Prosecutors work to establish case against Alex Murdaugh as defense focuses on motive and procedure


Murdaugh, scion of a powerful South Carolina legal family. Is accused of murdering his wife. And son in their rural South Carolina home.
During the first three days of Alex Murdoff’s trial. Prosecutors called law enforcement officers and forensic experts. Who responded to the murder scene to the stand to establish the essentials of the murder case.

The defense, in turn, focused on a thinly established motive. 

During cross-examination, defense attorney Dick Harputlian raised concerns about preserving the crime scene.

Prosecutors work to establish case against Alex Murdaugh as defense focuses on motive and procedure

“Should the police walk through the scene?” Harputlian asked State Law Enforcement Special Agent Melinda Worley.

“No,” Worley said.

Harputlian also questioned why the forensics team failed. To find a shoe match for Maggie Murdoff’s calf prints. Because it did not follow agency procedures for documenting footprints. Worley, in response, testified that there were some prints that he did not notice while on the scene.

“If I had realized there were shoes in the scene, I would have documented it properly,” Worley said. And their son Paul Murdaugh, 22, on the property of their rural home. Moselle, about 65 miles west of Charleston. Police responded after Murdaugh called 911 late on June 7, 2021.

Murdaugh, an attorney, is the scion of a powerful South Carolina legal family. He maintains his innocence in the murders. And many financial crimes that prosecutors allege may be related.

As key witnesses have so far focused on the guns used. And evidence gathered from the crime scene, the descriptions given. To the jury through the first three days were particularly gruesome. Paul and Maggie Murdoff, witnesses noted. Were shot many times before they were finally shot in the head. Paul with a shotgun and Maggie with an AR-style rifle.

Colleton County Sheriff’s Sergeant Daniel Green was the first law enforcement officer. To arrive at the scene and the first witness called to the stand. He said Thursday that he saw Murdoff upset and anxious but that he was not crying when he was interviewed. Murdaugh quickly shared his alibi. And theories within seconds of meeting the officer, as seen on body camera video. Murdoff clarified that he had gone to visit his mother. And suggested that Paul might have been killed. because he had been involved in a boating accident. Murduff repeatedly asked if his wife and son were dead. Even though there was a lot of blood and exposed brain matter.

“Any reasonable person who saw these. Bodies would have come to the conclusion that they were dead,” Green said.

The parties have squared around the goal issue. The defense emphasized how close Murdoff was to his wife and son. While prosecutors noted that he reacted to the death in a strange way.

An investigator testified Friday that Murdoff’s hands. And clothes were clean, though he said he tried to turn Paul’s body to check for a pulse.

The defense, yet, portrayed Murdoff’s clean appearance as proof of his innocence. “Was he like someone who blew his son’s head off?” Jim Griffin, his second defense attorney, asked Friday.

“Again, I can’t say for sure. Some things will come into play to influence this – distance being one of them.” Replied detective Laura Rutland.

Murduff rocked back and forth in his chair. Or shook his head vigorously as prosecutors played his 911 call. And showed photos of the bloody crime scene and police bodycam video. At various points, he cried with a tissue or wiped his eyes.

On the first day of the trial, Alex Murdoff mouthed “Are you okay?” to Buster, who nodded in reply.

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