On the heels of their bombshell motion on Friday alleging the involvement of a new suspect in the savage double homicide at the heart of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga, attorneys for disbarred attorney/ accused killer Alex Murdaugh filed another motion on Monday afternoon.
This document retains the offensive – demanding state prosecutors turn over any number of discovery items allegedly omitted in the original transfer of state’s evidence last month.
Murdaugh, 54, has been charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possessing a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the June 7, 2021 shootings of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh.
Paul Murdaugh was hit by a pair of shotgun blasts on that fateful evening – one to the head, the other to the arm and chest. Maggie Murdaugh was killed by multiple shots from a semi-automatic rifle at or around the time her son was killed. At least two of Maggie Murdaugh’s gunshot wounds were reportedly inflicted as she was laying wounded on the ground – consistent with initial reports we received of “execution-style” slayings.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to those charges and is scheduled to stand trial beginning on January 23, 2023.
Murdaugh’s lawyers – state senator Dick Harpootlian and Columbia, S.C. attorney Jim Griffin – submitted an explosive filing last Friday (October 14, 2022) claiming Curtis “Eddie” Smith, Murdaugh’s alleged drug dealer/ check casher, failed a polygraph examination administered by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) five months ago.
The exam in question asked Smith whether he had anything to do with (or knew anything about) the double homicide at the heart of this Southern gothic drama – which has led to the downfall of one of the Palmetto State’s most prominent legal dynasties.
Deception was indicated in his responses to multiple questions about the double homicide – which is just one part of a multi-layered, multi-faceted maze of alleged criminality revolving around Murdaugh, his influential family, the powerful law firm it founded and their institutional allies.
In their latest motion (.pdf), Harpootlian and Griffin want prosecutors in the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson to provide them with a host of materials.
Here is the complete list of items sought by Murdaugh’s lawyers …
- Any and all testing results of Paul and Maggie’s clothing, including DNA, GSR (gunshot residue).
FROM FILING: “Failure to conduct any DNA analysis of Paul or Maggie’s clothing would be convincing evidence that the state’s investigation has only been solely focused on (Murdaugh) since the night of the murders.”
- GSR testing lab results and bench notes, providing the specific number of particles removed from (Murdaugh’s) shirt, shorts and hands.
FROM FILING: “The amount of GSR found on (Murdaugh) is consistent with transfer particles from a shotgun that (he) retrieved while he was waiting for emergency personnel to arrive at the scene … (Murdaugh) has requested the specific laboratory analysis document the specific particles found on (his) clothing and person. This information is necessary so that the defendant’s expert can assess whether the amount of GSR found on (Murdaugh) and his clothing is inconsistent with the state’s theory that (he) shot his son Paul at close range with a shotgun.”
- Cell phone forensic analysis.
FROM FILING: “The state intends to rely upon its analysis of various artifacts within Maggie and Paul’s phones as evidence of time of death. However, the state has not produced any such analysis and when questioned about the existence of such analysis … indicates that no final report has been issued.”
- Complete autopsy file.
FROM FILING: “The state does not have the pathologist’s handwritten notes and diagrams which are commonly made during the course of an autopsy of shooting victims.”
- Documents and information relating to the state’s retained crime scene expert.
FROM FILING: Defense seeks March 22, 2022 draft of crime scene expert’s report “and all other drafts which have not been produced” as well as “photographs of the forensic mannequins used by the state’s retained expert” and “all emails between SLED and the state’s retained crime scene expert.”
- Documents and information relating to blood stain analysis performed or requested to be performed by all experts with whom the state consulted.
FROM FILING: “This includes any report, letters, notes, diagrams, photographs, computer reconstruction, demonstrative aid, or other items prepared or produced by or for such expert.”
- Photos of Maggie’s phone.
FROM FILING: “These are photos of the phone when they found it on the side of the road.”
- All SLED Lab bench notes relating to all forensic analysis conducted in this investigation.
FROM FILING: “The state has not produced bench notes and underlying data for the GSR report, fingerprint analysis or shoe and tire print analyses.”
- Copies of any and all jail phone calls made by (Murdaugh) which the state intends to offer into evidence at trial.
FROM FILING: “The state has not notified the defense if it intends to offer any of these calls into evidence.”
- Polygraph stim test and chart recordings for all polygraphs conducted in this investigation.
FROM FILING: “Defendant requests underlying test data so that his expert witness can assess whether the charts indicate deception and, as to Curtis Smith, assess the degree of deception that is indicated.”
- Audio and video recordings of Curtis Eddie Smith’s interviews.
FROM FILING: “There are at least two audio and video recordings of interviews with Eddie Smith that have not been produced: September 7, 2021 and September 14, 2021. Defense counsel is informed and believed that Smith makes statements about his involvement in the roadside shooting that are inconsistent with later statements.”
- Return for Google search warrant 105.
FROM FILING: “The state has produced a copy of a search warrant issued to Google in September 2022, approximately one month after (Murdaugh) was indicted. This search warrant seeks geofencing data from the Mozelle (sic) property and a nearby tract of land. However, (Murdaugh) has not been provided a return to this warrant, nor has (he) been provided any data produced by Google in response to this warrant.”
- SLED interoffice emails.
FROM FILING: “There are numerous references to interoffice emails in SLED’s case notes. The state is required to either produce these emails to the defense or the attorney general’s office should review these emails and produce Brady material to the defense.”
- Colleton County Sheriff’s Department and Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s files, including electronically stored information.
FROM FILING: “The defense has not been provided case notes and other investigative material from the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office or Colleton County Sheriff’s Department, other than (body-worn camera) recordings and photographs.”
- Body-worn camera recordings from interviews with Debbie McMillan and Grant Candor.
Wilson’s spokesman, Robert Kittle, said Monday afternoon that prosecutors would comply with all of their obligations under the law.
“We have provided more than three-quarters of a terabyte of information to the defense and we will provide all Brady material,” Kittle said.
“Brady material” refers to a famous U.S. supreme court case from 1963 – Brady v. Maryland – which established the right of defendants to receive all exculpatory evidence (i.e. evidence which might exonerate them) in possession of prosecutors prior to them standing trial.
Kittle added the state was preparing a more formal response to the motions from Harpootlian and Griffin – a document which he said should be filed with the Colleton County clerk of court sometime on Tuesday (October 18, 2022).
This is a developing story … please check back for updated information.
THE MOTION …2022-10-17-Motion-to-Compel-II
(Via: S.C. Fourteenth Judicial Circuit)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has many hats – including that Chicago Blackhawks’ lid pictured above.
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