3 weeks, dozens of witnesses: Takeaways from Murdaugh trial
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Three weeks into disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial, prosecutors have known as dozens of witnesses providing wide-ranging — and typically disjointed — testimony.
Jurors have heard from the investigators who found the bodies of Murdaugh’s spouse and son, and technicians who discovered gunshot residue, cracked open cellphones to get movies and examined dozens of ammunition casings.
They’ve heard from betrayed regulation agency workers, heartbroken pals of Murdaugh and his household, and a person whose insurance coverage settlement was stolen after his mom, the Murdaughs’ housekeeper, died in a fall at their residence.
However witnesses have been known as in disorganized teams and tantalizing scraps of proof have been launched however not defined. The protection hopes to begin its case in center of subsequent week and had deliberate per week of testimony however is rethinking that due to the trial’s size.
Listed below are some key takeaways from the trial thus far.
Murdaugh, 54, is charged with homicide within the deaths of 52-year-old Maggie, shot a number of occasions with a rifle, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, shot twice with a shotgun at kennels close to their Colleton County residence on June 7, 2021. He faces 30 years to life in jail if convicted.
The disbarred lawyer additionally faces about 100 other charges starting from stealing cash from purchasers to working a drug and cash laundering ring.
A lot of the week’s testimony targeted on whether or not Murdaugh stole cash from his household’s regulation agency and purchasers. Prosecutors contend Murdaugh thought he was about to get caught stealing and killed his spouse and son to purchase time to cowl up the cash path.
The workplace supervisor from the household regulation agency mentioned Murdaugh stole tens of millions in charges and consumer settlements. A regulation faculty buddy mentioned Murdaugh took advantage of his trust and left him to pay $192,000 to maintain his consumer belief fund balanced. The son of the Murdaughs’ housekeeper and nanny who died in a fall testified Murdaugh promised to get them a hefty insurance coverage settlement for the demise however saved more than $4 million collected for himself.
The protection objected to every witness, saying there was no proof linking the killings to monetary misdeeds.
“That is piling on. That is extra making an attempt to prejudice the jury into believing someway somebody who steals a bunch of cash in any means no matter would commit a homicide,” Murdaugh lawyer Dick Harpootlian mentioned.
Prosecutors have known as 47 witnesses in 12 days of testimony, however at occasions there was little rhythm to the order.
This week, the caretaker of Murdaugh’s mom testified a couple of blue jacket Murdaugh may need held when he visited however then different witnesses testified about monetary crimes earlier than the state forensic scientist who examined the jacket for blood and gunshot residue took the stand.
Lengthy, tedious testimony has targeted on cellphone knowledge between Paul Murdaugh’s pals.
Some intriguing proof has been launched however by no means defined to jurors, who would not have notebooks to maintain observe of testimony.
Against the law scene technician put into proof a receipt with a $1,021.10 merchandise from Gucci circled, nevertheless it hasn’t been introduced up since. An FBI technician gave the occasions Murdaugh’s SUV was shifted into and out of park the evening of the killings with out interpretation.
A courtroom digital camera is educated on Alex Murdaugh each second he’s in court docket. A number of cameras look forward to him as he will get out and in of a jail van every day.
At the start of the trial, Murdaugh cried and rocked in his chair a number of occasions as crime scene photos of his spouse and son have been proven and described. Prosecutors and protection have mentioned the aftermath of the capturing was ugly. Brokers testified Paul Murdaugh’s mind was indifferent from his cranium with a detailed vary shotgun blast.
Murdaugh has adamantly denied killing his spouse and son. His attorneys mentioned he was visiting his ailing mom the evening of the murders and police wrongly targeted on him from the beginning.
Murdaugh cried Thursday because the protection confirmed video of a household celebration weeks earlier than the killings.
However throughout the monetary crimes testimony, Murdaugh has been way more stoic, listening and infrequently chatting with his attorneys.
Inside weeks of the killings, state brokers needed knowledge from the SUV Alex Murdaugh drove to go to his mom the evening of the killings and from Paul Murdaugh’s cellphone.
However each gadgets have been encrypted and unattainable to crack in 2021.
Developments in hacking allowed brokers to get into Paul Murdaugh’s iPhone knowledge final 12 months they usually discovered one of many key items of proof thus far — a video he took of a canine on the household’s kennels about 5 minutes earlier than investigators mentioned the killings occurred. A number of witnesses have mentioned all three Murdaughs could be heard within the video taken close to the place the our bodies have been discovered.
Alex Murdaugh instructed police each proper after the our bodies have been discovered and once more a number of days later he was by no means on the kennels.
A FBI agent testified he labored for a 12 months to crack the encrypted knowledge from the pc leisure and data console on the SUV the household regulation agency offered Murdaugh.
Together with different info, he extracted the occasions the automobile was shifted into and out of park, though he could not inform if the automobile was in movement or somebody had their foot on the brake. The agent mentioned he additionally might inform when the home windows have been raised or lowered, however by no means mentioned if that occurred throughout Murdaugh’s 20-minute trip to his mom’s residence the evening of the killings.
Maggie Murdaugh’s cellphone was recovered from the aspect of a street the day after the killings.