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Alex Murdaugh trial coverage: South Carolina lawyer stands trial for double-murder of wife, son

The murder trial for Alex Murdaugh finished its second day of testimony, Thursday, with prosecutors presenting evidence to suggest the South Carolina legal scion fatally shot his wife, Maggie, and their son, Paul, in 2021.


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Coverage for this event has ended.

The second day of Alex Murdaugh's trial wrapped up at about 5:30 p.m.

The second day of the testimony portion of Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial wrapped up Thursday at about 5:30 p.m. after six witnesses took the stand.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Footprints at crime scene likely belonged to Alex Murdaugh's slain wife, deputy testifies

Colleton County Maj. Jason Chapman said he identified foot prints that looked like they were made by flip flops on Alex Murdaugh's hunting estate the night of the double murder.

The footprints appeared to go from one end of the hangar then turn around and go back, he said.

The impressions appeared to match the shoes Maggie, 52, was wearing when she was executed.

Her body was found near the hangar about 30 yards from Paul, 22, whose head had been blown off, according to testimony.

Chapman also elaborated on why he found Murdaugh's behavior odd that night.

The major and other deputies were investigating a set of unknown tire tracks at the crime scene, which appeared to pique Murdaugh's interest.

"Everything changed, he began to watch us work more closely, sometimes out of the corner of his eyes,” Chapman said.

On cross-examination, defense lawyer Dick Harpootlian asked whether Murdaugh's "change in demeanor" could be due to interest in evidence that "might point to the killer or killers of his wife and child?”

“Could it be? Absolutely, it could be. It was just a change in demeanor,” Chapman replied.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Colleton County Maj. tells jurors what he found odd about Murdaugh's behavior

Colleton County Maj. Jason Chapman told jurors Thursday that he found it strange that Murdaugh kept asking when first responders would arrive before abruptly ending the 911 call.

“The only thing I thought was odd was he wanted to separate the call," said Chapman. "It was 'I need to call my family' and then the phone disconnected.” First responders hadn't yet arrived.

Murdaugh called 911 at 10:07 p.m. June 7, 2021, to report that his son Paul, 22, and wife, Maggie, had been fatally shot near the dog kennels on their property.

Chapman said that when he pulled up to the hunting estate, he wasn't sure if there was an active shooter or a murder-suicide and was alarmed that Murdaugh had indicated on the 911 call that he had gone back to the main house to retrieve a gun.

“It’s scary that he believes someone is there who he believes hurt them and may come back and hurt him," Chapman said of his mindset.

Chapman added that Murdaugh exhibited subtle behaviors that stuck out to him.

"He was emotional, there was distress on his face, I didn’t see him cry. Not everyone cries, I don’t have an issue with that," Chapman told jurors. "There were times when we got to certain places, certain questions, you could see a demeanor change or body shift."

The major did not elaborate further. He also noted, as two other witnesses did, that Murdaugh had no visible blood on him.

Murdaugh told the 911 dispatcher that he had touched their bodies to check them. Both victims had sustained devastating injuries and were in pools of their own blood, tissue and brain matter.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Paul Murdaugh's brain was by his foot, fire chief testifies

Barry McRoy, of Colleton County fire and rescue, testified that Paul and Maggie Murdaugh had devastating injuries.

"That is the body of Paul, and he is laying facedown at the entrance to the utility room at the kennels," said McRoy, describing a crime scene photo."You can see there is substantial damage to his head. There’s a lot of blood and there appears to be his brain down there by his foot.”

In another crime scene photo, McRoy described Maggie's injuries after she'd been shot at least four times. "She had a hole in her head to where you could actually see inside of her head,” he said.

During the graphic testimony, Murdaugh bowed his head and rocked back and forth in distress.

McRoy said he didn't bother checking the pulses of Paul and Maggie because their wounds were clearly "incompatible with life."

After prosecutors wrapped up their direct examination of McRoy, Murdaugh removed his reading glasses and wiped his eyes with a tissue.

McRoy said he had met Murdaugh "on a professional basis" before encountering him at the scene of the double murder when he had to do "depositions and such with his law firm."

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Jurors hear Alex Murdaugh's harrowing 911 calls

Prosecutors played Alex Murdaugh's disturbing 911 calls after he allegedly shot his wife and son.

"I need the police and an ambulance immediately," Murdaugh hysterically tells the dispatcher on the 10:07 p.m. call June 7, 2021. "My wife and child were shot badly."

"Neither one of them’s moving," he says of Paul, 22, and Maggie 52. Prosecutors have argued that he was faking his grief and shock in a desperate bid to try to pin the murders on someone else.

The dispatcher asks Murdaugh if they shot themselves. "Oh no! Hell no!" he responds.

"I'm going back to my house to get a gun, just in case," Murdaugh tells the dispatcher on the call. "My son has been threatened for months and months and months. He's been hit several times."

In response to a question from the dispatcher, Murdaugh indicates that his son reported the alleged assaults.

Murdaugh also says on the call that he last spoke to his wife an hour and a half earlier. This detail was redacted from the 911 calls that were previously released to the public, according to the Post and Courier.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

A pair of courtroom buffs drove three hours to visit the scene of Alex Murdaugh's trial

Dale Johnson, 54, and Ron Godwin, 42, of South Carolina, drove three hours Thursday on the first day of testimony in Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial and caught a glimpse of the jailed man's family leaving the courthouse.

Johnson and Godwin have tracked the fallen patriarch's case since his son, Paul, 22, and his wife, Maggie, 52, were found shot to death on the family's sprawling hunting estate June 7, 2021.

“We haven’t missed a minute of it,” said Johnson, who is from Kingstree.

The pair stared intently at Buster, his girlfriend Brooklynn White, and Murdaugh's brother, John Marvin, and other family members, as they climbed into an SUV to take them away from the Colleton County Courthouse during the lunch break. 

Godwint was clutching a four-inch thick binder with colored tabs, which included all the court documents in the case and other material.

“I think he’s innocent, they’ll never convict him,” Johnson told Fox News Digital. “It takes somebody very sick in my opinion to kill his wife and his child at the same time.”

Johnson, however, thinks Murdaugh may have hired someone else to do it, while Godwin is still on the fence as to the 54-year-old disbarred lawyer’s guilt.

Godwin, Johnson, his wife and another family friend convene weekly around his kitchen island to discuss the case.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Who is Buster Murdaugh?

Richard "Buster" Murdaugh Jr., 26, — the lone surviving son of disgraced South Carolina lawyer and accused killer Alex Murdaugh, appeared behind his father Thursday morning as the elder Murdaugh's trial entered its second day.

Buster grew up with his younger brother Paul on a sprawling 1,700-acre hunting farm, known as Moselle, in Islandton, South Carolina.

As of November 2022, Buster lives with Brooklynn White, both 26, and their beloved golden retriever, Miller, in a modest one-bedroom Hilton Head Island condominium. It’s unclear when Buster and White began dating — but she accompanied him to the joint funeral of Paul and Maggie, according to a source.

Buster attended University of South Carolina Law School alongside White. He was allegedly kicked out in his second semester for plagiarism, the Wall Street Journal reported. Alex paid an attorney $60,000 to try to get Buster readmitted, according to FitsNews.

The news site also reported that Buster attended the annual South Carolina Association for Justice convention on Hilton Head in August with his attorney uncle, Randolph "Randy" Murdaugh IV.

Buster was named as a defendant in the Mallory Beach death suit for allegedly letting his brother Paul, who was underage, use his ID to buy alcohol for the doomed boating trip. 

Posted by Fox News

Alex Murdaugh hysterical but dry-eyed at crime scene, body cam shows

WALTERSBORO, S.C. – Disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was hysterical but dry-eyed after his wife and son were shot to death, according to testimony Thursday at his double murder trial.

Sgt. Daniel Greene, the first responder on the scene, said Murdaugh, 54, wasn't actually crying.

"Did you ever observe any physical tears?" asked Creighton Waters, lead prosecutor for the South Carolina Attorney General's Office.

"I did not," replied Greene, who was the state's first witness in the Colleton County Courthouse in Waltersboro. 

Jurors were played Greene's body camera footage from June 7, 2021, when he responded to Moselle – the family's sprawling hunting estate, where Paul and Maggie were murdered.

As the graphic footage was played, Murdaugh, who was seated at the defense table, appeared to weep.

Continue reading about Alex Murdaugh's trial.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Alex Murdaugh's defense lawyer suggests law enforcement contaminated crime scene

Sgt. Daniel Greene admitted on cross-examination that first responders to the double homicide did not wear protective gowns or booties to preserve evidence.

"Did they put anything to insulate themselves from contaminating the scene?" asked Alex Murdaugh's lead defense lawyer Dick Harpootlian.

"No," he replied.

He added that it is not the normal procedure for the Colleton County Sheriff's Office.

Officers freely walked around the scene at Moselle, the sprawling hunting estate where prosecutors say Murdaugh fatally shot his son, Paul, and his wife, Maggie, June 7, 2021.

Greene also said that he noticed tire tracks but did not make any effort to preserve them and they may have been destroyed.

The state next called Corporal Chad McDowell, also of the Colleton County Sheriff's Office, who responded to the grisly scene.

His body camera footage was played for jurors -- but not for spectators.

McDowell can be heard on the video saying to other first responders, "We've been asked not to disturb anything. We've got SLED on the way."

The witness said he noticed Paul's cellphone on his back pocket when he lifted the sheet that was covering his body.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Alex Murdaugh immediately mentions boat crash to police after double murder

Murdaugh's first statement to an officer after his wife and son were murdered was in reference to a 2019 deadly boat crash.

“This is a long story. My son was in a boat wreck. He’s been getting threats," Murdaugh can be heard saying in body camera footage played for jurors. "I know that’s what it is.”

Sgt. Daniel Greene, one of the first responder on the scene, said he didn't ask Murdaugh anything to elicit the comment.

Prosecutors have argued in court papers that Murdaugh was trying to throw off investigators by mentioning the litigation.

Paul was facing criminal charges after he drunkenly slammed his father's boat into a bridge, killing Mallory Beach and injuring four other friends.

Murdaugh was facing a wrongful death lawsuit over the tragic collision.

Prosecutors have argued that Murdaugh feared that the litigation would force him to disclose his finances and expose his decades-long corruption schemes.

On Greene's body camera footage, Murdaugh sounds hysterical as he talks to his brother, John Marvin Murdaugh, on the phone.

"Did you ever observe any physical tears?" prosecutor Creighton Waters asked Greene.

"I did not."

On the footage, Murdaugh can be heard telling Greene that he only drove to the dog kennels, where Maggie and Paul were shot, twice.

"I came in here and left one time then I came back," he says.

But Green said on direct examination it "appeared there were more tracks than just that."

Waters argued in opening statements that Murdaugh had lied about when he was at the dog kennels.

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

Prosecutors display firearm to jurors in Alex Murdaugh trial

Prosecutor Creighton Waters showed jurors the shotgun that Alex Murdaugh had on him when Sgt. Daniel Greene arrived at Moselle on the night of the murders.

Murdaugh said he had retrieved the weapon for protection from the main house after finding Paul and Maggie dead.

It wasn't one of the two weapons used in the double murder. Prosecutors then began to play Greene's body camera footage, which is about 45 minutes long.

The video was not visible to the gallery. Murdaugh looked distraught as he stared at a screen playing the footage.

"To the left was Paul's body, who was facing down on the ground and a large pool of blood around him and a great deal of water," said Greene, describing the graphic video.

"On the right would be Maggie's body also laying face down on the ground in a large pool of blood," he continued.

Greene took Murdaugh's shotgun and handed it over to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Posted by rebecca rosenberg

Alex Murdaugh wasn't crying when police arrived at Moselle after his wife and son were shot, officer

State prosecutors called their first witness Thursday, Sgt. Daniel Green, with the Colleton County Sheriff's Office.

He was the first officer on the scene after Alex Murdaugh called 911 to report that his wife and son had been shot June 7, 2021, at the family's sprawling hunting estate.

"A male caller had called and said he found his wife and son shot," Greene said. It took the officer about 20 minutes to get to the remote location.

Greene described approaching the victims. "There was a large deal of blood that had pulled around [Paul's body] and the same thing for the female victim," Greene said adding that there was a lot of brain matter.

The disclosure prompted Murdaugh, wearing reading glasses, to bow his head and appear to weep at the defense table.

Greene said the family patriarch seemed upset but appeared to have no "physical tears."

Posted by rebecca rosenberg

Alex Murdaugh arrives Thursday for the first day of testimony in his trial

Alex Murdaugh, 54, arrived at about 9 a.m. Thursday to the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, for the first day of testimony in his double murder trial.

The fallen scion of a local legal dynasty stepped out of a black van wearing a white button down shirt and carrying his suit jacket. His son, Buster, and his son's girlfriend arrived a few minutes later to watch the proceedings from the gallery.

Murdaugh is accused of gunning down his 22-year-old son Paul and his 52-year-old wife, Maggie, June, 7, 2021.

Testimony is expected to begin with prosecutors playing for jurors a 45-minute body camera video from the night of the killings.

On Wednesday, a jury of eight men and four women was seated and opening statements kicked off. 

His defense lawyer described the graphic injuries sustained by his son, whose brain was severed from his head.

Dick Harpootlian told jurors that Paul’s head exploded “like a watermelon hit with a sledgehammer” but his client wasn’t responsible.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters argued that the evidence against Murdaugh is circumstantial but overwhelming. 

Murdaugh also faces charges on dozens of financial and drug-related crimes. 

Posted by Rebecca Rosenberg

South Carolina scion Alex Murdaugh's grandfather's portrait removed from trial ahead of testimony

The South Carolina judge presiding over the double murder trial of embattled legal scion Alex Murdaugh has ordered a portrait of the man’s late grandfathered be removed from inside the courtroom.

The portrait depicts Randolph “Buster” Murdaugh Jr., who served as the 14th Circuit Solicitor, a role that serve five South Carolina counties including Colleton County, where the murder trial is being held. Buster Murdaugh gained the title in 1940 and maintained the position until 1986, when his son, Alex Murdaugh’s father Randolph Murdaugh III, took over.

According to The New York Times, Judge Clifton Newman ordered that the portrait be removed on Wednesday as opening statements began. He had previously ruled that the portrait would be dismantled.  

“Buster’s” grandson, 54-year-old Alex’s Murdaugh, is accused in the double slaying of Alex’s son, Paul, 22, and his wife, Maggie, 52, in June 2021. Since their deaths, he has been disbarred and disgraced as he has been linked to several other deaths in the community, and an alleged failed attempt to take his own life. 

Witness testimony in the trial begins Thursday. 

Posted by Stephanie Pagones

Alex Murdaugh's defense attorney brushes prosecutors' accusations: 'no direct evidence'

Prosecutors, Alex Murdaugh, and his defense attorneys will enter the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., on Thursday to resume the double-murder trial.

On Wednesday, opening statements from both sides were heard as prosecutors painted a graphic picture of how Murdaugh, 54, allegedly killed his wife and son using a shotgun and a rifle.

Murdaugh's defense, however, said the evidence was spotty and argued that it did not adequately tie the South Carolina attorney to the murders.

“There’s no direct evidence. There’s no eyewitnesses. There’s nothing on camera. There’s no fingerprints. There’s no forensics tying him to the crime. None,” defense lawyer Dick Harpootlian said.

Harpootlian, following prosecutor Creighton Waters, offered a graphic description of the scene where the bodies of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son, Paul, 22, were found.

He argued the gruesome nature of the crime seems to fall at odds with the "loving" relationship the family exhibited.

Alex Murdaugh was also seen crying when his lawyer discussed the details of the crime scene.

Alex was the loving father of Paul and the loving husband of Maggie," Harpootlian said. “You’re not going to hear a single witness say that their relationship was anything other than loving.”

Wednesday was the start of what is expected to be a three-week trial. It officially started after both sides finished selecting a 12-person jury with six alternates Wednesday.

Murdaugh has been charged with two counts of murder. If convicted, he faces 30 years to life in prison.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Posted by Lawrence Richard

Jury in Alex Murdaugh trial could visit kennels where murders took place

The 12-person jury in disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial could visit the dog kennels on Murdaugh's property where his deceased wife, Maggie, and son Paul were fatally shot in June 2021.

Murdaugh is accused of gunning down Paul and Maggie using a rifle and shotgun near the dog kennels on their sprawling 1,700-acre hunting estate known as Moselle in Islandton, South Carolina. 

Prosecutor Creighton Waters said in his opening statements Wednesday that he hopes to take the jury to the kennels where the murders took place. Murdaugh claims he was napping and therefore not present at the crime scene on the night of Maggie's and Paul's murder, but Waters alleges he was and has cellphone data and video evidence to prove it.

"He was there just minutes before, with Maggie and Paul, just minutes before their cellphones went silent forever and ever," Waters said in his opening statement.

Earlier in his opening statements, Waters said that about a week after the murders, Alex Murdaugh went to his mother's home unexpectedly and was seen going "upstairs" with a tarp-like substance. The substance was later determined to be a blue raincoat that was covered in gunshot residue, Waters said. He added that jurors would be hearing from Murdaugh's mother's caretaker. Murdaugh's mother suffers from advanced Alzheimer's, he said.

Posted by Lawrence Richard

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