As defense attorneys for accused killer/ disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh continue to poke holes in the case against their client, graphic new details are emerging from the crime scene Murdaugh is accused of creating … as well as additional details regarding the moment his original alibi in this double homicide began to fall apart.
The double homicide Murdaugh stands accused of committing lies at the very heart of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga. This still-unfolding Southern Gothic saga chronicles the fall of the “House of Murdaugh,” a powerful legal dynasty which ran the Palmetto State’s Lowcountry like its own fiefdom for more than a century.
To recap: Sometime after 8:44 p.m. EDT on June 7, 2021, state prosecutors say Murdaugh savagely dispatched his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, near the dog kennels on the family’s 1,700-acre hunting property – known locally as Moselle.
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(Via: FITSNews/ YouTube)
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 rounds from a semi-automatic rifle around the same time her son was killed. At least two of Maggie Murdaugh’s gunshot wounds were inflicted as she was lying wounded on the ground – consistent with initial reports we received of “execution-style” slayings.
Maggie Murdaugh’s body was found approximately thirty yards from the dog kennels where her son was murdered. Also found at the crime scene? Five spent .300 blackout cartridges and other ballistics evidence.
This evidence was logged by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), which along with the office of attorney general Alan Wilson is leading the double homicide inquiry and multiple other criminal investigations tied to Murdaugh.
Here is a look at where Maggie and Paul’s bodies were found on the property …
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(Via: Google Earth)
Jurors in this case will be presented with exceedingly graphic evidence, according to multiple sources who have been granted access to view the crime scene photos.
“His head exploded like a watermelon,” one source who has viewed the photos told me, referring to the head wound sustained by Paul Murdaugh. “I mean, you can see his face, but the rest of it – his head – it’s just gone. Totally empty.”
“They were picking pieces of his brain off the walls,” the source added.
“It’s bad,” a second source who viewed the images concurred. “Large portions of his head are missing.”
A third source who viewed the photographs confirmed “significant parts of (Paul)’s head are simply not there,” referring to the shotgun wound to his head and neck area.
“Much of his brain was just blasted out,” the source said.
These descriptions are consistent with a depiction of the crime scene provided by Murdaugh’s attorneys – state senator Dick Harpootlian and veteran Columbia, S.C. trial lawyer Jim Griffin. According to a recent filing, Paul Murdaugh’s blood and brain matter were “spattered all over the closet door, walls, and ceiling” of the feed room at the Moselle dog kennels. Harpootlian and Griffin’s filing also noted an investigatory file which referenced forty-eight (48) “birdshot pellets from the left shoulder and head of Paul.”
One item of interest in the crime scene photos that was not referenced by Harpootlian and Griffin?
Paul Murdaugh’s cell phone is reportedly visible in the photos of his body – placed on his buttocks as he is lying face down in the feed room. According to my sources, Alex Murdaugh acknowledged handling his late son’s phone in the immediate aftermath of discovering the bodies.
Murdaugh claimed the phone fell from his dead son’s pocket as he unsuccessfully attempted to roll Paul’s body over. According to his statement to law enforcement, Murdaugh picked up the phone and briefly handled it prior to placing it on Paul’s buttocks.
Murdaugh reportedly told investigators he realized the phone could be evidence connected to the murders and did not want to handle it any further. Murdaugh’s attorneys have insisted Paul’s phone was dead by the time SLED agents got to him – an interesting claim considering it was functioning at around 8:44 p.m. EDT when he recorded a short video that obliterated his father’s evolving alibi.
“Paul’s phone was dead, (its) battery was dead when SLED agents got to him,” Griffin said during an October court hearing.
Maggie Murdaugh’s phone – which was not dead – was located approximately a quarter of a mile down the road from the entrance to Moselle the following day. It was reportedly located by investigators thanks to the assistance of Murdaugh’s brother, John Marvin Murdaugh.
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(Via: Google Earth)
Monk’s report described a “short, cellphone video” of Alex, Paul and Maggie Murdaugh which was taken “right before Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were fatally shot.”
“There is talking, and it’s extremely playful and friendly,” a source claiming to have watched the video told Monk. “It sounds perfectly normal, like any happy family — mother, father and child — doing something together. They are spread out, it sounds like, and they are just talking back and forth.”
“They are talking about the different game birds out there,” Monk’s source continued. “I think one of the dogs was chasing or caught a chicken. There’s talk of that. You can hear a little bit of laughter.”
Monk noted the existence of this video was first reported by FITSNews back in June, but according to him our news outlet did not “characterize the contents other than to say it showed Murdaugh and Maggie talking by the dog kennels on the Moselle estate.”
That is accurate.
What, specifically, did the video depict? According to multiple sources who have viewed the nearly two-minute clip, the “convivial family” footage was filmed by Paul Murdaugh – who was sending it to a friend whose dog he was keeping in the kennels at Moselle. The dog – a chocolate Labrador retriever puppy belonging to Rogan Gibson – had an injured tail and Paul Murdaugh appears to have been trying to document its status for his childhood friend.
As I reported on September 28, 2021 – nearly four months after the murders – Rogan Gibson was one of the last people to speak with Paul Murdaugh prior to his death. Gibson’s name was included (albeit redacted) on a dispatch log released by SLED shortly after the killings.
It is not clear whether Gibson, 26, provided the video to SLED or whether it was recovered from Paul’s cell phone.
While Paul was filming his friend’s puppy, one of the Murdaugh hunting dogs – Bubba – began racing around the kennels with a chicken in its mouth. As the three family members – including Alex Murdaugh – called out for the dog by its name, Maggie Murdaugh speculated the animal in its mouth was a guinea, not a chicken.
She was quickly corrected on this point by both her husband and her son.
“It’s a chicken,” Alex told his wife.
“It’s a chicken, momma,” Paul confirmed.
Alex Murdaugh is not seen on the video, only heard. However, more than a dozen people – including Murdaugh’s own family members and former law partners – have confirmed to law enforcement that the voice on the footage belonged to him.
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(Via: FITSNews/ Will Folks)
According to my sources, Murdaugh (above) was confronted by SLED agents about his presence at the kennels during an interview conducted in August of 2021. Initially taken aback at the assertion, Murdaugh informed investigators they were wrong about this key point of information.
“No,” he told them.
Murdaugh later qualified his denial by saying there was no way he could have been at the kennels at the time the video was filmed “unless my timeline is wrong.”
In pretrial motions and hearings for Alex Murdaugh’s upcoming double homicide trial, lead state prosecutor Creighton Waters confirmed video evidence placed Alex, Maggie and Paul together at Moselle at 8:44 p.m. EDT. Waters further noted the state was prepared to show evidence indicating Alex Murdaugh left Moselle at 9:06 p.m. EDT to drive to his parents’ home in Almeda, S.C. – approximately twenty minutes away.
Right around the time Murdaugh departed for Almeda, both Maggie and Paul’s cell phones ceased “any meaningful activity” according to Waters. Colleton coroner Richard M. Harvey has also placed Paul Murdaugh’s time of death at 9:00 p.m. EDT, according to a certificate obtained by this news outlet. Maggie Murdaugh’s death certificate has not been released.
On his drive to Almeda, Alex Murdaugh called one of his longtime friends – Bamberg, S.C. attorney Chris Wilson – as well as his brother, John Marvin, his sister-in-law, Liz Murdaugh, and the caretaker of the Moselle property, C.B. Rowe.
Following his brief visit to Almeda – where a witness reportedly observed him “hiding evidence” – Murdaugh spoke with Wilson a second time en route back to Moselle. According to my sources, Wilson will testify that Murdaugh sounded completely normal during the two phone conversations he had with him that evening.
Readers will recall Wilson was referenced repeatedly during the recent federal trial of Russell Laffitte – the disgraced banker who was convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges related to his involvement in Murdaugh’s various financial schemes. Specifically, Laffitte approved a loan for Murdaugh so the latter could repay Wilson $350,000 he allegedly stole from him – money Murdaugh’s law firm was inquiring about.
In fact, we learned during the Laffitte trial that Murdaugh was confronted about these payments by the top financial officer at his law firm earlier that day. Russell Laffitte’s brother – Charles Laffitte III – also testified during the federal trial that Alex Murdaugh told him he was having trouble getting his wife to agree to an appraisal date for their jointly owned Edisto Beach, S.C. residence.
Maggie Murdaugh was living at this home in the months leading up to her murder, and owned a “one-half, undivided fee-simple interest” in the property, according to county tax records. As I previously noted, this could point to a possible motive for Murdaugh to kill his wife – whom sources have previously told this news outlet was “lured” to the family compound by her husband on the night of her murder.
At any rate, upon returning to Moselle at 10:07 p.m. EDT, Murdaugh placed his frantic 9-1-1 call after ostensibly discovering the bodies of his slain family members. Nineteen minutes later, the first deputies from the Colleton County sheriff’s department arrived at the scene.
Here, again, is the timeline …
- 8:44 p.m. EDT – Video from Paul Murdaugh’s cell phone shows “convivial family” at Moselle.
- 9:00 p.m. EDT – Coroner’s time of death for Paul Murdaugh.
- 9:06 p.m. EDT – Alex Murdaugh departs Moselle for Almeda, S.C.
- 9:20 – 9:50 EDT (approximate) – Alex Murdaugh at or near Almeda, S.C.
- 10:07 p.m. EDT – Alex Murdaugh places 9-1-1 call from Moselle.
- 10:26 p.m. EDT – First law enforcement responders arrive at Moselle.
Griffin gave perhaps the most detailed version of his client’s alleged comings and goings on that fateful evening during an extended appearance on HBO Max’s recently released documentary series entitled Low Country: The Murdaugh Dynasty.
According to Griffin, Alex arrived at Moselle from work at 6:30 p.m. EDT and drove around the fields with Paul “inspecting the property” – although there are significant questions as to whether Paul was actually on the property at that time.
Maggie Murdaugh is believed to have arrived at Moselle between 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. EDT.
According to Griffin, the three family members ate dinner together – even though Paul had previously dined with John Marvin’s family in Okatie, S.C. earlier that evening, according to Murdaugh family members.
After dinner, Maggie went to the kennels to “run the dogs,” and Paul went outside – but Alex did not know where he went, per Griffin. At this point, Griffin claimed Alex fell asleep on the couch at Moselle and woke up around 9:00 p.m. EDT – at which point he decided he wanted to check on his mother in Almeda. Griffin claimed Alex, upon awaking, called both Maggie and Paul on their cell phones but neither of them answered.
Shortly after 9:00 p.m. EDT, Murdaugh texted his wife that he would “be right back.” At 9:06 p.m. EDT, he left the property.
Upon his return, Griffin said Murdaugh went to the kennels – which is where he discovered the bodies of his family members.
“He rolls Paul over and Paul has been shot with a shotgun twice inside the feed room of the dog kennel – at a very close range,” Griffin told HBO. “Alex (then) goes and checks Maggie and there’s no pulse. Her body is found about thirty yards away from Paul’s. Maggie is shot multiple times from a distance. In her leg. Shot in her wrist. Another shot in her torso. And then there were two last shots while she was on the ground at close range.”
No matter how graphic the crime scene evidence is, prosecutors must tie it definitively to Murdaugh if they hope to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And based on the latest filings from the defense, that doubt certainly seems to be building …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
(Via: Phillippe Randolph Folks)
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.
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