Alex Murdaugh shows no emotion as he is unanimously found GUILTY of murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul
Alex Murdaugh shows no emotion as he is unanimously found GUILTY of murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul: Jurors spent less than three hours deliberating following six weeks of blockbuster testimony
Alex Murdaugh has been found guilty of murdering his wife and son after a jury of seven men and five women spent less than three hours deliberating.
The disgraced legal scion, 54, showed no emotion on his face but was shaking as the unanimous verdict was read out at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, following six weeks of harrowing testimony.
His only surviving son Buster, 26, was stony-faced and put his head in his hands. Murdaugh turned to face his son and sister Lynn as he was cuffed and led away. Neither his younger brother John Marvin, who testified earlier this week, nor his elder sibling Randy were in court.
Murdaugh, whose family has wielded immense judicial power in the region for three generations, brutally shot dead his wife Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, at the family’s 1,800-acre hunting estate in Moselle on the night of June 7, 2021.
The disbarred attorney lied to cops about his alibi before making the sensational decision to take the stand where he changed his story to fit the damning evidence.
But the State convinced jurors with a video which proved he was at the scene just moments before he blasted Paul’s brains out with a shotgun and mercilessly turned an assault rifle on his wife of 27 years, shooting Maggie five times.
Murdaugh will return for sentencing at 9.30am Friday. He faces 30 years to life in prison after being convicted of two counts of murder and two weapons charges.
Murdaugh is led out of the court by sheriff’s deputies after being found guilty of murdering his wife and son
Alex Murdaugh unanimously found GUILTY of murder of wife and son
The disgraced legal scion, 54, shook as he stood while the verdict was read out at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, following six weeks of harrowing testimony
His surviving son Buster appeared stony-faced and sat with his hand covering his mouth beside his girlfriend Brooklynn White who looked down at the ground
Murdaugh is led away in handcuffs after being convicted of shooting dead his wife Maggie and son Paul
Alex Murdaugh’s sister Lynn looks emotional as she drives away from the courtroom
Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh at Lake Kiwi in May 2021 to celebrate the birth of Maggie’s niece’s child. At the time of the killings, Buster was staying with his girlfriend near Charlotte
Prosecutor Creighton Waters was cheered by the public as he addressed a press conference outside the court, proclaiming: ‘Justice was done today.
‘It doesn’t matter who your family is, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or people think you have, it doesn’t matter how prominent you are. If you do wrong and break the law and if you murder, then justice will be done in South Carolina.’
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Maggie and Paul had been ‘brutally murdered … by someone that they loved and someone that they trusted.’
He paid tribute to his team for their work and said ‘we can’t bring them back but we can bring them justice.’
Murdaugh’s defense attorney and friend Jim Griffin, who earlier broke down as he implored jurors not to find his client guilty, said: ‘Obviously we’re disappointed but until he’s sentenced we will have no further comment.’
Judge Clifton Newman dismissed a defense move for a mistrial and thanked the jury for their finding. The judge said: ‘The circumstantial evidence, direct evidence, all of the evidence pointed to one conclusion, and that’s the conclusion that you all reached.’
Murdaugh, who wept throughout the trial as the jury were told in gruesome detail how his wife and son were brutally executed and shown harrowing images of the crime scene, gave a blank expression as the judge spoke to the court.
His eldest son Buster, who sat behind his father every day during the trial and testified for the defense, put his head in his hands.
As he was cuffed by sheriff’s deputies Murdaugh turned to face his son Buster and sister Lynn. He then shook hands with his attorney Dick Harpootlian, a Democratic State Senator, and was escorted out of the room.
Murdaugh was loaded into the back of the black prison van which brings him to and from court everyday and ferried to the local Colleton County jail where he has been remanded in custody throughout the trial.
Buster Murdaugh, the son of Alex Murdaugh, listens as Alex Murdaugh’s verdict is read at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Thursday
Murdaugh is taken away by cops tonight. He will be sentenced in the morning
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said Maggie and Paul had been ‘brutally murdered … by someone that they loved and someone that they trusted.’ He paid tribute to his team for their work and said ‘we can’t bring them back but we can bring them justice.’
Prosecutor Creighton Waters was cheered by the public as he addressed a press conference outside the court, proclaiming: ‘Justice was done today. ‘It doesn’t matter who your family is, it doesn’t matter how much money you have or people think you have, it doesn’t matter how prominent you are. If you do wrong and break the law and if you murder, then justice will be done in South Carolina’
Murdaugh is led away after being convicted of the brutal murders of his wife and son
Murdaugh is taken away in handcuffs to the prison van
Murdaugh looks stony-faced as he is escorted from the courthouse late on Thursday
Murdaugh is taken away by cops after being found guilty of Maggie and Paul’s brutal killings
Alex Murdaugh fiercely denied executing his wife and son when he sensationally took the stand to defend himself last week against his own lawyers’ advice.
He wept as he admitted to jurors that he had lied about being at the crime scene minutes before they were slain – but blamed his paranoia brought on a crippling opioid habit and a mistrust of the police.
Murdaugh said: ‘I would never intentionally do anything to hurt either of them. Ever. Ever,’ he sobbed. ‘I didn’t shoot my wife or son, ever.’
‘Oh what a tangled web we weave. Once I told a lie, and I told my family, I had to keep lying,’ he added.
But prosecutor Waters exploded Murdaugh’s ‘new story’ by playing bodycam footage from the local cop who was first on the scene in which he was seen already lying about the last time he saw Maggie and Paul.
Waters yesterday told jurors in his closing argument: ‘The pressures on this man were unbearable and they were all reaching a crescendo the day his wife and son were murdered by him.’
On the day of the killings, Murdaugh had been confronted over $792,000 that had gone ‘missing’ from a recent case. In the subsequent months it would be revealed that he had stolen more than $10m from clients and partners at his firm.
Three days after the killings he was due in court for a hearing in a lawsuit over his son’s drunken boat crash in which a teen girl had died two years earlier.
The family patriarch, Randolph III, who Murdaugh had continually turned to for massive six-figure loans and relied upon emotionally, was badly ill with cancer. He died three days after the murders.
Compounding this, prosecutors say Murdaugh’s opioid pill habit was spiraling and on the defendant’s own admission, ‘withdrawals would make him do anything.’
Waters told jurors: ‘Nobody knew who this man was. He avoided accountability his whole life, he had relied on his family name, he had a powerful family, he carried a badge and used that in authority, he lived a wealthy life – but now finally he was was facing complete ruin.
He added that the legal scion ‘is the kind of person for whom shame is an extraordinary provocation’ and faced with financial ruin which his ‘ego couldn’t stand … he became a family annihilator.’
He concluded the speech with the fervent plea: ‘This defendant has fooled everyone, everyone. Everyone who thought they were close to him he’s fooled them all and he fooled Maggie and Paul too and they paid for it with their lives. Don’t let him fool you too.’
Murdaugh walking out of the courthouse after the jury delivered his guilty verdict
Murdaugh says goodbye to his defense attorney Dick Harpootlian as cops lead him out of the courtroom
Murdaugh is cuffed and led away by sheriff’s deputies after he was found guilty
Murdaugh is led away by sheriff’s deputies after the jury delivered its verdict
Maggie’s body was found a few yards to the right of a doghouse, while Paul’s was by the doorway at the end of the kennels
WHERE MAGGIE DIED: A pool of blood outside the kennels where Maggie Murdaugh was shot dead with two AR bullets to the head
Two of the family dogs – who appear to be Bubba and Maggie – based on descriptions in court – are seen in the kennels on the Moselle Road property on June 7, 2021 when Alex Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul Murdaugh were shot and killed
WHERE PAUL DIED: Blood spatters on the floor inside the storage room at the kennels where Paul Murdaugh was shot dead. He was killed with a shot to the chest and a second to the head
Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh in a photo the mother posted for Father’s Day in 2020
Murdaugh’s lawyer places a hand on his shoulder to comfort him as he sobs. The 30-minute interview took place around 1am – about four hours after the killings – inside a state agent’s vehicle
In closing arguments earlier on Thursday, Murdaugh’s lawyer accused investigators of fabricating evidence.
He said the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the state’s version of the FBI, failed to secure the crime scene and examine key evidence that could have exonerated Murdaugh, and instead focused on him due to scrutiny over his financial misdeeds.
‘That made him an easy, easy, easy target for SLED,’ Jim Griffin said, arguing Murdaugh could have been ruled out as a suspect. ‘SLED failed miserably in investigating this case.’
Murdaugh’s lawyers tried to paint their client as a loving family man who, while facing financial difficulties and suffering from an opioid addiction that led him to lie and steal, would never harm his wife and child.
They floated alternative theories, with Murdaugh testifying that he believed someone angry over a deadly 2019 boating accident involving Paul likely sought revenge on his son.
Griffin described the State’s alleged motive as preposterous, arguing the murders would only draw more scrutiny, not less, to the allegations of Murdaugh’s financial misdeeds.
Buster Murdaugh sat with his head in his hands as his father Alex Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering Maggie and Paul
Buster Murdaugh, his girlfriend Brooklynn White and Alex’s sister Lynn
Buster Murdaugh, his girlfriend Brooklynn White and Alex’s sister Lynn arrive at the court Thursday
Murdaugh’s lawyer Jim Griffin and family friend looks on as the jury delivers a guilty verdict
Griffin repeatedly highlighted the high legal bar in criminal cases of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, underscoring the challenge for prosecutors who have built their case on circumstantial rather than direct evidence.
‘If there’s any reasonable cause for you to hesitate to write ‘guilty,’ then the law requires you to write ‘not guilty,” he said.
Griffin also outlined a handful of examples where he alleges the state fabricated evidence. They included the claim that Murdaugh had high-velocity blood spatter on his shirt, an assertion contradicted by testing by SLED.
Among the state’s strongest evidence is Murdaugh’s admission from the stand last week that he’d lied about his whereabouts on the night of the killings, telling investigators he wasn’t at the dog kennels before the murders.
Murdaugh changed his account after the jury listened to audio evidence placing him at the crime scene minutes before it occurred.
Griffin attacked the in his closing argument, saying ‘there is nothing to indicate any strife or anger’ in the footage. In fact, it showed a family ‘doing what families do.’
‘Four minutes later the State would have you believe that Mr Murdaugh blows his sons brains out of his head and murders his wife,’ he added.