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State of South Carolina v. Richard Alexander Murdaugh became an American criminal case within the fourteenth circuit of the South Carolina Circuit Court regarding the murders of Murdaugh’s wife and their 22-yr-vintage son in June 2021. The trial began on January 25, 2023, with commands from the decide and opening statements from the prosecution and protection. Closing arguments started out on March 1 and ended on March 2. The jury reached a guilty verdict on all four counts after approximately 3 hours of deliberation. He faces as much as life in jail without the possibility of parole.
Local media have referred to as the trial South Carolina’s “trial of the century” and “arguably one of the maximum excessive-profile and sensational cases in South Carolina legal history”.[five]Background
On June 7, 2021, Alex Murdaugh—a member of the locally distinguished Murdaugh family—referred to as police from his mobile phone at 10:06 pm, pronouncing he had located the bodies of his fifty two-year-old spouse Maggie and their 22-year-antique son Paul close to the dog kennels on the family’s looking hotel in Islandton, South Carolina. Both were shot multiple times and with exclusive weapons.[eight] Murdaugh stated that at the time of the killings (around nine pm it become later decided), he have been along with his terminally sick father, Randolph III, and mother, who has dementia.[nine]
In October 2021, it became revealed that South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) had regarded Alex as someone of interest in the homicides since the begin of the research. The investigation has been closely criticized. Police reportedly failed to accumulate DNA proof and the scene was ruined because of rainfall that passed off inside the place after the murders. Police additionally allowed own family individuals and friends to walk thru the scene.Indictment and arrest
Alex Murdaugh became arrested in July 2022 after the Colleton County Grand Jury issued an indictment charging him with counts of murder and counts of ownership of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the deaths of his wife Maggie and of his son Paul. The indictment stated that Alex shot his spouse with a rifle and his son with a shotgun.[thirteen] Sources close to the research said that excessive-speed blood spatter on Alex’s apparel, in addition to cellular phone footage, placed Murdaugh at the scene whilst his spouse and son were shot. Prosecutors suggested Murdaugh changed into influenced by a choice to garner sympathy in the wake of monetary problems that were beginning to head public.[sixteen] Murdaugh pleaded not guilty, while kingdom prosecutors stated they might are seeking existence imprisonment without the opportunity of parole instead of the loss of life penalty.
On October 19, 2021, Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman denied bail.Trial
The trial started January 25, 2023, at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, with instructions from the choose and opening statements from the prosecution and protection.
Alex Murdaugh is represented by using Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. The instances are being overseen through Newman, who is the nephew of the overdue civil rights chief I. DeQuincey Newman. Creighton Waters, leader prosecutor for the kingdom grand jury, leads the prosecuting team towards Murdaugh. John Meadors, a Columbia lawyer with great experience in murder trials, was hired by the Attorney General of South Carolina as a part of the prosecuting group. Witnesses for the defense and prosecution have been predicted to number within the masses.
Defense suggest argued that the prosecution need to be prohibited from asking questions associated with Murdaugh’s monetary crimes but the judge overruled their objections and introduced he could make a formal ruling on the problem on Thursday, February 2, 2023. The choose brushed off the jury early on Thursday, February 2, so as for the prosecution to present two witnesses that testified about Murdaugh’s financial crimes in an in digital camera hearing. The judge said that he had to listen greater testimony before making a ruling on whether these witnesses could be allowed to testify to the jury.
On February 7,after several days of listening to arguments with out the jury gift, Judge Newman dominated the testimony related to Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes changed into admissible, he stated that jurors had been entitled to keep in mind whether Murdaugh’s economic situation became a motive for the killings. Newman additionally stated that protection counsel opened the door to testimony about the alleged monetary crimes after they requested a witness to speculate approximately a probable cause for Murdaugh committing the killings. A bomb danger on February eight pressured the court to right now evacuate and reconvene numerous hours later to resume the trial.
On February 13, Judge Newman announced that two jurors had been disregarded and changed with exchange jurors due to the fact they’d examined high quality for COVID-19. On February 24, a new price changed into filed against Murdaugh for passing contraband in the court docket.At the protection’s request, the jury visited the property where the murders occured. Closing arguments began on March 1. On March 2, Judge Newman announced he had been notified a juror had mentioned the proof provided. The juror was brushed off for improper conduct and an alternate changed them.[forty three] Attorney Creighton Waters introduced the kingdom’s final assertion and lawyer Jim Griffin introduced the protection’s last assertion. Attorney John Meadors added the nation’s reply and final argument. The jury changed into charged and began jury deliberation on March 2.[forty three][forty five]Testimony
The first prosecution witnesses protected first responders at the scene after Murdaugh’s 911 call. The prosecution asked the choose to compel a representative of Snapchat to testify approximately a video published by Paul Murdaugh minutes earlier than his loss of life. The prosecution delivered SLED witnesses to testify approximately firearms and ballistics and an interview performed with Alex Murdaugh in a vehicle on June 21, 2021, at some point of which Murdaugh said of his son, “It’s simply so horrific. I did him so awful,” which Waters emphasized for the jury. The protection group disputed whether or not the recording stated “I” or “they”.[forty eight] A credit score card receipt with a $a thousand Gucci purchase rotated became entered into evidence. The prosecution delivered an professional witness to testify about facts collected by means of Maggie’s phone.[forty eight] The prosecution brought near friends of Paul Murdaugh to testify about their interactions with the Murdaugh circle of relatives and their communications with Paul moments earlier than his dying.A witness stated he heard Alex’s voice in a video taken by Paul mins earlier than the time the prosecution believes the murders happened.
Prosecutors referred to as a couple of former colleagues and clients of Murdaugh’s to testify about the defendant’s monetary scenario just before the murders befell and argued the reason turned into strain resulting from the approaching discovery of monetary crimes. They additionally referred to as a first-rate executive officer of a local bank to testify approximately the financial institution’s discovery of robbery through Murdaugh.
Prosecution referred to as professional witnesses inclusive of a criminologist and pathologist. Prosecution called a SLED agent to testify approximately a timeline of the events of June 7 aggregating all of the facts accumulated from various resources, such as the telephones of the sufferers and the defendant, car telemetry facts, and mobile cellphone tower pings.[fifty one] Prosecution rested their case on February 17.[fifty one]
Defense counsel known as their first witness right now after the prosecution rested their case. They known as the Colleton county coroner who testified that he had handiest expected the victim’s frame temperatures and that the said time of death became an estimate.[fifty two]
On February 21, the protection called the defendant’s son, Buster, to the stand.The defense known as several professional witnesses, such as a crime scene engineer who recreated the crime scene and argued that the height of the shooter become now not steady with the defendant’s height. Another expert witness testified that he believed the crime scene was not dealt with well through first responders.