Alex Murdaugh’s Murder Trial Begins in Colleton County Courthouse

On Friday, Jan. 27, 2023, Alex Murdaugh sat at the defense table during testimony in his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro.[0] Murdaugh, 54, is accused of fatally shooting his son, Paul, and his wife, Maggie, on June 7, 2021 at the family's hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina.[1] He faces two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.[2]

The trial began Jan. 23 with the selection of the jury that will decide his fate.[3] The prosecution has told jurors repeatedly that Maggie Murdaugh was killed with an AR-style .300 Blackout rifle and Paul Murdaugh was slain by a 12-gauge shotgun.[4]

At 9:58 p.m., Paul's friend, Rogan Gibson, texted him, “Yo.”[5] After receiving no response, Gibson texted Maggie at 9:34, asking Paul to call him.[6] She did not respond.[7] Gibson then missed several calls from Murdaugh at 10:21, 10:24, 10:25 and 10:30 p.m.[5]

The jury sent Judge Clifton Newman a note and court resumed after a 10-minute break.[1] The prosecution then called Senior Special Agent Jeff Croft, the 10th witness to take the stand.[1] Croft testified to interviewing Gibson the morning after the murders and recording phone data from him.[2] Gibson had communicated with Paul, Maggie, and Murdaugh the night of the killings.

When asked who he thought may have killed his family, Murdaugh once again brings up his theory the murders were related to threats Paul had been getting in connection with charges he faced after drunkenly crashing a boat and killing his 19-year-old friend Mallory Beach in 2019.

Murdaugh asserted that his son Paul had been subjected to threats because of a boat accident he had been involved in two years prior to the 2021 murders. Investigators asked about the traumatic scene and Murdaugh apparently responded “it was just so bad, [I] did him so bad. He was such a good boy too.”[1]

In addition to the murder charges, Murdaugh is also the subject of other state investigations and has been indicted on roughly 100 additional charges.[8] The charges encompass tax avoidance, drug dealing and deception.[8]

0. “Watch the initial interview Alex Murdaugh gave investigators after his wife and son were killed” WJCL News Savannah, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.wjcl.com/article/alex-murdaugh-crime-scene-interview/42690707

1. “South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial wrapped up Day 4” Fox News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.foxnews.com/live-news/alex-murdaugh-murder-trial-january-30-2023

2. “Paul Murdaught's Final Tragic Texts, Sent Minutes Before His Murder, Revealed in Court” The Daily Beast, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.thedailybeast.com/paul-murdaughts-final-tragic-texts-sent-minutes-before-his-murder-revealed-in-court

3. “Watch the Alex Murdaugh trial live: Inside the Colleton County courtroom, updates” Yahoo! Voices, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/news/alex-murdaugh-trial-live-inside-190011892.html

4. “Court Releases Bodycam Footage from Police Search of Alex Murdaugh’s Family Hunting Lodge Day After Murders of His Wife and Son” Law & Crime, 30 Jan. 2023, https://lawandcrime.com/live-trials/live-trials-current/alex-murdaugh/court-releases-bodycam-footage-from-police-search-of-alex-murdaughs-family-hunting-lodge-day-after-murders-of-his-wife-and-son/

5. “Paul and Maggie Murdaugh’s last texts and calls revealed as new bloody crime scene photos shown at trial” The Independent, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/alex-murdaugh-murder-trial-final-texts-calls-b2272139.html

6. “Day 6: Prosecution shares key interviews with Alex Murdaugh conducted days after the murders” The State, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.thestate.com/news/local/crime/article271809987.html

7. “Week two of Alex Murdaugh murder trial begins” WCBD News 2, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.counton2.com/the-murdaugh-investigation/week-two-of-alex-murdaugh-murder-trial-begins/

8. “Alex Murdaugh trial livestream: How to watch the trial Monday and read the latest trial updates” USA TODAY, 27 Jan. 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2023/01/27/alex-murdaugh-trial-livestream/11126271002/