April 1, 2023

Prosecutors in a high-profile homicide trial in america have offered their closing arguments, providing an account of why they imagine Alex Murdaugha distinguished determine in his South Carolina neighborhood, killed his spouse and son.

Prosecutors described the deaths of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, because the calculated act of a determined man trying to shift consideration from his monetary crimes and opioid habit.

“As all of those pressures have been mounting, the defendant killed Maggie and Paul,” lead prosecutor Creighton Waters stated of Alex Murdaugh, 54.

Chatting with a jury on the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina on Wednesday, Waters alleged that Murdaugh — a now-disbarred lawyer from a strong authorized dynasty — drew on his data of prison instances to execute the crime.

Maggie and Paul Murdaugh have been discovered shot to dying close to the canine kennels on the household’s rural searching lodge on June 7, 2021. Alex Murdaugh has denied any involvement of their deaths.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters holds up a composite sketch.  We can't see what is on the sketch.  Waters has his head tilted slightly down with his eyes cast upward, above the rims of his glasses, and toward where the jury is likely sitting,
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters presents proof throughout closing arguments within the Alex Murdaugh homicide trial on March 1. [Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool]

Elevating a cell phone into the air throughout his closing arguments, Waters referenced a key piece of proof pulled from Paul’s iPhone to color the elder Murdaugh as a serial liar.

Federal investigators labored for greater than a yr to hack into the iPhone, finally discovering it contained a video recording that captured Murdaugh’s voice close to the canine kennels minutes earlier than the telephone grew to become inactive.

Prosecutors allege that’s when the double homicide occurred, although Murdaugh maintains he left earlier than the taking pictures occurred to go to his mom, who suffers from dementia. In early interviews, Murdaugh initially denied being close to the kennels on the evening of the assault.

“The forensic timeline places him there,” Waters advised the jury on Wednesday. “After an exhaustive investigation, there is just one one that had the motive, who had the means, who had the chance to commit these crimes, and in addition whose responsible conduct after these crimes betrays him.”

The protection will current its closing argument on Thursday. All through the trial, it has sought to spotlight what it thought of gaps within the prosecution’s arguments and flaws within the general investigation.

Alex Murdaugh sits between his defense attorneys.  He is wearing black-rimmed glasses and writing something in a notepad.  A lawyer on his right looks to be thinking while mid-way through writing something.  Another lawyer to Murdaugh's left is casually slouched in his chair, with his hands folded, looking absent-mindedly at a spot in front of him.  There are two water bottles on the bench.
Alex Murdaugh (middle) sits between his protection legal professionals as closing arguments unfold on Wednesday [Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool]

The firearms used within the shootings have by no means been recovered, and there’s no DNA linking Murdaugh to the killings, the protection staff has stated. They argued investigators jumped to conclusions about their consumer with out contemplating different suspects.

All through the trial, protection legal professionals have additionally pointed to attainable mismanagement of the crime scene, alleging a failure to correctly mud for fingerprints and insufficient pictures.

The victims’ our bodies, as an illustration, have been lined in a cloth sheet reasonably than a tarp, which might have picked up fluids or hair, the protection staff defined. That the sheet was later discarded might imply proof was misplaced with it, they stated.

Earlier than the prosecution’s closing arguments on Wednesday, the jury additionally visited the Murdaugh property to look at the crime scene, on the request of the protection.

Whereas prosecutors objected to the go to on the grounds that the crime scene had modified since 2021, Murdaugh’s legal professionals hoped the walk-through – which indicated the space between the 2 victims’ our bodies – would lead the jury to contemplate various theories about who perpetrated the shootings .

Dog kennels on the Murdaugh's Moselle property are to the right of the shot.  The door is swing open.  A forest of tall and thin trees stands behind the kennels.
On Wednesday, jurors toured the canine kennels the place the our bodies of Paul Murdaugh and his mom Maggie Murdaugh have been discovered. [Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool]

This week’s closing arguments culminate an almost six-week-long homicide trial towards Murdaugh, which included 800 proof reveals and 75 witnesses, together with the defendant himself.

If convicted, Murdaugh might face a sentence of between 30 years to life. Prosecutors usually are not in search of the dying penalty within the case.

The homicide trial is just a part of Murdaugh’s ongoing authorized woes. He has additionally been charged with greater than 100 counts of economic crimes and different misdeeds.

Prosecutors in these instances have accused Murdaugh of stealing $7m from his household’s regulation agency and $8.8m in authorized settlements from his purchasers, a lot of whom suffered accidents or had family killed in accidents.

Murdaugh was initially arrested in October 2021, on felony fees after tens of millions in settlement funds went lacking from his late housekeeper’s household.

A long line forms outside the courthouse
A line varieties exterior the Colleton County Courthouse within the US state of South Carolina as guests wait to listen to closing arguments within the Alex Murdaugh trial [Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool]

The instances towards Murdaugh have introduced nationwide scrutiny to rural South Carolina, the place Murdaugh’s household has held sway for almost a century.

Three generations of Murdaughs — the defendant’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather — have all held the elected place of solicitor for South Carolina’s 14th Circuit, which empowered them to prosecute prison instances throughout 5 counties.

Murdaugh referred to as emergency companies at about 10:07pm on June 7, 2021, to report the dying of his spouse and youthful son. He claimed to have discovered them after coming back from his mom’s house.

Investigators stated Maggie Murdaugh died from 4 to 5 rifle photographs, whereas Paul Murdaugh was killed by two shotgun blasts, every with a different-sized spherical.

Alex Murdaugh was charged with their deaths almost a yr later, on July 14, 2022.

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