agents to hack into the young man's locked iPhone and find it.
Alex Murdaugh repeatedly told everyone, starting with the first investigator to respond to the killings, that he hadn’t been at the kennels that night. But while testifying in his own defense, he admitted that he lied and that he had been there.
“Why in the world would an innocent, reasonable father and husband lie about that? And lie about it so early?” Waters said.
Although the weapons used to kill the victims haven't been found, an expert testified that the markings on the bullet casings found near Maggie Murdaugh’s body matched those found on casings at a shooting range on the family's property.
But there was no blood spatter linking the killings to Alex Murdaugh or anyone else, and prosecutors didn't spend much time laying out how they think Murdaugh could have killed his family, cleaned himself up, disposed of the clothes and weapons, and composed himself in the 15-minute window before GPS data shows he left the property to visit his ailing mother.
The prosecution's star crime scene expert said there wasn't enough evidence collected at the scene to definitely say whether there were one or two shooters at the kennels.
Still, Waters said there is enough evidence to link the killings to the financial crimes and to Alex Murdaugh being the only person with the motive, means and opportunity to kill his wife and son.
“As all of these pressures were mounting, the defendant killed Maggie and Paul,' Waters said, pulling out his cellphone and waving it. ”The forensic timeline puts him there. The use of the family weapons collaborates it. And his lies and his guilty actions afterward confirm that."
Waters said Alex Murdaugh has been lying for years to cover up his opioid addiction and the millions of dollars he stole, so it would be easy to lie about being at the kennels and killing his family, and to lie while testifying in his own defense last week.
“Always having to stay one step ahead of the game. Always have to literally beg, borrow and steal for over a decade to have the truth from being exposed,” Waters said.
The prosecutor said he thought Murdaugh rehearsed his testimony and was scared to deviate, so he couldn't give specifics when Waters asked for details that would seem memorable such as his last conversation with his wife at the kennels before she died.
"This defendant has fooled everyone — everyone who thought they were close to him," Waters said. "He fooled Maggie and Paul, too, and they paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him fool you, too.”
The defense has said state agents conducted a poor investigation that focused too quickly on Alex Murdaugh and missed evidence such as fingerprints and shoe prints that could have led to the real killers.