Legal dynasty heir Alex Murdaugh is currently on trial in a South Carolina courtroom for the brutal double murder of his wife and adult son.
Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were both shot dead at the family’s sprawling 1,700-acre property in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of 7 June 2021.
Mr Murdaugh, 54, claimed that he returned home from visiting his elderly mother to find the victims’ bodies at the dog kennels on the land.
No arrests were made for more than a year, until – in July 2022 – Mr Murdaugh was charged with their murders.
Prosecutors allege that Mr Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from the growing number of scandals and crimes swirling around him.
It’s a dramatic saga that now includes murder, a botched hitman plot, multi-million-dollar fraud schemes and a series of unexplained deaths.
The now-disbarred attorney denies the allegations and has pleaded not guilty.
Mr Murdaugh’s trial got underway at Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro on 23 January.
The prosecution is expected to wrap up its case this week (week of 13 February) before the defence begins its own case, where Mr Murdaugh is expected to take the stand.
Here are the key revelations from the trial so far:
Prosecutor’s opening statement reveals video will be key to trial
Opening arguments kicked off the trial on 25 January, with the prosecution telling jurors that cellphone records and a video taken by Paul minutes before he died are “critical” in proving Mr Murdaugh’s guilt.
Attorney Creighton Waters gave a timeline for the murders, saying that Paul was shot at the dog kennels first at 8.50pm and Maggie minutes later.
Cellphone records allegedly place Mr Murdaugh at the dog kennels minutes earlier – when the suspect had “told everyone he was never there”.
Alex Murdaugh reacts as lawyer describes moment his wife was murdered
Mr Waters also described a video Paul made at the kennels minutes before his murder as he was filming a dog to send to a friend. According to the prosecution, three voices – Paul, Maggie and Mr Murdaugh – can be heard.
Other evidence the prosecution promised to show jurors included gunshot residue found in both Mr Murdaugh’s car, on him and on a raincoat that he allegedly left at his parents’ home a week after the murders.
Defence details horror injuries of victims in opening statement
In the defence’s opening statement, Mr Murdaugh was seen breaking down in tears as his attorney Dick Harpootlian described the fatal shot which killed his son Paul, saying it “exploded his brain, like a watermelon”.
Mr Murdaugh then arrived home and found his son’s brains by his feet, he said.
Mr Harpootlian insisted Mr Murdaugh is an innocent man, saying that jurors will see a Snapchat of him and Paul happily spending father-and-son time together less than two hours before the murders.
“Paul, the apple of his eye. You are going to see a video from the night of the murders of Paul and Alex riding around looking at trees they planted, a Snapchat sent to other people. They were laughing, having a good time,” he said.
He also argued that cellphone records from that night are “incomplete” and that Maggie’s phone was thrown on the side of a road halfa mile from the family estate at the same time that Mr Murdaugh was at the property.
The suspect would “have to be Houdini to be in both places”, he said.
Murdaugh ‘immediately’ told police murders were tied to 2019 boat crash
Mr Murdaugh “immediately” suggested that his wife and son had been murdered because of a 2019 fatal boat crash as soon as the first law enforcement officer arrived on the scene of the grisly slayings, bodycam footage played in court revealed.
The footage was taken from the bodyworn camera of Colleton County Sheriff’s Sgt Daniel Greene when he was the first officer to respond to the scene.
It captures the disgraced legal dynasty heir pacing around the dog kennels, sobbing and wailing, and repeatedly asking: “Are they dead?”
“Has somebody gone to check ‘em? They did check ‘em? They’re sure that they’re dead?” he says.
The first thing Mr Murdaugh tells the officer when he arrives is that he armed himself with a shotgun after finding his wife and son’s bodies.
“Sir I wanted to let you know because of the scene I did go get a gun and bring it down here,” he says.
Unprompted, Mr Murdaugh then tells the officer that the murders must be connected to the 2019 fatal boat crash involving Paul.
Bodycam shows Alex Murdaugh as first officers arrive on scene of wife and son’s murders
“This is a long story. My son was in a boat wreck months back. He’s been getting threats, most of it’s been benign stuf we didn’t take serious… he’s been getting pinched ,” Mr Murdaugh says. “I know that’s what this is.”
At the time of Paul’s death, he was awaiting trial over the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Paul was allegedly drunk driving a boat of his friends including Beach in 2019 when it crashed and they were thrown overboard. The rest of the group survived but Beach’s body washed up days later.
Paul was charged with boating under the influence and faced up to 25 years in prison.
Mr Murdaugh was also heard mentioning the boat crash in the 911 call alerting law enforcement to the scene and in his first interview with law enforcement on the night of the murders.
In the bodycam, Mr Murdaugh is also seen regaling in great detail his alleged movements that night.
“I came to the house first,” he says. “My mom has late stage Alzheimer’s, my dad is in the hospital. I left, I don’t know what time. I can go on my phone and tell you the exact times,” he says, before suddenly saying: “Did you check?”
Suspect shed ‘no tears’ after finding wife and son’s bodies
Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Sgt Daniel Greene testified that Mr Murdaugh appeared to shed “no tears” after he claimed to have found his wife and son’s bodies.
Sgt Greene told the court that Mr Murdaugh seemed “upset” and repeatedly asked if his wife and son were dead but did not appear to have any physical tears in his eyes.
“Did you ever see any physical tears?” the prosecutor asked.
“I did not,” the officer said.
As bodycam footage from the night of the murders was played in court, Mr Murdaugh was seen breaking down in tears.
Bodycam shows Murdaugh’s ‘clean’ shirt after claiming to touch bloody bodies
Bodycam footage from the night of the murders revealed Mr Murdaugh wearing a “clean” white shirt after he claimed he touched his wife and son’s bloodied bodies on finding them shot dead.
In the footage, Mr Murdaugh is dressed in a white T-shirt and dark shorts with no obvious signs of blood.
During courtroom testimony, multiple law enforcement officials described how Mr Murdaugh was “clean” and did not appear to have any blood on him when they arrived on the scene of the murders.
Yet, according to the 911 call made by Mr Murdaugh and bodycam footage from his first police interview on the night of the murders, Mr Murdaugh claims he touched his wife and son’s bodies when he found them by the kennels.
In the interview footage, he is heard telling law enforcement twice that he “tried to turn over” his son’s bloodied body and that he had checked him and his wife for pulses.
“I could see his brain … I ran over to Maggie, actually I think I tried to turn Paul over first… um… you know, I tried to turn him over, I dunno, I figured it out,” he is heard saying.
Mr Murdaugh said that his son’s cellphone fell from his pocket when he tried to move him and that he handled it briefly.
“His cell phone popped out of his pocket, I started trying to do something with it but I put it back down really quickly, and then I went to my wife,” he says.
Detective Laura Rutland of Colleton County Sheriff’s Office contradicted his version of events as she said that Mr Murdaugh was “clean from head to toe” with no signs of blood on his body, shirt, shorts or shoes.
She said she didn’t say where he checked for a pulse but, in a gripping reenactment, agreed that if Mr Murdaugh had touched pulse points on Paul’s neck or wrists he would have been covered in blood.
As jurors have previously heard, the crime scene was especially violent and bloody, with Paul’s brain shot out of his skull and both he and Maggie lying in pools of their own blood.
911 call played at trial
The unredacted 911 call placed by Mr Murdaugh on the night of the murders.
In the dramatic audio, Mr Murdaugh cries and and sobs down the phone as he tells the dispatcher “it’s bad” and “my wife and child have been shot badly”.
He also the dispatcher about the 2019 boat crash involving Paul, saying that the 22-year-old had been getting threats “for months and months and months”.
The attorney then says he is going back to his house to get a gun “just in case”. When officers arrived on the scene, Mr Murdaugh had a shotgun which he handed over.
Murdaugh tells wild story about Black Panthers
Alex Murdaugh recounted a wild story about a farmhand claiming to “kill radical Black Panthers” when he was interviewed by law enforcement on the night of the double murder of his wife and son.
In footage of the interview, Mr Murdaugh says he can’t think of anyone “overly suspicious” who could be responsible for the murders but suggests law enforcement speak to a farmhand he had recently hired to work at the 1,700-acre estate.
Mr Murdaugh claims that the man had told Paul a “really weird” story just one week before the murders.
“He told Paul a story the other day of how when he was in high school he got in a fight with some Black guys and an FBI undercover teams observed him fighting those guys,” he says. “And they put him on an undercover team with three Navy Seals and their job was to kill radical Black Panthers.”
He adds: “Paul was so taken aback by it that he recorded it on his phone”.
Mr Murdaugh tells the officers that Paul had “been working with him a lot” and the story was “really weird”.
However, he adds that he doesn’t believe the man could be behind the murders, saying that it’s “such a stupid” that he was “embarrassed” to even bring it up.
Speculation over whether Murdaugh accidentally confessed
Audio from Alex Murdaugh’s second interview with law enforcement was played in court on 30 January, revealing that the disgraced legal dynasty heir may have unwittingly slipped up and confessed to the murders of his wife and son.
“I did him so bad,” a sobbing Mr Murdaugh appeared to say about his son in a police interview on 10 June 2021.
Alex Murdaugh’s shocking five words after alleged murders revealed
SLED Special Agent Jeff Croft was asked by prosecutor Creighton Waters to clarify what he heard Mr Murdaugh saying.
“It’s just so bad. I did him so bad,” he responded.
While prosecutors sought to suggest that the 54-year-old father and husband slipped up during the police interview, Mr Murdaugh was seen shaking his head and appearing to mouth “I did not say that” to his attorneys in court.
However, the audio of the interview has also raised doubts, being somewhat unclear as to whether Mr Murdaugh says “I” or “they”, with some inside and outside court believing he actually says: “They did him so bad.”
During cross-examination on Tuesday, Mr Griffin grilled Agent Croft as to why – if Mr Murdaugh’s statement raised alarm bells – he didn’t follow up on it.
The special agent testified that he “made a mental note” about Mr Murdaugh’s comment but said it was early in the investigation when officials were in more of an “information gathering” stage.
The audio was played again in court – twice in real time and once at one-third speed.
When asked by Mr Griffin if he heard “they” not “I” when the recording was slowed down, Agent Croft testified that he still heard “I”.
Guns and ammo at Murdaugh home match crime scene
Bodycam footage released by the court on 30 January revealed a huge stash of firearms inside the Murdaugh family home in the days after the murders.
SLED Special Agent Jeff Croft told jurors how he seized firearms and ammunition from the Murdaugh home – including weapons and ammo that matched the type of gun and bullets used to kill Maggie and Paul.
A .300 Blackout semiautomatic rifle, 12-gauge Browning shotgun, Benelli shotgun and 12-gauge pump shotgun which were seized from the family home were all brought into the courtroom and shown to jurors.
The agent testified that several empty boxes of ammunition were also found during searches of the Murdaugh home on 8 June and 13 June.
Inside the .300 Blackout rifle was Sellier & Bellot .300 AAC BLK ammo – the same type of ammo that was used to kill Maggie.
Also seized as evidence was a credit card receipt for an $1,021.10 item from Gucci – the item had been circled.
Alex Murdaugh: Police bodycam shows guns inside family’s hunting lodge
On 31 January, Agent Croft also testified that ammunition – steel shot ammo specifically Winchester DryLok – matching the fatal shot fired through Paul’s brain had been located on the Murdaugh family property.
Two separate guns – a rifle and shotgun – were used to kill Maggie and Paul. They have never been found.
Defence’s two shooters’ theory
Mr Murdaugh’s legal team sought to push its theory that there could have been two shooters separately responsible for killing the mother and son.
Jurors were shown photos and diagrams of the crime scene from both the night of the murders and more than one month later on 16 July, with defence attorney Dick Harpootlian honing in on two bullet projectiles in particular – one that travelled through the dog house and one through the quail pen.
Under cross-examination of SLED special agent Melinda Worley, Mr Harpootlian pushed the idea that, because the bullet projectiles were shot at different angles, it was a “reasonable” possibility that there was two killers.
“One reasonable explanation is there are two people there: one with a shotgun, one with an AR. Could someone have been a lookout, they went there to kill Paul and Maggie surprised them?” Mr Harpootlian pressed.
Agent Worley admitted that the theory is “possible” but said that it is only one “one explanation” as to what may have taken place that fateful night. She added that the angles could also be explained as one single shooter moving around.
Victims’ last texts and calls revealed
Jurors learned about the final text messages and phone calls made by Paul and Maggie before their brutal murders.
On the night of 7 June 2021, Paul placed a call on his cellphone to friend Rogan Gibson at 8.40pm, lasting four minutes, followed by a second call at 8.44pm. The second was the last incoming communication Mr Gibson received from Paul’s cellphone.
Five minutes later, at 8.49pm, Mr Gibson sent Paul a text message: “See if you can get a good picture of it. Marion wants to send it to a girl we know that’s a vet. Get him to sit and stay. He shouldn’t move around too much.”
The message – believed to be about a dog Paul was taking care of for him – went unanswered.
From that point onward, neither Paul nor his mother Maggie responded to any messages or calls on their cellphones.
Prosecutors said in opening statements that Paul was shot dead first at 8.50pm and Maggie minutes later. Their cellphones had no activity from 8.49pm onward.
After sending the text message at 8.49pm and receiving no response from his friend, Mr Gibson sent a follow-up text at 9.58pm, which simply read: “Yo.”
Mr Gibson also tried calling Paul multiple times at 9.10pm, 9.29pm, 9.42pm, 9.57pm and 10.08pm.
Getting no response from his friend, jurors heard that he also texted Paul’s mother Maggie at 9.34pm, saying: “Tell Paul to call me.”
Shortly after, Mr Gibson had four missed calls from Alex Murdaugh at 10.21pm, 10.24pm, 10.25pm and 10.30pm.
Doubts cast on preservation of crime scene
During much of his cross-examination of SLED Special Agent Worley, Mr Harpootlian sought to pick holes in the evidence gathered from the bloody crime scene.
He raised doubts about a mark or potential footprint spotted on Maggie’s calf on the night of the murders.
While Mr Harpootlian suggested it was a “footwear impression”, Agent Worley said she “couldn’t say” that was what the mark was but that it “could be”.
Drone footage of Moselle property where Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were murdered
The mark was not examined on the scene and no impression of the imprint was taken, she testified.
She also confirmed that a bloody footprint found in the feeding room was later determined to be that of a law enforcement officer – something that supported the defence’s line of questioning that some evidence was not preserved correctly and was even “destroyed”.
“Do you know what other evidence they may have destroyed?” asked Mr Harpootlian.
“I have no idea,” the agent said, to which he responded: “That’s right you don’t.”
Murdaugh’s cousin testifies he sold him guns – matching one used to kill Maggie
On 31 January, Mr Murdaugh’s cousin John Bedingfield testified against him, revealing how the 54-year-old bought several firearms from him in the years prior to the murders – ones that match the type used to kill Maggie.
Mr Bedingfield, who works for the Department of Natural Resources but has a side business making and selling firearms under a federal licence, told the court that Mr Murdaugh approached him before Christmas 2016 wanting to buy both Paul and his surviving son rifles as presents.
He purchased two subsonic 300 BlackOut rifles – one black, one tan colour – for $9,188 so his sons could hunt hogs, he testified.
Two years later in April 2018, he said that Mr Murdaugh bought a third rifle from him for $875 because he said that Paul had lost his other one.
Murdaugh’s chilling text message to wife after murders revealed
On Alex Murdaugh’s chilling final text to his wife moments after he allegedly killed her and their son was revealed in court during his murder trial on Tuesday.
Jurors were shown data from the cellphones of Maggie, Paul and Mr Murdaugh on the night of the murders.
Prosecutors say that Mr Murdaugh shot Paul first at 8.50pm and Maggie after.
Almost immediately after, cellphone data shows Mr Murdaugh made several calls to Maggie and other family members.
Mr Murdaugh first called Maggie at 9.04pm – minutes after he allegedly shot her dead – and the call went to voicemail.
He then texted her phone at 9.08pm, claiming he was going to visit his mother: “Going to check on M. Be right back.” The text was never read.
In total, Mr Murdaugh called his wife five times between 9.04pm and 10.03pm after allegedly killing her. None of the calls were answered.
His last text message to his wife came at 9.47pm, writing: “Call me babe.”
As well as calling Maggie, Mr Murdaugh’s cellphone records show he also made several calls to other numbers in the hour between the time prosecutors say the murder took place and he called 911. Prosecutors allege that Mr Murdaugh was seeking to build an alibi for that night.
Minutes after the final call, Mr Murdaugh called 911 at 10.07pm claiming to have found Maggie and Paul’s bodies.
Someone was holding and moving with Maggie’s cellphone after murder
SLED Lt. Britt Dove, who works in the computer crimes centre, testified that he processed the three cellphones.
Based on the cellphone data, he said that the last text Maggie read was a message from her sister-in-law Lynn Murdaugh in a group chat which she read at 8.49pm.
After 8.49pm, she didn’t open or respond to messages or calls from several people including her husband, oldest son Buster and Mr Murdaugh’s brother John Marvin Murdaugh.
Jurors also heard how the cellphone data shows Maggie’s phone orientation changed from portrait to landscape at 8.54pm and then again at 9.06pm, indicating that it was in someone’s hands. One minute later, at 9.07pm the screen went on and off as though someone tried – but failed – to unlock it.
Health app data was also presented to jurors, showing that Maggie’s cellphone recorded 59 steps in two minutes after 8.53pm – after prosecutors allege Maggie and Paul were already dead.
“It tells me someone was holding this phone and took steps, and it recorded those steps,” said Lt Dove.
Maggie’s phone was locked between 8.49pm on 7 June 2021 and 1.10pm the following day when it was found dumped by the side of a road around a quarter of a mile from the Murdaugh property.
Paul’s cellphone was also initially locked after the murders, until US Secret Service Digital Forensic Examiner Jonathan VanHouten testified that he managed to unlock when he successfully tried Paul’s birthday as his passcode.
Witnesses say voice in murder scene video is Alex Murdaugh
In a dramatic day on 1 February, jurors were shown cellphone footage taken by Paul at the dog kennels just minutes before he and Maggie were shot dead which casts doubts on Mr Murdaugh’s alibi.
Off-camera, three voices are heard – Paul, Maggie and a man prosecutors say is Mr Murdaugh.
Video shows Paul Murdaugh minutes before he and his mother were murdered
In dramatic testimony, two friends of Paul with close ties to the family told jurors that they are “100 per cent sure” that the voice belongs to Mr Murdaugh.
Cellphone data shows that the video was recorded for 58 seconds from 8.44.49pm to 8.45.47pm – less than five minutes before the murders. The disbarred attorney has claimed he was napping at the family home at that time.
Rogan Gibson, who had known Paul since they were young and described the Murdaughs as his “second family”, testified that he was “100 per cent sure” Mr Murdaugh is the voice in the footage. A second friend Will Loving echoed this.
As the footage was played in court, Mr Murdaugh appeared to rock his head up and down and cry.
Snapchat shows Alex Murdaugh in different clothing one hour before murders
Jurors were shown a Snapchat video Paul sent to Mr Loving less than one hour before he and Maggie were murdered.
The video, sent at 7.56pm on 7 June 2021, shows Alex Murdaugh on the grounds of the family estate.
In the footage, Mr Murdaugh, 54, is seen dressed in trousers, loafers and a blue button-down shirt – clothing that does not match what he is seen wearing in police bodycam footage in the aftermath of the murders.
In the bodycam footage, shown in court last week, the disgraced attorney is dressed in a white short-sleeved t-shirt and shorts.
Questions had already raised about this outfit as multiple law enforcement officials have testified that Mr Murdaugh and his clothing were “clean from head to toe” – despite his claims he had touched the bloody bodies of his wife and son.
It is not yet clear if investigators ever located or seized the second outfit Mr Murdaugh is seen wearing in the Snapchat video and jurors are yet to hear an explanation from the defence.
Less than one hour on from the 7.56pm Snapchat, Paul and Maggie were shot dead at around 8.50pm.
Alex Murdaugh laughs with his son minutes before Paul’s death
Murder timeframe narrowed down to eight-second window
Prosecutors claim that Paul was shot dead first at around 8.50pm, followed by Maggie – with cellphone data being used to narrow down the murders to a precise eight-second window.
SLED Lt. Britt Dove testified that Paul’s last phone activity was at 8.48.59pm and Maggie’s was at 8.49.27pm.
Eight seconds later at 8.49.35pm, Paul received a text message but it went unread. Neither Maggie nor Paul used their phones after that time.
Calls Murdaugh made to wife on night of murders ‘deleted’
In dramatic courtroom testimony, jurors heard that calls Mr Murdaugh made to his wife on the night of the murders were mysteriously later “deleted” from his call log.
In court on Tuesday, Lt Dove testified that Mr Murdaugh had called Maggie five times between 9.04pm and 10.03pm on the night of 7 June 2021 after he had allegedly killed her and Paul. None of the calls were answered.
But, according to the call log on his cellphone, Mr Murdaugh did not place or receive any calls between 4.35pm on 4 June and 10.25pm on 7 June.
Lt Dove, who processed the three cellphones belonging to Mr Murdaugh, Maggie and Paul, testified that the trove of phone calls Mr Murdaugh made to his wife’s cellphone after he allegedly shot the victims dead was missing from his call log.
The only explanation for the missing data is that the call logs were manually and intentionally deleted by someone between the 7 June 2021 murders and his phone being seized by authorities in September 2021, he said.
Defence casts doubt on theory Murdaugh took Maggie’s phone
Under cross-examination, the defence cast doubt on the theory that it could have been Mr Murdaugh who threw Maggie’s phone along the side of Moselle Road.
Lt Dove admitted that cellphone data suggested Maggie and Mr Murdaugh’s phones were not in the same place at the same time at 9.06pm as the step data did not match.
This was important because 9.06pm is when the final orientation change – or movement – was recorded on Maggie’s phone.
Lt Dove testified that this movement could have been as it was being thrown from a vehicle to where it was discovered the next day, with the defence contending that Mr Murdaugh was at the family property walking with his cellphone at that time.
However, under redirect, prosecutors cast doubt on the defence’s timeframe for when the phone was tossed down Moselle Lane, as Lt Dove testified that an orientation change can only take place when the phone screen is on.
The SLED agent testified that the screen on Maggie’s phone was off between 9.07pm and 9.31pm so if the phone was thrown from a car during that time, there would have been no orientation change recorded.
Shadow trial hears evidence of Murdaugh’s alleged multi-million-dollar fraud
In court on 2 and 3 February, several witnesses testified without the jury present as the judge weighed whether to allow evidence of Mr Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes to be presented at trial.
Prosecutors claimed that Mr Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes are key to proving the motive while the defence asked the judge to throw the evidence out of the trial.
On 7 February, the judge ruled in the state’s favour that evidence about Mr Murdaugh’s financial crimes is admissible in court – dealing a blow to the defence and leading the state to recall the financial witnesses to redeliver their testimony in the presence of the jury.
At the time of the murders, Mr Murdaugh’s law firm PMPED was closing in on his alleged multi-million-dollar fraud scheme with a colleague confronting him about it on the morning of the killings.
His finances were also coming under intense scrutiny in a lawsuit brought by the family of Mallory Beach – a 19-year-old woman who died in a 2019 crash in the Murdaugh family boat. A hearing for the boat crash lawsuit was also scheduled for the week of the murders. It was postponed following Maggie and Paul’s murders.
Now, separate from his murder trial, Mr Murdaugh is currently facing around 100 charges for stealing almost $8.5m from law firm clients dating back to 2011. The attorney, who has since been disbarred, represented the clients in wrongful death lawsuits before allegedly pocketing the settlement money for himself.
Murdaugh’s best friend sobs as he reveals how suspect stole money
Mr Murdaugh’s former best friend of 40 years broke down in tears in court as he described the moment that he learned the disgraced attorney had stolen millions of dollars from his law firm clients – and $192,000 from himself.
Chris Wilson choked up with emotion as he said the betrayal “knocked me down” and revealed that “I don’t know how to think any more” about the man he had known and “loved” for most of his life.
Mr Wilson testified that the two attorneys worked on a case together where Mr Murdaugh made a $792,000 cut.
At Mr Murdaugh’s request, Mr Wilson made the check payable directly to him instead of PMPED. Then, in July 2021 – one month on from the murders – Mr Wilson said that his friend got in touch saying he had been unable to structure the fees as planned and needed to pay the money back and have it paid directly to PMPED.
Alex Murdaugh Trial: Friend breaks down testifying about alleged financial crimes
Mr Murdaugh only had $600,000 to pay it back, with Mr Wilson saying that he covered the additional $192,000, on the basis that Mr Murdaugh would pay him back.
On 3 September 2021 – three months on from the murders – Mr Wilson said he finally learned his friend had been scamming him and many other people. He confronted him the next day.
Choking back tears, Mr Wilson revealed that his longtime friend broke down and confessed to stealing the money to fund a secret 20-year opioid addiction.
“He broke down crying,” he said. “I was so mad. I had loved the guy for so long, and I probably still loved him a little bit, but I was so mad, and I don’t remember how it ended. How did I not know these things or see these things?”
Law firm CFO confronted Murdaugh about missing money on day of murders
Jeanne Seckinger, the CFO at Mr Murdaugh’s former law firm PMPED, revealed she had confronted Mr Murdaugh over missing payments on the day of Maggie and Paul’s murders.
She told the court that by 7 June 2021 the law firm partners had noticed $792,000 worth of legal fees missing from the case he worked with Mr Wilson.
When she approached Mr Murdaugh to ask him about it that morning she said he gave her a “dirty look” – something that she said she had “ever received from him before”.
Hours later, Maggie and Paul were shot dead.
Over the coming months, the law firm partners uncovered an alleged multi-million-dollar fraud scheme where he had stolen millions from their clients and pocketed it himself – reaching a head with the confrontation and resignation on 3 September.
The day after he was forced to resign, Mr Murdaugh was shot in the head in what turned out to be a botched hitman plot.
Son of housekeeper accuses Murdaugh of stealing $4m after her mystery death
Mr Murdaugh was accused of stealing a $4m settlement from his late housekeeper’s family, where prosecutors also raised questions about her mystery death.
Gloria Satterfield worked as the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper and nanny for more than 20 years, before she died in a mysterious trip and fall at the family home in 2018.
Her son Tony Satterfield told the court how Mr Murdaugh allegedly swindled almost $4m in a wrongful death lawsuit payout from the family in the aftermath of her death.
The court was shown evidence of two separate settlements in the wrongful death suit – one for $505,000 and one for $3.8m. Mr Satterfield testified that Mr Murdaugh did not tell him about the settlements and that he did not receive “one cent” of the money.
In June 2021 – the same month that Maggie and Paul were shot dead – there were reports in the media about a settlement and Mr Satterfield said he chased Mr Murdaugh about the progress of the case.
Unbeknown to him, Mr Murdaugh had already allegedly received payouts and pocketed them for himself.
Now, Mr Murdaugh is charged with almost 30 criminal charges over the Satterfield settlement.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters also hinted at the ongoing uncertainty about the nature of her death.
“Was she able to say how she fell?” he asked.
“No she was not,” Mr Satterfied replied.
At the time, Satterfield’s death was regarded as an accidental fall – however her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural”.
In September 2021, SLED announced that it was reopening an investigation into her death and, in early 2022, officials announced plans to exhume her body. The investigation is still ongoing and her body is yet to be exhumed.
Boat crash attorney says ‘fuse was lit’ to expose Murdaugh’s financial crimes
Attorney Mark Tinsley testified without the jury present about the lawsuit he brought against Mr Murdaugh on behalf of the family of Mallory Beach and how it was putting his finances under increased scrutiny at the time of the murders.
Mr Tinsley told the court the Mr Murdaugh claimed he was broke and couldn’t pay the settlement he was asking for his clients.
He didn’t believe this – so he filed a motion compelling Mr Murdaugh to reveal his finances.
A hearing for the suit had been scheduled to take place on 10 June 2021 and Mr Tinsley testified that he expected to take the lawsuit to trial in the late summer of 2021. But, the proceedings were derailed because of the murders.
He said that the “fuse had been lit” to expose Mr Murdaugh’s slew of alleged financial crimes – but that his problems would likely “be over” if the family was the “victim of an unspeakable tragedy”.
“Pretty quickly, I recognised that the case against Alex, if he were in fact the victim of some vigilante, would be over,” he said.
If the disgraced attorney was the “victim of an unspeakable tragedy” then no jury would side against him in the case, Mr Tinsley said.
He later testified: “There wouldn’t have been an explosion June 10. But the fuse was lit the moment that information became available in this case.”
He added that Mr Murdaugh “knew it was going to unravel” and that “the fuse was lit when he started stealing money”.
Under redirect, the witness testified that if the hearing had taken place on 10 June it would have set in motion the process that wouldn’t have stopped until Mr Murdaugh either settled the case or disclosed his finances.
Caretaker says ‘fidgety’ Murdaugh lied about alibi – and offered her money
Muschelle “Shelly” Smith, who worked as a caregiver to Mr Murdaugh’s mother Libby from October 2019, told jurors about Mr Murdaugh’s unusual behaviour both on the night of the murders and in the days that followed.
She testified that a “fidgety” Alex Murdaugh showed up at his sick mother’s house between 8.30pm and 9.30pm on the night of 7 June 2021 – then left 20 minutes later.
She testified that it was “unusual” for him to visit at night and he was “fidgety”.
Murdaugh’s mother’s caretaker testifies about his whereabouts on night of murders
A few days after the murders, she testified that Mr Murdaugh spoke to her about his visit that night, telling her to tell authorities that he had stayed at his parents’ house for double the length of time that he had.
“I was here 30 to 40 minutes,” she said he told her.
The conversation left her feeling “nervous”, she said – so much so that she called her brother who is a police officer to relay what he had said to her.
Days after that initial conversation, Mr Murdaugh spoke to her again – this time offering “to help her out” with paying for her upcoming wedding and putting in a good word for her with her other job.
Ms Smith broke down in tears describing Mr Murdaugh and his family as a “good family” and told jurors under cross-examination that she believes his offers were simply him being a “good person”.
Blue tarp or blue raincoat?
Days after Mr Murdaugh’s offer with wedding expenses, Ms Smith testified that Mr Murdaugh showed up at his mother’s house at 6.30am in the morning cradling a “blue something” in his hands.
She said he took it upstairs and left it before leaving again.
She also noticed for the first time that he had a cut or bruise on his forehead.
He returned sometime later that day driving a white truck, which he then left at the property and switched to a black truck.
Prosecutors said that law enforcement found a blue tarp and a blue rainjacket in a search of the home. The state says that gunshot residue was found on the jacket.
Under cross-examination, Ms Smith insisted that the item she saw him carrying was a “blue tarp” and not a blue rainjacket.
However, under redirect she was shown a photo of a “bundled up blue item” and asked if that was what she had seen. She confirmed it was.
Mr Waters said that was the rainjacket bundled up.
The judge denied a motion from the defence to strike the raincoat as evidence.
Gunshot residue found all over blue raincoat
Gunshot residue was found all over the mystery blue raincoat that Alex Murdaugh allegedly hid in his parents’ home in the days after the murders.
SLED forensic scientist Megan Fletcher testified that at least 38 gunshot residue (GSR) particles were found on the inside of the jacket – a “significant” number which would be consistent with a recently-fired gun being wrapped up inside the jacket.
She added that she “stopped counting” after reaching 38 but contended that she could have gone on to find more.
A smaller number was found on the outside.
The two firearms used to kill Maggie and Paul – an AR-15-style rifle and a shotgun – have never been found.
Mr Murdaugh’s hands, his shirt and shorts and the seatbelt buckle of his car also had smaller numbers of GSR particles on them. On his shoes, no gunshot residue was found.
Friend testifies that Murdaugh lied to him about being at kennels
Ronnie Crosby, PMPED partner and Mr Murdaugh’s friend of 25 years, revealed that the accused killer lied to him about going to the dog kennels that night, as he became the third state witness to say he is “100 per cent” sure that the voice captured in Paul’s cellphone video belongs to Mr Murdaugh.
Mr Crosby testified that he rushed to Moselle as soon as he learned about the murders and stayed with Mr Murdaugh until around 3.30am the following morning.
During that time, he had “multiple conversations” with his friend about his movements that night including where Mr Murdaugh told him personally that he had never gone down to the kennels that night.
“That came up in one of the conversations, and he specifically said that he did not,” he testified.
Instead, Mr Murdaugh gave him the same alibi story that he gave to law enforcement – that he was napping at the family home, woke up and drove to his parents’ home to visit his sick mother.
Mr Crosby also testified how he learned that Mr Murdaugh had been stealing millions of dollars from PMPED clients – and how the probe into missing payments was put on hold because of the murders.
Car data suggests holes in alibi
Data taken from Mr Murdaugh’s car has offered a potential timeline for his movements on the night of the murders – and suggests holes in the alibi he gave to his mother’s caregiver.
FBI electronics engineer Dwight Falkofske testified that he extracted data from the onboard computer system of Mr Murdaugh’s 2021 Chevrolet Suburban, including call logs, contact lists, some location data and the “state” of the vehicle in terms of when it was turned on, when it was in and out of park mode, and when the doors were opened.
The data offers jurors a timeline for the vehicle’s movements – and therefore its driver Mr Murdaugh’s movements – on the night of 7 June 2021 when his wife Maggie and son Paul were shot dead on the family’s 1,700-acre estate in Islandton.
The data indicates that Mr Murdaugh did leave his family home and drove to visit his sick mother at around 9.06pm, arriving at 9.22pm.
However, it also indicates that he only stayed at his parents’ home for 21 minutes – and not the 30 to 40 minutes he told Ms Smith to tell authorities – leaving again at 9.43pm.
The records show him arriving at Moselle at around 10pm. He called 911 at 10.07pm.
Murdaugh’s rehab text revealed
Annette Griswold, who worked as a paralegal at PMPED, also revealed how she learned that he had been stealing money from the firm.
Days after his fraud scheme came to light and he was ousted from PMPED, Mr Murdaugh checked into rehab.
Ms Griswold testified that she received a text from Mr Murdaugh in late September 2021 apologising for what he had done. He also sent the text to another colleague.
“Hey, it’s Alex. I’m finally feeling a little bit better each day,” the text message said.
“I’m over the worst but still feel like i have the flu. Real weak. I’m have been worried about y’all and I’m sorry I didn’t get to tell y’all myself. I know both of you have been hurt badly by me. I know it sounds hollow, but I am truly sorry.
“The better I get, the more guilt I have. I have an awful lot to try to make right when I get out of here. The worst part is knowing I did the most damage to those I love the most. I’m not sure how I let myself get where I did. I am committed to getting better and hope to mend as many relationships as I can.
“You both are special people and important to me. Please know how sorry I am to have made you part of my misdeeds. I hope you are doing as well as possible. I love you very much.”
Murdaugh text friend after time of murders
When he testified for a second time – this time in the presence of jurors – Mr Wilson told the court that he had spoken with Mr Murdaugh on the night of Maggie and Paul’s murders.
Records show that Mr Murdaugh called him at 9.11pm on the night of 7 June. He said he asked Mr Murdaugh if he could call him back in a bit as he was busy.
Mr Murdaugh seemed normal at the time, he said.
Call records show Mr Wilson called him back at 9.20pm and Mr Murdaugh said he was just getting to his mother’s house.
At 9.52pm, Mr Murdaugh sent him a text saying: “Call me if you up”.
Mr Wilson said he called him right away. The first time there was no answer so he called a second time and Mr Murdaugh answered and they had a brief chat about Mr Murdaugh’s mother.
Prosecutors say that Mr Murdaugh killed his wife and son at around 8.50pm.
Murdaugh asked housekeeper to clean home hours after murders
Mr Murdaugh asked his housekeeper to clean the family home on the morning after the murders of his wife and son – and then tried to get their stories straight about what clothes he was wearing before the killings.
Blanca Simpson, who worked as the Murdaugh family housekeeper for several years, revealed that Mr Murdaugh had asked her to come to Moselle on 8 June 2021 – hours after the murders – to make the house “the way Maggie liked”.
When she went to the house, she said she noticed several “very unusual” things including pots being in the fridge instead of on the stove or sink and Maggie’s pyjamas and underwear lying “neatly in the middle of the doorway” of the laundry room.
Drone footage of Moselle property where Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were murdered
She said it was “very unusual”, saying: “It just didn’t look right to me” because Maggie “didn’t wear underwear with her pyjamas” and the “underwear appeared to be clean not dirty”.
In the shower room, she said she also noticed a light puddle of water, a towel and a pair of khaki pants. (On the morning of 7 June, she told the court she had seen Mr Murdaugh wearing a pair of khaki pants.)
She testified that she then put the pants in the wash.
Ms Simpson also testified about the full outfit she saw Mr Murdaugh wearing on the morning of the murders – the khaki pants, a seafoam polo shirt, a blue sports coat and some house shoes.
As the person who cleaned all the Murdaugh family’s clothing and the house, she revealed that she “never” saw the seafoam coloured shirt or the house shoes again after that day.
Murdaugh tried to get stories straight with housekeeper
Two months after the murders – in August 2021 – she testified that Mr Murdaugh brought up what shirt he was wearing on the morning of the murders.
The two of them were at one of the Murdaugh’s properties and he said to her: “I need to talk to you, come here sit down.”
She did and Mr Murdaugh, while pacing, said: “I got a bad feeling … something’s not right.”
Mr Murdaugh mentioned to her that “there’s a video” and said “you remember the Vinnie Vine shirt… I was wearing that shirt that day”, she testified.
Ms Simpson said that she believed he was trying to make sure that she told law enforcement the same story about he was wearing that fateful day.
Murdaugh insisted Maggie and Paul come home on night of murders
Jurors also heard about phone calls and text messages between Ms Simpson and Maggie – revealing that Mr Murdaugh had insisted both Maggie and Paul come to the property at Moselle on the day of the murders.
Ms Simpson told the court that Maggie texted her saying: “Alex wants me to come home.”
Maggie liked being at the family beach house in Edisto and had been preparing to host a big July 4 gathering there, she said.
In a phone conversation, Maggie also mentioned that Mr Murdaugh wanted her to come to Moselle that day and she seemed a bit “disappointed”, she said.
“She sounded like she didn’t want to come home… she sounded like she was a little disappointed,” she said.
Mr Murdaugh had also asked Paul to come home too because he wanted his son to “fix” something on the property, Ms Simpson testified.
Maggie was concerned about money and husband’s truthfulness
Prior to her murder, Maggie had confided in Ms Simpson about concerns with the family’s finances – and concerns that Mr Murdaugh was not being truthful with her about the extent of their situation, she said.
She said that Maggie had asked to speak to her and they went in a room in the home together where Maggie broke down crying.
“She was concerned about the amount of money they were requesting on the lawsuit – $30m is what she told me,” she said.
Maggie told her that she felt “Alex was not being truthful to her about the lawsuit… she said ‘he doesn’t tell me everything’,” testified Ms Simpson.
Under cross-examination, Ms Simpson told the court that she got the impression Mr Murdaugh “adored” his wife.
However, Ms Simpson damningly became the fourth witness to identify Mr Murdaugh as the voice in the video at the dog kennels moments before the murders.
No blood found on Murdaugh’s shirt
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Agent Sara Zapata said that no blood was confirmed on the white shirt that Mr Murdaugh was wearing on the night of the murders.
However the negative result could be due to some of the tests carried out. Preliminary tests had found probable blood stains.
Prior to the trial, reports said that blood spatter was found on Mr Murdaugh’s clothing but prosecutors appear to have abandoned this argument.
Instead, they are arguing he changed his clothing after the murders as he claimed to have moved the bodies, but no blood was found in the white t-shirt.
Blood was found on the steering wheel of Mr Murdaugh’s SUV, jurors heard.
Paul was facing killer when he was shot, says pathologist
Forensic pathologist Dr Ellen Riemer testified about the extent of the injuries suffered by Maggie and Paul.
Dr Riemer, who performed the autopsies, revealed that Paul was likely standing with his face tilted towards his killer when he was shot.
The first bullet – to the chest – likely left him standing but the second bullet blew the inside of his head, leaving almost all his brain matter detached from his body.
Dr Reimer said that stippling was found on Paul’s chest wound, indicating the shot was fired from within three feet, but not closer than six inches. There was no soot, which would indicate a closer shot.
Maggie was also facing her killer when she was first shot, the expert said.
She first suffered a gunshot wound to her left breast, and the bullet travelled upward to the left side of her face. The second shot went through her kidney, which probably caused her to bend over and while in that position, she was shot in the chest and to the back of her head, Dr Riemer said.
Cameras in the courtroom were requested not to show the graphic autopsy pictures while Mr Murdaugh wept in court.
Maggie’s sister says Murdaugh told her killer had planned murders ‘for long time’
Maggie’s sister Marian Proctor took the stand on 14 February where she revealed her brother-in-law’s odd comments in the aftermath of the murders.
She recalled one conversation where she said he reassured her that his wife and son did not suffer in their brutal murders.
“Now I don’t know that that’s true,” Ms Proctor told prosecutors through tears.
At a later time, she said she asked him if he had “any idea” who was responsible.
Her brother-in-law responded by telling her the killer had planned the murders “for a long time”.
“(He said) that he did not know who it was but that whoever did it had thought about it for a long time,” she said.
Ms Proctor said Mr Murdaugh also seemed more eager to clear Paul’s name in the boat crash than he was about finding the killer.
“(Mr Murdaugh) said that his number one goal was clearing Paul’s name. And I thought that was so strange because my number one goal was finding out who killed my sister and Paul … I don’t know how he could have thought about anything else,” she said.
“We never talked about it. We never talked about finding the person, who could have done it. It was just odd. We were sort of living in fear because we thought this horrible person was out there,” Ms Proctor said.
“We were mostly afraid for Alex and Buster but we didn’t know the motive behind the killings. We thought it probably had something to do with the boat case. And we thought that up until September. And then things started to change a little bit.”
Sister-in-law reveals affair years before murders
Ms Procter also testified about a time when Maggie discovered her husband was having an affair.
In the absence of the jury, Ms Proctor claimed that although the affair had happened 15 years ago and they were able to work through it, it was still a sore point in the marriage and Maggie had brought up again around the time of the murders.
“She did not think anyone was still going on, it just bothered her,” Ms Proctor said, also saying that Maggie made her husband leave the house years ago when she first became suspicious.
The defence denied the affair and asked the judge to disregard the testimony – something the judge agreed to.
Mr Murdaugh’s sister-in-law also revealed, in the presence of the jury, that the family knew about his opioid abuse.
Maggie even nicknamed Paul the “Little Detective” as he kept an eye on his father’s behaviour and opioid use.
Dog caretaker reveals unusual state of kennels
Dale Davis, who cared for the Murdaugh’s dogs at the kennels, said that puddles of water were not where they should have been, the hose had clearly been used and the dogs were in the wrong kennels when police arrived on the scene of the murders.
Prosecutors have suggested that Mr Murdaugh cleaned up himself and the crime scene after the murders before building an alibi for that night.
Under cross examination, Mr Davis confirmed that the hose was already in a different position to where he had left it in the cellphone video captured by Paul.
He also recounted a time when Mr Murdaugh couldn’t bring himself to put down a dog.
Police interview footage reveals wild inconsistencies in alibi
Footage from an 11 August 2021 police interview with Mr Murdaugh was played in court.
In the interview, which has never been seen before, SLED Special Agent David Owen confronted Mr Murdaugh about wild inconsistencies in his alibi in a police interview two months on from the murders.
Among the inconsistencies were: how long Mr Murdaugh spent at his mother’s home that night; whether or not he went to the dog kennels; the different clothes he was wearing; the timeline of when he was at his law firm; and the reason Maggie had gone to the family estate that day.
Mr Murdaugh denied that his voice is in Paul’s cellphone video – something multiple witnesses have testified is Mr Murdaugh.
The police interview also revealed Mr Murdaugh claiming he had spent 45 minutes to an hour at his sick mother’s house that night – a timeline that has been refuted by both car data and testimony from his mother’s carer.
The accused killer also claimed that he wasn’t expecting his wife home but later learned she had come to the property because she was worried about him. Ms Simpson testified he had told Maggie and Paul to come to the home that night.
“It wasn’t one inconsistency. It was several inconsistencies within a period of time that were repeated,” Agent Owen testified in court, adding that Mr Murdaugh was “the only known suspect at that time”.
Alex Murdaugh denies murdering wife and son in police interview
The footage also showed Mr Murdaugh’s apparent lack of surprise when he was told for the first time that his wife and son had been murdered by the family’s own guns.
Video shows moment police ask Murdaugh if he killed wife and son
Near the end of the police interview, the agent is seen telling Mr Murdaugh that he has “a few more questions”.
Then, in a bombshell moment, the officer asked Mr Murdaugh for the first time if he had killed his wife and son.
“Did you kill Maggie?” he asked.
Mr Murdaugh replied: “No… Did I kill my wife? No, David.” When the agent asked if he knows who did, Mr Murdaugh said: “No, I do not know who did.”
“Did you kill Paul?” Agent Owen continued.
“No, I did not kill Paul,” Mr Murdaugh said.
Agent Owen said he had “to go where the evidence and the facts take me” as he told him: “I don’t have anything that points to anybody else at this time”.
At that moment, Mr Murdaugh realised for the first time that he was the prime suspect in the case.
“So does that mean that I am a suspect?” Mr Murdaugh asked.
Murdaugh spent $50,000 a week on drugs
Mr Murdaugh spent a staggering $50,000 a week on drugs which he was buying from Curtis Edward Smith, defence attorney Jim Griffin told the court.
During cross-examination of Agent Owen, Mr Griffin claimed that Mr Smith – Mr Murdaugh’s alleged drug dealer, distant cousin, former law firm client and accused co-conspirator in a bizarre September 2021 botched hitman plot – in turn owed money to a local “cowboys gang,” said Mr Griffin.
The defence attorney grilled Agent Owen about why the members of this unidentified gang were never treated as suspects and why their DNA was not tested against evidence taken from the crime scene.
The special agent testified earlier that, by August 2021, Mr Murdaugh was the one and only suspect in the brutal slayings.
The cross-examination somewhat backfired, as it led the judge to reverse a ruling, allowing jurors to hear testimony about the botched hitman plot – and potentially from Mr Smith, infamously known as “Cousin Eddie”, himself.
On 4 September 2021 – three months on from the murders – the disgraced attorney was ambushed in what he initially claimed was a drive-by shooting along a road in Hampton County. He checked into rehab the following day, announcing that he was struggling with a 20-year opioid addiction and that he had resigned from his law firm PMPED.
But, Mr Murdaugh’s story about the roadside shooting soon unravelled and he confessed to law enforcement that he had orchestrated the saga, paying Mr Smith to shoot and kill him in an assisted suicide plot so that his surviving son Buster could get a $10m life insurance windfall.
Both Mr Smith and Mr Murdaugh were then arrested and charged over the incident.
Killer allegedly ambushed Paul and shot Maggie on knees as she fled
Dr Kenny Kinsey, an Orangeburg County sheriff’s deputy and crime scene expert, gave graphic testimony walking jurors through the victims’ final terrifying moments including each of the gunshots they suffered and where the gunman stood while firing each shot.
He revealed that the killer ambushed Paul in the feeding room of the dog kennels leaving him with no time to defend himself.
The first shot, which struck Paul in the chest and arm, was not fatal.
The 22-year-old remained standing for several moments and then moved “slowly” towards the door of the feeding room – and towards his killer. As he reached the door frame, he was shot a second time in the shoulder and brain and fell forward landing outside the feeding room.
After killing Paul, the gunman then left the feeding room area and approached Maggie outside.
In her final terrifying moments, she faced her killer and backed away, knocking into the family’s ATV before being gunned down by her killer.
She was struck twice before falling to her knees, at which point the killer shot her twice in the head.
Jurors were shown a photo of a tire impression on the back of Maggie’s calf – which the expert said was from the tire of the ATV under the hanger next to Maggie’s body.