Alex Murdaugh’s defense set to deliver closing arguments in his murder trial


Alex Murdoch’s defense lawyers will deliver their closing arguments at his murder trial on Thursday as they try to raise reasonable doubt that he killed his wife and son in 2021.

The prosecution presented its closing arguments Wednesday, saying Murdaugh was the only person who had the motive, means and opportunity to kill them — and that his lies afterward betrayed him.

The motive, they said, was Murdaugh’s attempt to distract and delay investigations into his growing financial problems. The tools were two family guns, prosecutors argued. And the opportunity was Murdaugh’s presence at the crime scene, as revealed in a pivotal video and confirmed by his own testimony, minutes before the murders.

“This defendant … deceived everybody, everybody, everybody who thought they were close to him,” prosecutor Creighton Waters told jurors. “Everybody who thought they knew who he was, he fooled them all. He tricked both Maggie and Paul, and they paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him fool you either.”

Murdaugh, 54, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh from the family’s dog kennels on their sprawling property known as Moselle in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of June 7, 2021. pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of weapons charges.

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

The prosecution’s focus on Murdo’s financial motive and lies underscores the lack of direct evidence, such as a murder weapon, bloody clothing or eyewitnesses, linking Murdo to the murders. Instead, they based their case on circumstantial evidence, including the subsequent video that places Murdaugh at the crime scene that night.

The defense case was highlighted by Murdaugh himself, who offered dramatic testimony over two days last week in which he vehemently denied killing his wife and son. At the same time, he admitted that he had lied to investigators about his whereabouts shortly before the murders. He also admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his former clients and law firm and lying to cover his tracks.

The “weirder-than-imaginary” case has drawn national attention — including Netflix and HBO Max documentaries — to Alex Murdaugh, the former personal injury attorney and member of a royal family in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, where the father, his grandfather and great-grandfather served as the local district attorney consecutively from 1920 to 2006.

In recent years the family has followed a series of deaths, including those of Murdaugh’s wife and son. the 2018 death of their housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield; the 2019 death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach after a boat crash, allegedly driven by Paul Murdaugh; and the unsolved death of 19-year-old Steven Smith in 2015, whose case was reopened based on information gathered during the investigation into the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdo.

Alex Murdaugh was a personal injury attorney at a law firm under his own name. But this prominence belied the underlying issues, and the murders of his wife and son were followed by charges of misappropriation of funds, his resignation, a bizarre alleged suicide for rent and insurance fraud, a stint in rehab for drug addiction, dozens financial crimes, his farewell and finally the charges of murder.

He faces 99 separate charges relating to alleged financial crimes to be heard at a later trial.

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See what happened when Alex Murdaugh took a stand

In closing arguments, Waters first presented a decades-long timeline of Murdo’s financial misdeeds to show his motivations for the killings.

First, his law firm’s finance director testified that she had confronted Murdaugh about the lack of funds on the morning of June 7, 2021.

Second, Murdaugh was facing a lawsuit from the family of Beach, the young woman who was killed in February 2019 when the boat Paul was allegedly driving, and owned by Murdaugh, crashed. A hearing in that civil case was scheduled for June 10, 2021, and had the potential to reveal his financial problems, prosecutors argued.

“The pressures on this man were unbearable and reached a crescendo the day his wife and son were murdered by him,” Waters said.

Waters then tried to show that Murdo had been in the kennels that night and had lied about it.

Murdaugh has long denied going to the kennels that night, but a video taken on Paul’s phone at 8:44 p.m. includes background audio of Murdaugh’s voice. After about a dozen friends and family members recognized his voice in the video, Murdaugh took the stand and admitted he was there and that he had lied to police.

“This (video) changed everything. Why did he change everything? Opportunity. Being at the crime scene when the murders happened,” Waters said. “Most importantly, exposing the defendant’s lies about the most important thing he could have told law enforcement. “When was the last time I saw my wife and child alive?” Why would an innocent, sane father and husband actually lie about this so early on? He didn’t know (video) was there.”

Further, Waters said Murdoch had “the means” to commit the murders, particularly the weapons of the crime. Maggie was killed by a Blackout rifle and Paul was killed by a shotgun, and Waters said both were family guns.

Finally, the prosecution investigated Murdaugh’s series of lies about the case, particularly about his presence at the kennels. Murdaugh, he said, “lies convincingly and easily and can do it at first glance.”

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