Alex Murdaugh’s Murder Trial Starts With Cellphones, Bullets

1 day ago 1

After 19 months of speculation, prosecutors yet laid retired their grounds Wednesday that Alex Murdaugh killed his woman and lad arsenic they opened the treble execution proceedings for the disgraced South Carolina attorney.

There was gunshot residue connected a spot belt, bullets pulled from bodies that matched ammunition boxes from astir the location and cellphones ne'er utilized again conscionable a fewer minutes aft Murdaugh, his woman and lad were each heard successful a cellphone video, authoritative Creighton Waters said successful his opening statement.

“It’s complicated. It’s a journey. There’s a batch of aspects to this case,” Waters said. “But similar a batch of things that are complicated, we commencement to enactment them each together, piecing unneurotic similar a puzzle—all the sudden, a representation emerges.”

A defence lawyer said prosecutors incorrectly locked successful connected Murdaugh’s guilt from the commencement and person spent each that clip trying to jam bits of grounds that tin beryllium explained distant oregon permission an incomplete representation into a communicative that frames the incorrect man.

“There’s nary nonstop evidence. There’s nary eyewitnesses. There’s thing connected camera. There’s nary fingerprints. There’s nary forensics tying him to the crime. None,” defence lawyer Dick Harpootlian said.

Waters opened the proceedings with 3 minutes of graphic statement of the country wherever the bodies of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son, Paul, 22, were recovered changeable with astatine slightest 1 slug to the caput by 2 antithetic guns, pointing to Paul Murdaugh’s caput and calling it “catastrophic damage.”

Harpootlian added adjacent much gruesome details—how the shotgun blast that killed Paul Murdaugh was truthful adjacent to his caput that his encephalon exploded from his skull and was recovered astatine his feet. Alex Murdaugh started crying erstwhile his lawyer discussed the detail.

“Alex was the loving begetter of Paul and the loving hubby of Maggie,” Harpootlian said. “You’re not going to perceive a azygous witnesser accidental that their narration was thing different than loving.”

It was the commencement of what is expected to beryllium a three-week proceedings astatine the Colleton County Courthouse. Both sides finished picking a 12-person assemblage with six alternates Wednesday.

Murdaugh, 54, is lasting proceedings connected 2 counts of murder. If convicted, helium faces 30 years to beingness successful prison.

Alex Murdaugh testimony Defendant Alex Murdaugh prepares for assemblage enactment to resume during his execution proceedings astatine the Colleton County Courthouse successful Walterboro, S.C., connected Jan. 23, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

This proceedings is the bottommost of a stunningly acold and accelerated downfall for the antheral whose household dominated the ineligible strategy successful tiny neighboring Hampton County for generations, some arsenic prosecutors and backstage attorneys known for getting life-changing settlements for accidents and negligence cases.

Murdaugh besides faces astir 100 charges related to different crimes, including wealth laundering, stealing millions from clients and the household instrumentality firm, taxation evasion, and trying to get a antheral to fatally sprout him truthful his surviving lad could cod a $10 cardinal beingness security policy. He was being held successful jailhouse without bail connected those counts earlier helium was charged with murder.

Prosecutors released small accusation astir their lawsuit earlier Wednesday. In an opening statement, they sketched retired a timeline of what they deliberation happened astatine the Murdaughs’ location and adjacent the canine kennels connected their 1,300-acre hunting spot June 7, 2021.

Waters said Murdaugh told investigators helium was ne'er astatine the kennels earlier uncovering his woman and son’s bodies adjacent them aft spending an hr distant from the location checking connected his mother, who has dementia.

Waters said a video connected Paul Murdaugh’s cellphone has the voices of him, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh successful it. Less than 5 minutes later, Paul Murdaugh’s telephone was ne'er utilized again. Maggie Murdaugh’s telephone “locks forever” astir 30 seconds later, Waters said.

The prosecution said ammunition cartridges recovered astir Maggie Murdaugh’s assemblage had markings that matched different cartridges fired astatine a scope connected the spot and different locations. The cartridges were utilized successful a benignant of firearm that Alex Murdaugh bought but can’t beryllium accounted for, Waters said.

Powder and residue near down from a weapon was recovered successful respective places Alex Murdaugh was besides at, the authoritative said.

Harpootlian said each this was grasping astatine immoderate grounds mightiness marque Murdaugh look blameworthy and ignoring what didn’t acceptable the mentation that helium did it.

The residue came erstwhile Murdaugh picked up a shotgun aft checking his woman and lad for signs of beingness and calling 911 successful lawsuit their killers were inactive connected his property, Harpootlian said.

Maggie Murdaugh’s cellphone, which her hubby provided the codification investigators utilized to find it the adjacent day, showed it was being dumped connected the broadside of the roadworthy disconnected the spot astatine the aforesaid clip Alex Murdaugh’s telephone showed helium started his motortruck conscionable extracurricular his home, the defence lawyer said.

Harpootlian told the assemblage helium would emotion to beryllium capable to archer them wherefore idiosyncratic truthful brutally killed Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, but investigators ignored each different suspects and scenarios.

“We don’t cognize why. He doesn’t cognize why,” Harpootlian said, gesturing toward the prosecutor. “He’s got theories of this and theories of that.”

At the extremity of the day, Alex Murdaugh shook his attorney’s hands and past looked backmost wherever his surviving lad and member were seated down him, He smiled and pointed astatine them.

He past walked to the broadside doorway of the courtroom wherever helium volition beryllium taken to the Colleton County jailhouse wherever helium is staying during his trial.

By Jeffery Collins