Alex Murdaugh was brought down by damning evidence including a video which placed him at the scene minutes before the murders, a ‘confession’ to cops and a disastrous appearance on the stand.
The disgraced legal scion, 54, was Thursday night found guilty of shooting dead his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, at the family’s 1,800-acre hunting estate in Moselle in South Carolina’s Lowcountry on June 7, 2021.
At the center of the State’s case was a video taken by Murdaugh’s son at the kennels just moments before he was shot dead along with his mother. It proved the disbarred attorney’s undoing, he told cops he was never at the crime scene, but last week took the stand to claim he was only lying because his drug addiction made him paranoid.
Murdaugh desperately changed his alibi to fit the damning evidence, claiming he went down to the kennels only briefly before going back up to the main house and then drove out to visit his ailing mother. But his wife and son were already dead.
In six weeks of harrowing testimony, the State landed major blows with video appearing to show a confession when Murdaugh said ‘I did him so bad’ just three days after the murders.
Prosecutors outlined a clear motivation for the killings which they said were carried out to distract from his financial crimes and a ruinous lawsuit over his son’s fatal boat wreck two years earlier.
Alex Murdaugh broke down in tears as the prosecutor ended his explosive grilling with proof that the alleged double murderer lied to cops about his alibi
Buster, Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh are pictured in a photo presented to jurors during the trial at Colleton County court on Tuesday, February 14
Here DailyMail.com looks back a the six biggest triumphs for the prosecution…
LYING ABOUT BEING AT THE MURDER SCENE
Perhaps the most significant piece of evidence is a video taken by Paul at 8.45pm in which multiple witnesses, including close family friends and relatives, told jurors they can hear Murdaugh’s voice in the background.
The State said Paul and Maggie were shot dead shortly after 8.49pm when their ‘phones locked forever’ within seconds of each other.
The video of a dog’s tail was taken by the 22-year-old for his close friend, Rogan Gibson, whose Labrador was staying at Moselle.
Gibson told jurors he was 100% positive he could hear Paul, Maggie and Alex in the footage. Multiple witnesses, including close family friends and the Murdaughs’ housekeeper, later said the same.
Murdaugh had denied ever going down to the kennels after he Maggie and Paul shared dinner together. He told cops that night and in subsequent interviews that he only arrived there shortly after 10pm to find his wife and son dead.
Alex Murdaugh was asked point blank if he killed Maggie and Paul in a third interview with cops on August 11, 2021, two months after the murders. During that grilling, the cops also put to him issues with his alibi, including the time he says he spent at his mother’s house and a claim from a witness that he was at the crime scene
But the killer took the stand last week in a highly unusual move for a murder trial defendant to alter his story.
In what Prosecutor Creighton Waters termed the ‘new story,’ Murdaugh told jurors that he actually had been at the kennels.
He claimed he had lied to cops because his opioid addiction made him paranoid of law enforcement personnel, despite regularly coming into contact with them in his work as a lawyer.
Murdaugh said that he went down to the kennels only briefly and was headed back to the main house about a minute after Paul took the video.
He said he sat down to watch TV and had a short nap before heading to his mother’s house in Almeda, around 15 minutes away.
Police only obtained the video proving Murdaugh was at the scene months after the killings when they managed to unlock Paul’s phone.
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. Dr. Ellen Riemer described how Paul’s brain was blown out the back of his head by a shotgun and that the organ arrived at the morgue ‘in a separate bucket’
But in his third police interview in August 2021 he was confronted over his presence at the kennels after Paul’s friend Gibson said he heard Murdaugh in the background during a phone call.
Murdaugh confirmed that Gibson had already ‘asked me if I was up there, he said he thought it was me.’
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Agent Owen asked why Gibson thought that. Murdaugh said he had ‘no idea.’
Owen asked if he was at the kennels around 9pm.
‘No sir, not if my times were right,’ Murdaugh said.
Owen asked, ‘Then who could it be?’
The alleged killer replied: ‘I have no idea.’
‘OH WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE’: MURDAUGH’S DISASTROUS LEGAL HAIL MARY TO TAKE THE STAND
Murdaugh made the sensational decision to take the stand in his own defense last week.
He wept as he described finding his son Paul’s brains strewn across the feed room at the kennels and Maggie’s bullet-riddled lifeless body on the grass by the doghouse.
The defense sought to portray him as a devastated family man who was ‘broken’ by the loss of his wife and child.
Murdaugh even floated his own theory of who he thought killed ‘Mags’ and ‘PawPaw’.
He said vigilantes had threatened and attacked his son after his drunken boat crash in which a 19-year-old girl was killed in February 2019.
But the move to testify opened up the flood gates for the State to grill him about a decade of financial crimes against clients and partners at his law firm.
Alex Murdaugh broke down in tears as the prosecutor ended his explosive grilling with proof that the alleged double murderer lied to cops about his alibi
Crusading Creighton Waters barracks Murdaugh during cross examination Thursday
In hours of grueling cross examination, the legal scion was painted as ‘a master liar’ who was able to deceive everyone around him.
‘Nobody knew who this man was,’ prosecutor Creighton Waters told the court. ‘He’s fooled them all and he fooled Maggie and Paul too and they paid for it with their lives.’
Waters reeled off dozens of victims of Murdaugh’s financial crimes, including clients and staff at his firm, asking if the alleged killer lied to each individual.
Murdaugh squirmed on the stand, at times admitting his lies, at other points claiming his memory was hazy before conceding: ‘I would have at some point I am sure.’
Waters then skewered him, saying: ‘And you want this jury to believe a story manufactured to fit the evidence that you brought forth just yesterday after hearing this trial’s whole testimony?’
Murdaugh replied: ‘No sir, that’s not correct.’
It came after Murdaugh outlined a new narrative after the jury saw video which proved he was with his wife and son at the kennels at 8.45pm – around five minutes before the State says they were killed.
Describing why he lied to cops, Murdaugh told jurors: ‘I don’t think I was capable of reason and I lied about being down there and I am so sorry that I did. I am sorry to my son Buster, I am sorry to Grandpa, Papa T (Maggie’s father) … most of all I am sorry to Mags and PawPaw.’
Murdaugh said: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave. Once I told a lie, and I told my family, I had to keep lying.’
Buster, 26, hunched over with his hand over his face as he listened to his father describing how he found his younger brother Paul with his brains spattered across the walls of the kennels at the family’s hunting estate in Moselle, SC, on June 7, 2021
John Marvin Murdaugh, brother of Alex Murdaugh, listens to testimony during his brother’s double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse
Murdaugh said he lied to cops that night and in later interviews because his opioid addiction made him paranoid.
But the disgraced legal scion claimed that ‘other than lying about going to the kennel, I was cooperative about every aspect of this investigation.’
Waters hit back: ‘Very cooperative except for the most important fact of all – that you were with the victims just moments before they died.’
The prosecutor said he drove to his mother’s home in Almeda, around 15 minutes away, in order to ‘manufacture an alibi.’
Murdaugh told jurors: ‘I never manufactured an alibi in any way shape or form because I would not and did not harm my wife and child.’
COVERING UP HIS FINANCIAL CRIMES
Prosecutors said that Murdaugh killed Maggie and Paul because his life was spiraling out of control, he had embezzled more than $10m in the decade before their deaths.
He was ‘out of options and out of time,’ prosecutor Waters said.
The defense had tried to block the evidence arguing that there was ‘no logical connection’ between the murders and Murdaugh’s financial crimes.
But following a lengthy battle between the opposing legal sides lasting several days, Judge Clifton Newman ruled that the evidence was important for jurors to understand the full context surrounding the killings.
On the day of the murders, Murdaugh was confronted at his office over stealing $792,000 from his legal firm.
Later that week he was due in court for a hearing in a civil suit over a boat crash in which his son Paul was driving under the influence, killing 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Alex Murdaugh, center, listens to a recording of himself retelling how he was shot in a bizarre roadside incident in Sept. 2021, during his double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse
Murdaugh claimed that he was broke to lawyers for Beach’s family.
Maggie had recently confided in the housekeeper that they were being sued for $30m.
Murdaugh – a chronic opioid addict – would go on to arrange for his drug dealer cousin to shoot him in the head three months later in a botched life insurance fraud scheme.
The defense had battled to keep this evidence from the jury arguing that ‘there is no logical connection and it does not lead to evidence of motive’.
Evidence relating to the botched suicide attempt was originally excluded because the judge said it risked confusing jurors.
However, in the final days of the prosecution laying out its case, the defense gifted them another win when Murdaugh’s defense team questioned a cop over whether he was aware that the legal scion was paying up to $60,000 a week to his drug dealer Cousin Eddie.
Curtis ‘Cousin Eddie’ Smith was the ‘hitman’ who shot Murdaugh in the head on a rural Hampton County road on September 4, three months after the murders.
At the time of Maggie and Paul’s deaths , Murdaugh and his son were facing a civil suit over the boat wreck that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach in February, 2019. Murdaugh told cops Paul and Maggie had been killed in revenge for the accident
The defense theory is that somebody else killed Murdaugh’s wife and son in revenge for a boat crash (the Murdaugh boat Sea Hunt is pictured) during which Paul had been driving under the influence, killing a 19-year-old woman, in February 2019
Murdaugh survived with a surface wound and initially told police he had got a flat tire and someone stopped to offer help before shooting him. He later admitted to cops the scheme was designed to net a $10million life insurance payout for his surviving son Buster.
Defense attorney Griffin suggested to SLED investigator David Owen that Smith had been buying drugs from the Cowboy drug gang and skimming Murdaugh’s money off the top.
The defense attorney insinuated one of the Cowboys could be a suspect in Paul and Maggie’s murders, and asked why their cell phones and DNA were never evaluated.
Judge Newman ruled on the side of the State that this had ‘opened the door’ for the prosecution to put the September shooting before the jury.
The prosecution case was extended by another two days as the bizarre roadside shooting incident was introduced to jurors.
Murdaugh later told authorities he hired Curtis ‘Eddie’ Smith, 61,(pictured) to shoot him. But the 911 call reveals he had initially described his alleged shooter as a ‘younger’, ‘white fella’ with ‘really, really short hair’
In a call with police from a rehab facility in Atlanta, Georgia, Murdaugh confessed to the elaborate scheme, even desperately apologizing to cops for lying, claiming he had been ‘in a very bad place.’
Murdaugh said he was in the grips of a 20-year opioid addiction and had been paying Smith up to $60,000 a week for pills, including oxycodone.
‘When withdrawals begin, you’ll do just about anything to make ’em quit,’ he told the cops.
He said that on the day of the shooting he had earlier met with longtime friend and colleague Chris Wilson to discuss ‘everything I had done … Finances, pills, lies.’
Prosecutors argue that there was a ‘symmetry’ between the murders of Maggie and Paul and the roadside shooting – two acts of violence which centered around money.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters argued: ‘When the hounds are at the door, when Hannibal’s at the gate for Alex Murdaugh, violence happens.’
MAGGIE AND PAUL WERE LURED TO THE HUNTING LODGE
Maggie’s sister Marian Proctor and the Murdaughs’ housekeeper Blanca Simpson both testified that Maggie did not want to be at Moselle.
Murdaugh claimed in his third police interview in August that Maggie ‘was worried about me and me worrying about my Dad, and so she came home.’
The legal scion’s father, Randolph III, was sick at the time. He died three days after Maggie and Paul’s murders.
However, Marian Proctor, Maggie’s older sister, told jurors that she chatted to her while she was driving at around 4pm on the day of the killings.
Maggie told her sister that Alex ‘needed her to come home’ to Moselle because of his father’s ailing health.
Proctor testified that Maggie preferred staying at the Edisto Beach house because she felt that the local community had turned against the family following Paul’s drunken boat crash in February, 2019, that left 19-year-old Mallory Beach dead.
Simpson, the housekeeper, said Maggie was disappointed to be at Moselle because she had been planning a 4th of July party at the beach house and was overseeing renovations at the property.
Maggie told Simpson in text messages that ‘Alex wants me to come home.’
Marian Proctor told the court Tuesday that Murdaugh did not seem scared that the murderers could still be out there and seemed more intent on ‘clearing his son’s name’ following a drunken boat crash two years before.
Maggie Murdaugh and her older sister Marian Proctor in an undated photo from a wedding
The family’s housekeeper Blanca Simpson testified Alex told her to go to the house and clean up the day after Maggie and Paul were killed at the kennels on the estate in Moselle, South Carolina, on June 7, 2021
Marian Proctor (right) reaches out to hug her nephew Buster Murdaugh after she testified in his father Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial on Tuesday, February 14
Simpson corroborated Proctor’s evidence, testifying that Maggie did not especially like being at Moselle and preferred to stay at Edisto Beach.
‘She kind of sounded like she didn’t want to come home because she really liked being in Edisto because they had a lot of work going on,’ Simpson told jurors.
This is critical evidence for prosecutors who have claimed Murdaugh lured Maggie and Paul to the hunting lodge before executing them.
CHANGING CLOTHES THE NIGHT OF THE BLOODY SHOOTINGS
At some point on the night of the murders, Murdaugh changes his clothes.
A Snapchat video taken by Paul at 7.56pm shows Murdaugh wearing a blue polo shirt, khaki pants and brown loafers.
When cops arrived he was wearing a clean white t-shirt, shorts and sneakers.
The Murdaughs’ housekeeper Blanca Simpson testified that she never saw the shirt or shoes he was wearing ever again. She found his pants by a puddle on the bathroom floor the following day.
Simpson also told how Murdaugh came to her two months after the killings in an agitated state and tried to convince her to tell cops he was wearing different clothes that night.
Murdaugh was wearing a blue shirt, khaki pants and brown shoes on the night of the murders according to a Snapchat sent by Paul at 7.46pm
Murdaugh was wearing a white t-shirt and shorts when cops arrived and appeared clean
The housekeeper said that in August, two months after the murders, Murdaugh visited her home in Hampton and appeared agitated, mentioning a video of him.
‘I’ve got a bad feeling about this,’ she said he told her.
He asked her whether she remembered the ‘Vinny Vines’ (Vineyard Vines) shirt he was wearing on the day of the murders.
‘I didn’t say anything, but I was kind of thrown back because I didn’t remember that,’ she told the court.
‘I don’t know what he was trying to get me to say – if I was to be asked – that was the shirt he was wearing,’ Simpson added.
In his third interview with cops in August, SLED investigator David Owens asked Murdaugh about the video, showing him in different clothes that night.
‘At what point in that evening did you change clothes?’ Owen asked.
The legal scion replied: ‘I’m not sure, it would have been – what time of day was that? I would’ve thought I would have already changed.
‘I guess I changed when I got back to the house.’
‘I DID HIM SO BAD’: COP SAYS MURDAUGH CONFESSED
A cop claimed Murdaugh said, ‘I did so him bad’, during a recorded interview three days after his son’s brains were blown out.
Murdaugh shook his head in court as the video was played, mouthing to his attorneys, ‘I did not say that.’
Jurors heard detectives questioning Murdaugh about the ‘traumatic picture’ he encountered upon finding Maggie and Paul lying dead at the kennels.
‘It’s just so bad, I did him so bad,’ Murdaugh says through sobs during the interview.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters paused the video to ask special agent Jeff Croft to clarify what Murdaugh said. Croft repeated: ‘It’s just so bad, I did him so bad.’
But Murdaugh shook his head defiantly in court as he reacted to Croft’s interpretation of the audio and appeared to tell his lawyers: ‘I did not say that.’
Detectives at the time did not seize on the alleged admission as Murdaugh continued to tell them of Paul: ‘He was such a good boy too’.
The defense later played the recording to Murdaugh’s brother John Marvin who testified that he could hear him saying, ‘They did him so bad.’
John Marvin said his older brother said the same thing to him that night and continued making the statement afterwards.
In a desperate bid to convince jurors, the defense even played the recording at a third of the speed to claim he was clearly saying ‘they’ not ‘I.’
TIMELINE: NIGHT OF THE KILLINGS
Alex Murdaugh, 54, is accused of shooting his wife, Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, at the family’s hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of June 7, 2021.
Here are the key events in the timeline laid out by prosecutors:
At 7.56pm, Paul sent a Snapchat video to friends showing the 22-year-old riding around the estate with his father.
At 8.15pm, Murdaugh’s wife Maggie arrived home and the trio ate dinner together. Autopsies showed similar stomach contents in Maggie and Paul.
About 8.30pm, Paul’s phone starts moving towards the kennels.
Then at 8.45pm, a second video taken by Paul at the kennels – soon to become a murder scene – allegedly proves that Maggie, Paul and Alex were together.
At 8.49pm the prosecution say Paul’s phone locked and went silent forever, never to send another text or make another call. This is when they say the pair were killed.
At 9.06pm, Murdaugh’s car is fired up.
The alleged killer said he went to go visit his mother, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in Almeda – around a 15-minute drive.
At 10.06pm, Murdaugh called 911 claiming he had arrived home a to find his wife and son shot dead.