COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Judge Clifton Newman decided Wednesday to allow testimony about Alex Murdaugh’s botched suicide-for-hire attempt in his double murder trial.
Murdaugh is accused of killing his wife Margaret and youngest son Paul at their family property in June of 2021.
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The decision to allow the testimony came after Judge Newman previously ruled it would not be allowed because it lacked sufficient relevance to this case. After questioning by the defense brought up Curtis Eddie Smith, Judge Newman reversed the decision, saying the door had been opened.
Wednesday’s witness testimony came mainly from SLED agent David Owen, the lead investigator on the case. Prosecution introduced a new video of an August 11, 2021 interview with Murdaugh, the third SLED interview conducted in the case.
The interview was the first time Murdaugh was told by SLED he was being seriously considered as the main suspect in the case.
Owen recounted Murdaugh’s changing stories and inconsistencies in his timeline, which led Owen to believe he was behind the murders.
Murdaugh’s defense team contends that the investigation was botched from the start and that SLED made no effort to gather evidence that would’ve excluded Murdaugh as a suspect.
In several big moments for the defense, Owen admitted that some information he gave to the Colleton County Grand Jury that indicted Murdaugh was false. In some cases he knew the information was false; in other cases, the information was true at the time but was later disproven.
Murdaugh’s team also introduced a new theory: that the murders were the result of debts Murdaugh owed to Smith and a drug gang known as the Cowboys. They say SLED failed to follow up on that theory as well.
The jury also heard testimony from a cell phone forensics expert with the Attorney General’s Office who analyzed data from Paul, Maggie, and Alex’s cell phones. The state will pick up with cross-examination of that witness on Thursday morning.
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5:13 p.m. – The jury is dismissed. Judge Newman brings up his earlier ruling excluding testimony about the roadside shooting. Judge Newman says that the defense opened the door for the testimony by bringing up Smith and drugs and money, so the decision is reversed.
Court is in recess until 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
4:49 p.m. – David Grubbs is called to the stand.
He is the SCAG chief forensic investigator for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Grubbs is an expert in cell phone forensics. He analyzed some of the data in this case.
Specifically, Grubbs analyzed Paul’s battery habits and battery usage. Paul frequently let his battery get low, but usually plugged it in before it died. In the week prior to the murders, Paul’s phone died four times. On average, he plugged it back in within 20 minutes or less.
Between 8:49 p.m. and 10:34 p.m. the night of June 7, Grubbs says Paul’s phone screen went on and off several times. It can happen if the phone is picked up or moved, if a message or notification comes in, if the screen is tapped, etc.
Grubbs also looked at Maggie’s phone. He says the screen on that also lit up multiple times as well that night.
Grubbs says in his opinion, orientation changes typically mean someone is handling the phone. Maggie’s phone had a series of orientation changes after she was believed to have been killed.
Between 9:07 p.m. and 9:31 p.m., Maggie’s phone was off and locked. Prosecution asks if her phone had been thrown, would it have recorded an orientation change? Grubbs says no, the version of iOS she had did not record orientation changes from that.
4:14 p.m. – The jury returns. Griffin asks if Owen found any life insurance policies on Maggie and Paul. Owen says no.
Griffin asks if Owen found any evidence that Smith was skimming the money Murdaugh paid him and not paying the drug gang everything that was due. Owen says he’s not aware of that.
Griffin asks again about something Owen told Murdaugh in the August 11 interview. He told Murdaugh shells around the property matched Maggie, but knew that they couldn’t really match the shells until they had the known murder weapon.
In redirect, prosecution brings up the roadside shooting. They say defense opened the door when they brought up Smith.
4:02 p.m. – The jury is sent to the jury room for a break.
3:01 p.m. – Defense attorney Jim Griffin begins cross-examination. Griffin asks if Murdaugh became a suspect as soon as he called 911. Owen says yes.
Griffin says SLED and other investigators failed to take steps to preserve evidence that excludes Murdaugh. Owen says he doesn’t agree.
Griffin says according to SLED, Maggie and Paul were murdered between 8:50 p.m. and 9:06 p.m. and the murderer(s) would’ve had to have two different shotguns with them. Griffin asks if whoever killed them would’ve had biological material from the shotgun blast. Owen says yes.
Griffin says if Murdaugh was the murderer, he would’ve had to brutally murder his wife and son, leave to go to his mom’s minutes later, and dispose of the weapons somewhere along the route to his mom’s. Owen agrees.
Griffin asks if any murder weapons were found at Moselle during SLED’s search. Owen says no. Griffin asks if SLED ever searched the route from Moselle to Alameda. Owen says it was driven and no weapons were found. He says several waterways between the two areas were searched as well and no weapons were found.
The GM data shows that Murdaugh did not stop along the way. Owen agrees.
Griffin points out that Alameda was never searched until sometime in mid-September.
Griffin asks if a search of Alameda could’ve excluded Murdaugh from the investigation. Owen says possibly. Griffin says that opportunity was missed. Owen says it wasn’t missed, it just wasn’t known about.
Griffin says that Rogan Gibson had been interviewed by the morning of June 8 and had poked a hole in Murdaugh’s alibi. Owen says at that point, he didn’t have a full timeline.
Griffin points out they looked through the house and Murdaugh’s cars and found hardly any evidence of blood or GSR.
They move on to discuss the blue rain jacket. Owen says that he showed Shelly Smith the jacket about a month ago. He says he showed her hoping she would recognize the color because she had only ID’d a blue vinyl item.
Griffin says that the jacket tested negative for blood and DNA. He says if someone had wrapped the gun used to kill Paul, it would have blood or DNA on it. Owen agrees. He says he would think there would be blood or DNA on it, but he can’t say for sure unless he tested the weapon.
Griffin asks if Murdaugh had cleaned up at the house after committing the murders, wouldn’t they expect to find trace evidence? Owen says yes, if Murdaugh cleaned up in the house. He says SLED did not find any trace evidence anywhere in the house.
They discuss the confrontation on August 11, 2021 during which Owen asked Murdaugh if he did it. Owen says Murdaugh was the only known suspect at that time.
Griffin asks if Owen ever asked Murdaugh where the clothes in the Snapchat video were. Owen says no. Griffin asks if that is because they were focused on the clothes Murdaugh was wearing when SLED got there. Owen says yes. Griffin asks if they were looking for blood-spatter, which would’ve been present on whoever shot Paul. Owen says yes.
Griffin asks why Murdaugh’s clothes were the only clothes tested for DNA even though he was not the victim of a crime. He asks why Paul and Maggie’s clothes weren’t tested. Owen says they were looking for evidence to include or exclude Murdaugh. Griffin asks what kind of evidence would’ve been exclusionary.
Griffin points out that the information given to the Colleton County Grand Jury when they indicted Murdaugh was inaccurate. It said Paul and Maggie’s DNA was found in areas of presumptive-positive blood on the shirt. Hematrace testing found no evidence of human blood on the shirt. Owen says he didn’t get that report until later.
Griffin asks if SLED ever seized the pair of khaki pants the Murdaugh’s housekeeper, Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson, testified she saw on the bathroom floor the morning of June 8. Owen says no.
They discuss the August 11 interview during which Owen told Murdaugh that several weapons at the home were loaded with buck shots and bird shots. Griffin asks if he can identify any weapons loaded with both. Owen says no. Griffin asks if he was lying to Murdaugh. Owen says he is allowed to use trickery to illicit a response. Griffin says he told the same thing to the Grand Jury and asks if Owen was lying to the Grand Jury. Owen says that the guns did have mixed loads, it was just different brands of ammunition. Griffin points out he said they were buck shot and bird shot loads. Owen admits his testimony was not accurate.
Griffin says people make mistakes. Owen agrees. He says people make mistakes about times. Owen says that is the most common mistake. Griffin says when Owen identified inconsistencies in Murdaugh’s alibi, time was the biggest issue.
Owen says Murdaugh claimed he was at his mom’s house for 45 minutes to an hour, then changed it to around 20 minutes. Griffin says how long Murdaugh was at his mom’s house is really irrelevant, the main question is how long Murdaugh was away from Moselle.
Owen says the timing is relevant when he’s trying to build a timeline.
Griffin points out that CB Rowe initially lied to investigators about where he was on June 7. He didn’t want Murdaugh to know that he was looking for another job.
Griffin says that Murdaugh was paying Curtis Eddie Smith around $50,000 per week for drugs. He says Smith was buying the drugs from members of the Sand Hill/Cowboys drug gang and that Smith owed them a lot of money. Griffin asks if they ever looked into the gang members or ever put them into the circle. Owen says they didn’t identify anyone else at Moselle that night. He says he didn’t check gang member cell phone records or obtain their DNA. He says the investigation into the drug gang is ongoing.
2:26 p.m. – Court resumes.
They continue playing the video. Owen says he can’t exclude the boat incident and asks Murdaugh how far along they are in civil litigation. Fleming stops the conversation and says he knows nothing about the case, but he doesn’t think Murdaugh should talk about it without his lawyers present.
Murdaugh says he doesn’t mind. He says the case has made some progress but is still unresolved.
Owen says he is just trying to figure out if something happened in the case that pissed somebody off.
Murdaugh says he doesn’t think so. He says that he heard through the grapevine that one of the families involved was allegedly asking other people to take sides, but he doesn’t know that for a fact.
Murdaugh takes a call from Buster.
Sometime later, they show Murdaugh the Snapchat video Paul took of him next to the tree. Murdaugh says he remembers Paul was laughing because he couldn’t get the tree to stand up. Owen asks if the video was taken the night of the murders. Murdaugh says he is not sure.
As the video appears to be ending, Owen says “a few more questions.” He asks Murdaugh point-blank “did you kill Maggie?” Murdaugh says no. Owen asks “did you kill Paul?” Murdaugh says no. He asks if Owen thinks he killed them. Owen says he has to go with what the facts say. He says the facts don’t point toward anyone else.
The video stops. Prosecution asks if there were any other suspects that day. Owen says no. He says that day, the case was transferred from the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Prosecution asks Owen about Murdaugh’s alibi. Owen says there were inconsistencies with how long he spent at his mother’s house, how long he rode around with Paul, and how long he napped for. Owen also pointed out the contradiction between Murdaugh saying he was not at the kennels that night, but being identified by Rogan Gibson during a phone call with Paul around 8:40 p.m.
Prosecution asks if it is fair to say that the investigation into Murdaugh’s finances overlapped with the murder investigation. Owen says yes, that they fed off of and informed each other.
Owen says that they did not get the kennel video until spring of 2022. He says to his knowledge, no one other than Paul would’ve known that video was on the phone.
Prosecution asks if there were any credible leads that led them to anyone other than Murdaugh. Owen says no credible leads.
1:04 p.m. – Court is in recess and will return at 2:20 p.m.
11:31 a.m. – The jury returns. Video of Murdaugh’s third SLED interview conducted August 11, 2021 is played. Owen said it was a voluntary meeting. He, SLED agent Jeff Croft, Murdaugh, and Cory Fleming were there. Fleming is a defense attorney and longtime friend of Murdaugh.
The timestamp on the video indicates it was conducted around 9:00 a.m., but Owen says it happened shortly before 2:00 p.m.
Owen says that he has some questions he wants to ask Murdaugh. Fleming stops him and says that they thought the meeting was to update Murdaugh and asks for that to be done first. Murdaugh says that he doesn’t mind answering questions. Fleming pushes back, saying he doesn’t understand why SLED can’t answer their questions first.
Fleming asks if they’re asking questions to further the investigation or because they think Murdaugh is a suspect. Owen says it’s to further the investigation. Fleming says he isn’t comfortable with them questioning Murdaugh as a suspect.
Owen says that in any homicide investigation, they start with the closest person and the person that found the deceased, which is Murdaugh. That person stays in until SLED can exclude them, and Owen says that he can’t exclude Murdaugh at this point until he gets questions to the answers.
Fleming says that everyone in America has an opinion on the case and that the opinions are “bullshit.” Owen says that he doesn’t read the articles and doesn’t care to. He wants to ask questions for his investigation.
Murdaugh pushes, saying he is comfortable answering and that he wants to do anything to help.
Owen begins asking Murdaugh about his day. Murdaugh says he went to work and can’t remember exactly what time, but he can check the keypad at his office. He asks about the boat accident. Murdaugh says that he wasn’t really involved in the legal stuff for it, but he was getting his stuff together for the civil case.
Murdaugh says he and Paul arrived to Moselle around the same time that night and rode around the farm. Murdaugh breaks down when describing his evening with Paul. He says they rode around and talked about everything.
Murdaugh notes that Paul’s feet had swollen up and they were worried about blood pressure due to stress. He says Paul “handled everything amazingly” but they were worried and wanted him to see a doctor. Paul was resistant.
Murdaugh says Maggie got back later, a couple of hours after him and Paul. He can’t remember if they met Maggie at the shed or the house.
Murdaugh tells Owen that Maggie wasn’t supposed to come to Moselle that night. She came home that night because they had just received bad news about Murdaugh’s father’s health, and she was worried about Murdaugh.
Murdaugh says they ate dinner and had a normal conversation. After dinner, he says he laid down to take a nap.
Owen asks about the video Paul took of Murdaugh and a tree. He notes that Murdaugh is dressed differently in the video and asks Murdaugh what time he changed clothes. Murdaugh says he isn’t sure. He asks what time the video was taken and Owen says it looks like dusk. Murdaugh says he guesses he changed when he got back to the house.
Owen points out that Murdaugh said Maggie might go check on his mom with him that night. He asks why Murdaugh didn’t go check on her when he told her he was leaving and she didn’t respond. Murdaugh says he isn’t sure if Maggie planned on going, she didn’t normally go, and he doesn’t think they had set plans for her to go.
Owen shows Murdaugh a Google Map and asks him to route his path to his mom’s house. Murdaugh does.
Murdaugh explains that he had been checking on his mom more often because she was particularly agitated since Murdaugh’s father was in the hospital. He says he went straight there and straight back.
Owen asks about Rogan Gibson’s dog’s tail. Murdaugh says that Gibson told him about the tail. He doesn’t indicate he talked with Paul about it.
Owen asks if Maggie and Paul’s vehicles were at the house when he returned. Murdaugh says yes. Owen asks how they got to the kennels that night. Murdaugh says he was hoping Owen could tell him that. Owen says the only thing he can think of is walking or taking Buster’s old black truck. Murdaugh says that Maggie walked down there a lot, but it would be “highly unusual” for Paul to walk.
Owen asks Murdaugh if he is sure he didn’t go back to the kennels again after dinner before he went to his mom’s. Murdaugh says he did not go. Owen brings up a phone call Paul had with Rogan Gibson around 8:40 p.m. during which Gibson said he thought he heard Murdaugh in the background. Murdaugh says he was not down there at 9:00 p.m. if his times were right. Owen says Rogan Gibson identified Murdaugh’s voice and points out he’s been around the family his whole life. Murdaugh agrees. He says he doesn’t know who it could’ve been.
Owen says at one point in the 911 call, Murdaugh says “here” like he was talking to someone or something else. Owen asks if all the dogs were in their kennels. Murdaugh says they were. He says he doesn’t recall saying that, but he is certain a dog wasn’t out. He says he doesn’t remember a lot about the 911 call. He says obviously there was nobody else out there.
Owen asks if Murdaugh has learned anything new about threats to Paul or the family. Murdaugh says nothing really new other than what they already know.
Owen asks what door Murdaugh went in to get a shotgun that night after he found Maggie and Paul. Murdaugh says to the best of his recollection, he went in the side door and just grabbed a gun.
Owen asks how Murdaugh usually loads his shotgun. Murdaugh says he normally puts a bullet in the chamber and pushes the button. Owen asks what type of ammunition. Murdaugh says he has loaded all kinds. Owen asks if he would load a bird shot and buck shot in the same load. Murdaugh says not normally. Owen says he is asking because they found bird shots and buck shots at the scene. Several firearms taken from the home were also loaded with bird shots and buck shots. Murdaugh says that night, he grabbed whatever he could get his hands on.
Owen asks if Murdaugh knows what guns are missing. Murdaugh says he thinks three are missing: a black Benelli shotgun, a camo Browning shotgun, and a camo pump shotgun. He says he thinks he has the serial numbers for the Benelli and the Browning, but he is not sure about the pump shotgun. Owen says he wants to get them entered into NCIC.
Murdaugh says he understands a 300-blackout was used that night. Owen says that the serial numbers for Murdaugh’s 300-blackouts have been entered into NCIC.
Owen tells Murdaugh that 300-blackout shells were found near Maggie’s body and around his house as well as on the shooting range. Owen says some of the shells found around the house and the shooting range were confirmed matches to the ones found near Maggie’s body.
Murdaugh clarifies and asks if Owen believes Paul’s guns were used to kill Maggie. Owen says yes. Murdaugh says he thought the gun had been missing for a while but acknowledges someone said they had seen it recently.
Owen asks again about the 911 call. He says Murdaugh said “I should have known.” Murdaugh says he doesn’t remember saying that, but he probably was referring to all the threats the family was receiving from the boat wreck.
Owen asks if Paul ever got physical with him. Murdaugh says one time Paul was drunk, wouldn’t listen, and got a little bit physical. He says it was an isolated incident that happened a while back.
Owen asks what Murdaugh meant when he said he “thought about doing something” with Paul’s cell phone after he turned him over. Murdaugh says he doesn’t know. He says he doesn’t remember having intentions of doing anything.
Croft asks Murdaugh to estimate how long the family was together while eating dinner. Murdaugh says he really doesn’t know, maybe 20 minutes.
Croft asks about guns in Paul’s car. Murdaugh says it was very unusual for Paul to not have guns with him. They say Paul dropped the car off that weekend and didn’t take anything out of it, so he had to have removed the guns from it earlier. They ask if Murdaugh knows where those are.
They ask why Paul didn’t go to Columbia with the family that weekend. Murdaugh says it wasn’t really Paul’s thing.
Owen says he is trying to understand Murdaugh’s timeline. He says Murdaugh told the 911 dispatcher at 10:06 p.m. he had last talked to Maggie an hour and a half to two hours ago, which would’ve been around 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Owen says it seems like Murdaugh had just rattled that answer off. Murdaugh says he thinks that time is right and asks if Owen thinks he is giving inconsistent answers.
Owen says that Murdaugh said he left the law firm around 5:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., but his card scanned in at 5:30 p.m. and Randy said he was still there at 6:00 p.m. Murdaugh says he left the office earlier than he normally does. It’s not unusual for him to stay there until after dark, but he tries to get home before dark when Maggie is at Moselle. Murdaugh asks if they have been able to get any information from his car. Owen says they’re working on it.
Owen asks what other questions Murdaugh has for him. Murdaugh says he would like to know exactly what happened. Owen says he does too. Owen says from what he can tell, Paul was shot first. Murdaugh says he thought they shot Maggie first because they shot her in the back of the head.
Owen says they’ve established family guns were used. Murdaugh does not appear to respond. Owen asks if the guns were in Paul’s truck, how did they get down to the kennels? He says if someone showed up and did this, they wouldn’t have taken Paul’s truck back down to the house and left it with the keys. Murdaugh asks if they know the guns were in the truck and whether they could’ve been taken from somewhere else. Owen says it’s possible.
Murdaugh asks if they got any forensic evidence from the scene. Owen says yes, but it belongs to known people.
Murdaugh asks if they suffered. Owen says not for long. Murdaugh asks how many shooters. Owen says it is hard to say.
Fleming says that the family has a lot of friends in the community and they want to ask for tips. SLED says he is not going to ask anyone to do that, but he can’t stop the family from encouraging people in the community to call in tips to SLED.
They discuss the search warrant on the car. Murdaugh says he doesn’t own the car (it’s a company car), but whoever does will sign whatever search warrant they need.
Fleming brings up Paul’s phone and suggests asking Apple to unlock it.
While Fleming and Owen are discussing the media surrounding the case, Murdaugh becomes emotional again and asks how far apart the shootings happened. He asks if one of them knew the other was shot. Owen says it’s impossible to know and it all depends on how many shooters were there.
Murdaugh asks if Owen will update Maggie’s family on the case. He says he will.
Murdaugh thanks Owen and says that he doesn’t take any personal offense to Owen asking him the questions. He says once they get his car information, it’ll help.
Murdaugh introduces some other names of people who have worked on the property in the past or who live in the area.
11:18 a.m. – The jury is sent to the jury room as prosecution prepares to play video of Murdaugh’s third interview with SLED on August 11, 2021.
10:25 a.m. – The jury is brought in. The state calls SLED agent David Owen to the stand. He was the lead agent on the murder investigation.
Owen says when he arrived at Moselle on June 7, 2021, he immediately asked Colleton County deputies for a briefing on the situation. He then immediately looked for Murdaugh so he could get his statement.
Owen says the weather was variable that night. It was raining off and on, so they conducted Murduagh’s interview in Owen’s car just before 1:00 a.m.
The interview was played for the jury in previous testimony.
CCSO deputy Laura Rutland (who previously testified) and Murdaugh’s attorney Danny Henderson were also in the car at the time.
Owen says that Murdaugh appeared to be of sound body and mind, other than being distraught over the murders.
Owen describes Murdaugh’s clothes. He says he didn’t notice anything strange about his appearance.
After the interview, Owen says Murdaugh went to meet Buster, who had just arrived. About 10-15 minutes later, Owen went to the house to collect Murdaugh’s clothes. Owen said Murdaugh was compliant. Owen says he could see Murdaugh is sure that Murdaugh gave him the clothes and shoes he had on when they conducted the interview.
The clothes and shoes Murdaugh was wearing are presented in court. According to the notes on the bags Owen put them in, the items were collected on June 8, 2021, between 1:40 a.m. and 1:41 a.m.
Owen said that he didn’t do anything to secure the scene of the house after collecting the clothes. He says there were a lot of people there. Owen said that nothing looked out of place; it didn’t look like a scuffle had occurred or like there was any forced entry.
Owen then interviewed Nolan Tuten in his car.
He says SLED was processing the crime scene and that CCSO and SLED had it secured. Prosecution asks if the scene was secured and guarded until all potential evidence was collected. Owen says yes, as far as he knows.
After the scene around the kennels and sheds was secured, Murdaugh’s vehicle was taken to CCSO for processing.
Prosecution asks about Paul’s phone, which was found on top of his back pocket. Owen says that in the interview, Murdaugh recalled trying to turn Paul over but then deciding not to. When he did that, the phone popped out. Murdaugh told Owen he considered trying to do something with Paul’s phone, but “thought better of it” and put it down on top of his pocket.
Owen says he stayed all night, as did the crime scene unit.
Owen conducted an interview with CB Rowe the next morning.
Owen describes the scenes around Paul and Maggie as gruesome and bloody, especially around Paul since he was on concrete.
The next day, SLED tasked some CCSO deputies with canvassing the area. They went down Moselle road talking to neighbors, asking whether they heard anything that night and about crime in the area, as well as seeking video surveillance evidence. Most of the houses did not have surveillance systems. The videos they did receive were not useful.
Owen says an additional interview was scheduled with Mrudaugh for June 10, 2021. He says that often when people have experienced tragic events, they don’t remember everything in the first interview. Owen said that typically after a few days, they start recalling more details and can think more clearly.
Prosecution asks if Murdaugh was clear on the fact that he hadn’t been down at the kennels the night of the murders. Owen says he was.
Later in the investigation, SLED obtained warrants to search the properties. They searched around Moselle, including around the shooting range and ponds on the property. They collected several shot shells that day.
In late July, Owen met Murdaugh at the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. Murdaugh said that he wanted to get his suburban back. Owen said that he couldn’t get the car back, but that Murdaugh could get some of his belongings out. They met July 28 at the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and Murdaugh got the belongings. Murdaugh asked him about the investigation that day and Owen said he had more questions as well, so they decided to meet for another interview after Murdaugh got back from vacation with Maggie’s family.
Owen says that at the time of the murders, he didn’t know the Murdaugh family but he knew that Paul had been involved in the boat case and that it had been a catastrophic event. He collected DNA from people connected to that case, as well as friends and family of the Murdaughs that were likely to have been at Moselle, to compare to swabs taken around the property. He said that helps investigators eliminate people as suspects.
On August 11, 2021, Owen conducted another interview with Murdaugh.
9:52 a.m. – State prosecutors say they plan to rest their case Thursday. Defense is flying in a footwear expert and hopes to begin calling their witnesses to the stand Friday.
9:37 a.m. – Court is in session.
Prosecution and defense are arguing before Judge Clifton Newman whether information about Murdaugh’s September 4, 2021, botched suicide-for-hire attempt should be allowed in the murder trial.
State prosecutor Creighton Waters argues that it proves consciousness of guilt.
Waters also argues that Murdaugh’s shooting was a ploy by him to distract from his financial crimes and the firing from his law firm, which took place that weekend.
Defense attorney Dick Harpootliain contends that the shooting may indicate a guilty conscience, but not about the murders. He says Murdaugh orchestrated the scheme because his financial crimes had been found out and he wanted to get money for Buster.
Harpootlian also says that if the state’s theory were true and Murdaugh kills people when he’s about to be found out, he would’ve killed Buster, not attempted to kill himself to get money for Buster.
Waters says that what happened at the side of the road isn’t that important, but Murdaugh claiming an “unknown assailant” shot him connects the situation back to Moselle.
Harpootlian says that Murdaugh couldn’t have concocted the scheme before the shooting because he never expected to wake up from the shooting. He says if a scheme was concocted, it was concocted after Murdaugh realized he wasn’t dead.
Judge Newman says that the financial crimes evidence was admitted for motive. This evidence is not so much motive, but more towards scheme and propensity to commit violent acts. Therefore, he says allowing this evidence is “a bridge too far.” He says it might be admissible in the financial crimes trial, but not in this trial at this time. Judge Newman notes that is subject to change.
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