Alex Murdaugh testifies at his murder trial: NPR

Alex Murdaugh is testifying during his murder trial at Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, SC He is seen here on Tuesday, listening to his defense attorneys Phillip Barber , left, and Dick Harpootlian.

Jeff Blake/AP

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Jeff Blake/AP

Alex Murdaugh is testifying during his murder trial at Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, SC He is seen here on Tuesday, listening to his defense attorneys Phillip Barber , left, and Dick Harpootlian.

Jeff Blake/AP

“Be careful” – Alex Murdaugh heard those words from a court employee as he entered the witness stand on Thursday, making the extraordinary move of testifying on his own behalf in a trial. handle two murders.

Alex Murdaugh is testifying in his own defense in a murder trial in which he is accused of carrying out an execution for the murder of his wife and son in June 2021.


“Good morning,” Murdaugh greeted the court as he began his testimony.

‘I didn’t shoot my wife or son’

The first questions from defense attorney Jim Griffin focused on the 2021 murders, when Griffin repeatedly asked Murdaugh if he had taken a rifle or a shotgun and shot his wife and son or not.

“No, I don’t,” Murdaugh replied.

He echoed that answer when Griffin asked Murdaugh: Did you “blow your son’s brain?”

“I’ve never shot my wife or son. Never,” Murdaugh said.

Murdaugh also admitted that he lied to investigators about his alibi – he has repeatedly said he didn’t see his wife and son after they dined at Moselle, his hunting ground Surname. In his version of events, he says he naps in the house while Paul and Maggie visit the dog kennels.

But several witnesses identified Alex Murdaugh’s voice in a video taken by Paul at the crib, minutes before investigators said the execution began.

“I lied to them,” Murdaugh said of the account he told at least three law enforcement officials.

When asked by Griffin why he lied, Murdaugh blamed his addiction to opiates.

“As my addiction developed over time, he had severe episodes of paranoia,” says Murdaugh. He said he was worried when a deputy sheriff wiped his hands, and investigators asked him about his relationship with his wife and son, “along with my distrust trust in SLED” – South Carolina Law Enforcement.

“On June 7, I wasn’t thinking clearly,” Murdaugh said. “I don’t think I have the ability to reason… and I lied about being down there. And I’m sorry I did.”

“I would never knowingly do anything to hurt one of them,” Murdaugh said as he cried openly.

Griffin asked if he had lied more than once, and Murdaugh said, “Once I have lied, I will continue to lie, yes sir.” Then he added, “I have to keep lying.”

Murdaugh says he bathed in Moselle

Murdaugh spoke passionately of his wife and son, repeatedly calling them Mags and Paul-Paul when recounting their last days together.

He also talked about another aspect of the case that raised many questions: his change of clothes and the apparent use of the shower in Moselle.

Murdaugh said he and Paul drove around the property, checking out the farming in the fields they used to hunt pigeons. He said he sweated when he went to work – adding that he was heavier at the time and said taking opium also made him sweat more.

Murdaugh said he showered after returning home, and that’s why, he said, he changed into clean clothes and reluctantly went down to the dog kennel with Paul and Maggie. He lay on the couch, he said, but then he chose to follow them, catching a golf cart down to the crib.

The murder trial took place many times

This is the latest dramatic change in a case that has drawn attention because of the Murdaugh family’s status as a wealthy and famous family — and also because the 2021 murder was motivated by two Another act of violence: a deadly boating accident involving Paul and Alex’s alleged plot to have his cousin kill him in an apparently failed suicide.

The trial was originally slated to end around February 10, but it went well beyond that, as lawyers presented the jury with a slew of evidence, including testimony about millions of dollars. which Murdaugh was accused of stealing from his former law firm and its clients, his drug addiction and the roadside shooting that Murdaugh initially described as an attempt to take aim at his life .

In a key ruling, Judge Clifton Newman in early February decided to allow prosecutors to present their account of Murdaugh’s alleged financial wrongs, saying the defense had “opened the door” door” to that aspect of the case by asking witnesses about Murdaugh’s personality — and whether or not they knew. about any potential motive he might have to kill his own wife and son.

As they considered having their client testify, Murdaugh’s defense team asked Newman about possible limits to the questions the prosecution could ask him – hopefully limiting the subject to financial allegations. But the judge refused to place such limits on cross-examination.


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