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Alex Murdaugh trial: Prosecutors say he was the one one with motive, means and alternative to kill his spouse and son

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State prosecutors mentioned in closing arguments of Alex Murdaugh’s homicide trial Wednesday that he was the one one who had the motive, means and alternative to kill his spouse and son in June 2021 – and that his lies afterward betrayed him.

“Individuals lie as a result of they know they did one thing flawed. That’s why he lied, girls and gents,” prosecutor Creighton Waters mentioned.

Within the prosecution’s telling, the motive was Murdaugh’s try to distract and delay investigations into his rising monetary issues. The means have been two family-owned weapons, Waters argued. And the chance was Murdaugh’s presence on the crime scene, as revealed in a pivotal video, minutes earlier than the murders.

“This defendant … has fooled everybody, everybody, everybody who thought they have been near him,” Waters advised the jury. “Everybody who thought they knew who he was, he’s fooled all of them. He fooled Maggie and Paul too, they usually paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him idiot you, too.”

The protection’s closing arguments will comply with on Thursday.

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Murdaugh, 54, is accused of fatally taking pictures his spouse, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh by the household’s canine kennels at their sprawling property generally known as Moselle in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night time of June 7, 2021. He has pleaded not responsible to 2 counts of homicide and two weapons expenses.

Jurors heard from greater than 70 witnesses over six weeks of testimony earlier than visiting Moselle on Wednesday morning.

The prosecution’s give attention to Murdaugh’s monetary motive and lies underscores the dearth of any direct proof, similar to a homicide weapon, bloody clothes or eyewitnesses, that connects Murdaugh to the killings. As an alternative, they’ve hinged their case on circumstantial proof, together with the consequential video putting Murdaugh on the crime scene that night time.

The protection case was highlighted by Murdaugh himself, who supplied dramatic testimony over two days final week through which he flatly denied killing his spouse and son. On the similar time, he admitted that he had lied to investigators about his whereabouts the night time of the killings. He additional admitted to stealing thousands and thousands of {dollars} from his former purchasers and regulation agency and mendacity to cowl his tracks.

The stranger-than-fiction case has introduced nationwide consideration – together with Netflix and HBO Max documentaries – on Alex Murdaugh, the previous private damage legal professional and member of a dynastic household in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, the place his father, grandfather and great-grandfather served because the native prosecutor consecutively from 1920 to 2006.

Murdaugh was a private damage legal professional for a regulation agency along with his title on it. However that prominence belied underlying points, and the killings of his spouse and son have been adopted by accusations of misappropriated funds, his resignation, a weird murder-for-hire and insurance coverage rip-off plot, a stint in rehab for drug habit, dozens of economic crimes, his disbarment and, in the end, the homicide expenses.

He individually faces 99 expenses associated to alleged monetary crimes that might be adjudicated at a later trial.

The household has in recent times been trailed by a collection of deaths, together with these of Murdaugh’s spouse and son; the 2018 loss of life of their housekeeper Gloria Satterfield; the 2019 loss of life of 19-year-old Mallory Seashore after a ship allegedly pushed by Paul Murdaugh crashed; and the unsolved 2015 loss of life of 19-year-old Stephen Smith, whose case was reopened primarily based on info gathered whereas investigating the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh.

In closing arguments, Waters laid out a decade-long timeline of Murdaugh’s monetary wrongdoing that got here to a head on June 7, 2021, the night time of the killings.

He argued Murdaugh had been stealing from purchasers and his regulation agency for years and was desperately attempting to remain a step forward.

“The proof that you simply’ve heard reveals that the defendant turned so addicted and so depending on the speed of cash that the thousands and thousands of {dollars} in authorized charges that he was receiving was not sufficient and so he began to steal,” Waters mentioned.

The stress on him turned bigger in spring 2021. For one, the chief monetary officer of his regulation agency testified she had confronted Murdaugh about lacking funds on the morning of June 7, 2021.

Second, Murdaugh was dealing with a lawsuit from the household of Seashore, the younger lady who was killed in February 2019 when a ship, owned by Murdaugh and allegedly pushed by Paul, crashed. A listening to in that civil case was scheduled for June 10, 2021, and had the potential to disclose his monetary issues, prosecutors argued.

“The pressures on this man have been insufferable they usually have been reaching a crescendo the day his spouse and son have been murdered by him,” Waters mentioned.

The killings made Murdaugh right into a sympathetic determine and took all of the stress off, a minimum of for an additional few months, Waters argued.

However on September 3, 2021, his regulation agency discovered additional proof of wrongdoing and compelled him to resign. A day later, Murdaugh was shot within the head on the aspect of a highway in Hampton County, and he advised police that an unknown stranger was accountable. He later admitted that he had conspired with one other man to kill him in order that his surviving son Buster might accumulate a life insurance coverage payout.

“When accountability was at his door, he was a sufferer once more,” Waters mentioned.

Alex Murdaugh listens to his cousin John Bedingham, a gun builder and DNR agent, testify about building three AR-15 style rifles for him during Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.  The 54-year-old attorney is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021.
(Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

Trial witness: ‘100% sure’ Murdaugh’s voice is on video made earlier than killings

Primarily utilizing cellphone forensics, Waters reconstructed a timeline of the prosecution’s model of occasions earlier than, throughout and after the murders by the kennels at Moselle.

Murdaugh had lengthy denied that he went to the kennels that night time, however a video taken by Paul’s cellphone at 8:44 p.m. consists of audio of Murdaugh’s voice within the background.

After a couple of dozen family and friends members recognized his voice on the video, Murdaugh took the stand and admitted he was there. He testified that he’d lied to police about his whereabouts due to “paranoid pondering” stemming from his habit to opiate painkillers.

However Waters mentioned Murdaugh lied for therefore lengthy as a result of he didn’t know in regards to the video’s existence.

“That modified the whole lot. Why did it change the whole lot? Alternative. Being on the scene of the crime when the murders occurred,” Waters mentioned. “Extra importantly, exposing the defendant’s lies about crucial factor he might have advised regulation enforcement. ‘When was the final time I noticed my spouse and baby alive?’ Why on the planet would an harmless, cheap father and husband lie about that, and lie about it so early? He didn’t know that (video) was there.”

Each Maggie and Paul’s telephones have been final used at 8:49 p.m., and Maggie’s cellphone forensics confirmed she took a number of steps minutes later, in response to the prosecutor. Waters argued that this confirmed Murdaugh fatally shot his son, and Maggie heard the shot, ran to the scene and was then shot lifeless by her husband.

Afterward, Murdaugh drove to his mom’s residence in Almeda and made a collection of calls and texts in what Waters mentioned was an try to manufacture an alibi. When he returned, he stumbled on the our bodies of his spouse and son and referred to as 911.

Additional, Waters mentioned Murdaugh had the “means” to commit the murders, specifically the weapons within the crime. Maggie was killed by a Blackout rifle and Paul was killed by a shotgun, and Waters mentioned each have been household weapons.

He pointed to testimony from a weapons skilled that mentioned that casings for bullets from a Blackout rifle that have been found close to Maggie’s physique matched casings discovered on different elements of the household’s property by investigators.

Waters famous that this weapon went lacking and Murdaugh can not account for it.

“A household Blackout killed Maggie. It was current only a couple months previous to the murders and it’s gone now. A household weapon the defendant can not account for killed Maggie.”

Paul Murdaugh was killed by pictures from a shotgun, one among Paul’s “favourite weapons,” Waters mentioned. The prosecutor mentioned that investigators decided that two fired shells that killed Paul had “class traits” that have been much like a 12-gauge shotgun.

He added that Alex Murdaugh had this shotgun with him on the night time of the killings and that “Maggie’s DNA and blood” have been discovered on the receiver of the gun.

Lastly, Waters walked by way of Murdaugh’s collection of lies in regards to the case, notably about his presence on the kennels the night time of the murders.

Murdaugh “lies convincingly and simply and he can do it at a drop of a hat,” he mentioned.

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