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Cellphone video played in court could put Alex Murdaugh at scene of 2 murders

John Monk, Ted Clifford and Bristow Marchant, The State (Columbia, S.C.) on

Published in News & Features

WALTERBORO, S.C. — Two childhood friends of Paul Murdaugh’s each took the witness stand Wednesday to tell a jury that a third voice heard on a cellphone video, recorded minutes before Paul and his mother, Maggie, were murdered, is the voice of his father, Alex Murdaugh.

The 58-second video, played to the jury on the eighth day of Murdaugh’s double-murder trial, is vital prosecution evidence because, up to now, Murdaugh has contended that he was nowhere near the dog kennels the night his wife and youngest son were murdered.

Placing Murdaugh at the kennels could puncture Murdaugh’s major alibi — that he left the family’s rural 1,700-acre Colleton County estate before they were killed June 7, 2021, and drove to his mother’s house — although the defense has yet to offer a counter explanation.

Murdaugh, 54, is charged in Maggie and Paul’s murders. He has pleaded not guilty, and faces life in prison if convicted.

And, in a day full of dramatic testimony and revelations about Murdaugh and his family, the jury learned for the first time that Murdaugh — a supposedly well-to-do attorney who came from a well-connected family — was in danger of having his dire financial straits exposed publicly when his wife and son were killed.

Prosecutors contend that the motive for the killings is that Murdaugh, threatened with financial exposure, killed his wife and son to create a wave of sympathy and confusion so strong that it would throw people investigating his finances off the track.


Whether prosecutors can show the jury evidence of Murdaugh’s financial situation, which includes stealing from his law partners and clients, will be the subject of a Thursday morning hearing before Judge Clifton Newman.

Without the jury present, prosecutors will argue that evidence of Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes should be admitted, even though Murdaugh has only been indicted, but not convicted, of various financial frauds that total some $8 million over more than 12 years.

In November, Murdaugh’s friend and accomplice Russell Laffitte, a former bank CEO, was convicted in federal court of various financial frauds that he carried out with Murdaugh’s help.

Defense attorneys will argue that all financial fraud evidence is not relevant to the crime of murder and, in any case, Murdaugh, a loving family man, would never have murdered his wife and son for such a motive.


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