Alex Murdaugh Coverage
The Murdaugh family saga has dominated the news after another shooting, a resignation and criminal accusations — with Alex Murdaugh at the center of it all. Here are the latest updates on Alex Murdaugh.
Alex Murdaugh, a once prominent Hampton-based attorney from a well-known politically connected family, is on trial in the deaths of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison without parole if found guilty. The trial started Jan. 23 with jury selection, opening arguments and the initial round of witness testimony. For now, the trial is expected to stretch at least through Friday, Feb. 17.
9:30 a.m. — Court resumes as state nears end of case
Court is back in session Thursday after another eyebrow-raising trial day 24 hours before.
Meanwhile, the state’s case, initially expected to wrap up Wednesday, is now expected to be finished by Friday.
Judge Clifton Newman on Wednesday reversed his previous decision to disallow the Labor Day weekend 2021 shooting incident to be introduced to the jury after he said defense attorneys opened the door when attorney Jim Griffin asked a witness about Curtis “Eddie” Smith, a distant cousin of Murdaugh’s and alleged accomplice in drug crimes and the shooting of Murdaugh.
Will Smith take the stand? That’s the question reporters and the public asked Wednesday, or will prosecutors only use testimony from the law enforcement officers who responded to the Labor Day weekend shooting?
Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud in the shooting, after charges say he intended to leave his surviving son, Buster, a hefty life insurance policy. Smith was used in order to elude the insurance’s suicide exemption, authorities have said.
For most of Wednesday, the jury heard from David Owen, a senior special agent with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division.
Owen, the lead case agent on the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, explained the third and final interview they gave to Murdaugh, asking him whether he killed his wife and son.
“Did you kill Maggie?” Owen asked Murdaugh directly in a recording played for the jury. “Did you kill Paul, do you know who did?”
At that time, Owen testified, Murdaugh was the “only known suspect” in the murders.
Murdaugh denied both the killings, and asked whether the questions meant he was still considered a suspect.
“I have to look at all of the evidence and the facts presented,” Owen responded in the interview.
In cross-examination, Owen acknowledged it was an opportunity missed to search Murdaugh’s mother’s home. Murdaugh has contended he visited his mother, Libby, the night of the murders before coming back to his home and discovering his wife and son’s bodies.
Even more interesting, Owen, being pushed on the stand by Griffin about testimony he gave to the Colleton County Grand Jury, acknowledged part of his 2021 testimony that led to Murdaugh’s indictment was incorrect.
Days earlier, another SLED agent testified that the white T-shirt agents seized from Murdaugh on June 7, 2021, had no blood on it, though it did have DNA consistent with Maggie and Paul. The shirt had a positive preliminary test result for blood, the agent said, but returned a negative result when SLED used a “confirmatory” test.
Owen said he presented evidence to the grand jury stating an out-of-state expert identified several areas of blood spatter on the white T-shirt. He said he’d never seen SLED’s test results showing no blood until November 2022.
“You didn’t know then, but you know now that what you told the Colleton County Grand Jury was not correct?” Griffin asked.
“In reference to the shirt, yes,” Owen testified.