Alex Murdaugh Found Guilty of Double Murder After Jury Deliberation
After two and a half hours of jury deliberation, Alex Murdaugh, a former lawyer from South Carolina, was convicted of murdering his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, on Thursday. On the final day of trial, prosecutors argued Murdaugh killed his family to draw attention away from his emerging financial crimes. The defense argued Murdaugh lied because he was under the influence of drugs and to keep scrutiny away from his personal life.
Prior to the jury’s decision, Judge Clifton Newman removed one juror on Thursday morning for engaging in improper discussions about the case. The juror had contact with at least three people not associated with the case and offered her opinion on evidence received up to that point.
At the sensational trial, a cell phone video sent by Paul to his buddies the evening of the murders was presented to the jury. The video, filmed close to the area where the dogs were housed, featured Paul, Maggie and Murdaugh's voices. At the beginning, Murdaugh claimed he was not near the dog kennels on the night of the murders, however, when he defended himself in court, he confessed to having lied about his location that evening.
Prosecutors alleged that Murdaugh killed his wife and son as a diversion from the financial investigation he was under, according to NBC News. His defense team denied the motive, arguing Murdaugh lied to law enforcement because of his drug-induced paranoia and to keep scrutiny away from his personal life.
At the beginning of the January trial, Murdaugh's alibi was disproved when prosecutors presented a shocking piece of evidence — video from Paul's phone taken at 8:44 PM in the family's dog kennel. This was only minutes before the murders occurred.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters told jurors that Murdaugh had the motive, means and opportunity to commit the crimes and referenced lies he told to law enforcement as early as the night of the murders. He said Murdaugh fooled everyone, including his wife and son, who paid for it with their lives.
Defense attorney Jim Griffin acknowledged Murdaugh had lied about being at the dog kennels where his wife and son were killed on the night of the murders. He stated that the untruths were to conceal his addiction and money difficulties — not because he had murdered his relatives.
Murdaugh is also facing charges of tax evasion and money laundering.
0. “Murdaugh murders: Disgraced South Carolina attorney found guilty in double murder of wife, son” KTRK-TV, 1 Mar. 2023, https://abc13.com/alex-murdaugh-trial-closing-arguments-murder/12903668/
1. “Verdict reached in trial of former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh after deaths of wife, son” WYFF4 Greenville, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.wyff4.com/article/alex-murdaugh-verdict-reached-south-carolina/43144575
2. “LIVE: Day 28: Murdaugh defense to present its closing arguments Thursday” Live 5 News WCSC, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.live5news.com/2023/03/02/live-day-28-murdaugh-defense-present-its-closing-arguments-thursday/
3. “Alex Murdaugh Photographed in Handcuffs Just After Murder Conviction” PEOPLE, 3 Mar. 2023, https://people.com/crime/alex-murdaugh-photographed-in-handcuffs-moments-after-being-found-guilty/
4. “Alex Murdaugh Found Guilty In Double Murder Trial of Son Paul and Wife Maggie” TMZ, 3 Mar. 2023, https://www.tmz.com/2023/03/02/alex-murdaugh-guilty-verdict-trial-murder-wife-son
5. “Alex Murdaugh's defense argues investigators ‘failed miserably'” KOCO Oklahoma City, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.koco.com/article/alex-murdaugh-murder-trial-march-2-2023/43149171