Alex Murdaugh testifies: Here are the key moments from his first day on the stand
After weeks of testimony, a South Carolina court finally heard Thursday from Alex Murdaugh, who is facing two counts of murder in the deaths of his wife and son.
The disgraced former attorney pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two weapons charges in the killings of his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and son, Paul Murdaugh, on June 7, 2021, at the family’s home in Islandton.
Prosecutors accuse Murdaugh of killing his wife and son to distract from an array of alleged financial crimes, in which he separately faces another 99 charges, and rested their case last week.
The defense has painted Murdaugh as a loving father and husband being wrongfully accused after what it says has been a poorly handled investigation. Here are some of the key moments from his first day of testimony:
Murdaugh confirms he lied repeatedly to investigators
Murdaugh admitted for the first time publicly that he lied to investigators about his whereabouts on the night in June 2021, when the killings of his wife and son took place.
The former lawyer acknowledged his voice is heard in a video that appeared to be filmed at the dog kennels where the bodies of his wife and son were found. Prosecutors have used the video to put Murdaugh at the scene of the killings, contradicting his repeated statements to law enforcement that he had not been there that night.
Numerous witnesses had testified his voice is in the background of the video recorded by Paul at 8:44 p.m. June 7, 2021.
“Mr. Murdaugh, is that you on the kennel video at 8:44 p.m. on June 7,” defense attorney Jim Griffin asked, “the night Maggie and Paul were murdered?”
“It is,” Murdaugh said.
‘I wasn’t thinking clearly’
Murdaugh said he lied about being at the kennels earlier that evening because of “paranoid thinking” stemming from his drug addiction.
“I did lie to them,” he said, blaming his addiction to opiate painkillers.
“I wasn’t thinking clearly,” he added. “I don’t think I was capable of reason, and I lied about being down there, and I’m so sorry that I did.”
Still, Murdaugh was emphatic in his denial that he shot and killed his wife and son, insisting in response to Griffin’s questions, “I didn’t shoot my wife or my son, anytime, ever.”
Murdaugh says after visiting the kennels, he returned to his house and then visited his mother
Alex Murdaugh swears to tell the truth before he takes the stand during his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023 in Walterboro, S.C. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)
Murdaugh testified that on the night his son and wife were killed, he stepped out of his house after dinner to attend to the dogs in the kennels, after which he went back inside his house and laid down on a couch.
Afterward, he decided to go visit his mother, an Alzheimer’s disease patient, in nearby Almeda, he said.