WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – After weeks of testimony and more than 70 witnesses called, a jury has returned a guilty verdict in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial.
The jury told the Colleton County Clerk of Court that they had a verdict at 6:41 p.m.
Murdaugh, a once prominent South Carolina attorney, has been standing trial on murder charges in the brutal shootings of his wife Margaret and youngest son Paul at their family’s Colleton County property on the night of June 7, 2021.
Murdaugh was indicted on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime on July 14, 2022 – nearly a year after the killings. The indictments came amid a flurry of charges by the state on financial and other crimes.
Despite the indictments, Murdaugh has long maintained his innocence in the deaths of his wife and son and said that he looked forward to clearing his name and hoped the Attorney General would then begin “looking for the actual killer or killers” in the case.
Murdaugh would later become a “star witness” during the trial in hopes of further proving his innocence and delivering testimony as part of his defense.
During portions of his direct examination, Murdaugh could hardly hold himself together. He sobbed as he described his love for “Mags and Pawpaw” as he called them. He also became extremely emotional when describing the gruesome scene on the night of the murders.
Murdaugh came clean early in the testimony about being at the kennels around 8:44 p.m. the night of the murders, despite initially telling law enforcement that he was not there. He said it was his voice on the video Paul took and that he lied because he was paranoid.
State prosecutor Creighton Waters took aim at Murdaugh’s credibility any chance he got during cross-examination.
Waters consistently pointed out that Murdaugh has lied to everyone, including the people he loves, for decades. Waters asked Murdaugh why the jury should believe him when he says he didn’t kill Maggie and Paul, especially since he lied about being at the scene just minutes before Maggie and Paul are believed to have been murdered.
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Other key moments during the trial included a bomb threat which prompted an evacuation of the Colleton County Courthouse early in the trial. Jurors also heard testimony from his eldest son, Buster, and the former attorney’s brother, John Marvin, cried as he recalled cleaning up his nephew’s remains from the walls and floor of the feed room.
Marvin said that as he cleaned, he spoke to Paul and promised that he would find whoever was responsible. He said as of now, he has not fulfilled that promise.
Members of the jury were taken out to the Murdaugh’s property to view the dog kennels, feed room, and the family’s house prior to the state and defense resting their case.
Several members of the jury were also dismissed at times during the trial – either due to health issues like a COVID-19 diagnosis or a juror who Judge Clifton Newman said had inappropriate contact with at least three individuals and offered her opinion on evidence that has been presented in the case.
Sentencing will take place Friday morning.