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‘Murdaugh Murders’ Trial: Day Three

News and notes …

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Welcome back to our live feed from the double homicide trial at the heart of the ‘Murdaugh Murders‘ crime and corruption saga in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Today is day number three – which will see a group of 122 qualified jurors whittled down to a panel of twelve jurors and six alternates. Those will be the individuals responsible for deciding the fate of Alex Murdaugh, who stands accused of killing his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh on his family’s hunting property in Colleton County on June 7, 2021.

Once the jurors are selected, S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman will invite the state’s lead prosecutor, Creighton Waters, to make his opening statement. Once Waters has finished, Murdaugh’s lead attorney Dick Harpootlian will deliver his opening statement.

For a recap of yesterday’s proceedings, click here.

Below is our live feed from the day three of the trial …

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LIVE UPDATES …

8:08 p.m. EST – Jenn Wood and I break down day three of the trial …

(Click to view)

4:48 p.m. EST – S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman has just dismissed the jury for the day, reminding them not to try and get information about the case “by any means.” When jurors were a bit sluggish in getting up and getting a move on, Newman gave them a gentle nudge … “go.”

4:36 p.m. EST – Closing arguments complete. Judge Newman asks attorneys whether they are ready to proceed. Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters says the state wants to call its first witness but body-worn camera video evidence associated with the witness is not available to be presented today. Looks like the testimony portion of the trial is going to kick off at around 9:30 a.m. EST.

4:31 p.m. EST – Absolute downpour outside the Colleton County courthouse as opening arguments continue. It’s raining cats and dogs, people …

(Click to view)

Rain on a window outside the Colleton County courthouse (FITSNews)

4:26 p.m. ESTDick Harpootlian grilling jurors on their obligation on the presumption of innocence.

“He didn’t do it,” Harpootlian said. “As you sit there right now, you have to presume he is innocent.”

4:24 p.m. EST – Harpootlian asks jurors another question about missing evidence …

“Where are the bloody clothes?”

4:21 p.m. EST – Harpootlian tells jurors the ballistics in this case cannot conclusively prove anything because, and I quote, “they don’t have the guns.”

4:20 p.m. EST – Harpootlian hammering away on the gunshot residue – or lack thereof – found on Alex Murdaugh.

“Those are facts, not theories.”

4:18 p.m. ESTDick Harpootlian now telling the story of Alex Murdaugh arming himself in the aftermath of the shooting – grabbing a shotgun for the purposes of “protection” from the purportedly unknown killers.

4:17 p.m. EST – Harpootlian on the wound to Paul Murdaugh: “His head literally exploded.” Here is our report on those graphic crime scene details …

4:16 p.m. EST – Harpootlian is asking judge Clifton Newman to allow jurors to take a field trip to Moselle, the site of the shootings.

4:15 p.m. EST – Harpootlian on the 9-1-1 call, saying the evidence will help his client.

“I want you to hear that 9-1-1 call,” “It is a man – hysterical, in grief.”

4:12 p.m. ESTDick Harpootlian delivering his opening remarks now … saying Alex and Maggie’s relationship was “nothing but loving.”

“You’re going to see texts and emails indicating a loving relationship,” Harpootlian said.

Harpootlian also referred to Paul Murdaugh as the “apple of his (father’s) eye.”

4:09 p.m. EST – The public won’t see these, though, because of the order imposed by judge Clifton Newman … I will be addressing this in more detail once we get through openings.

4:07 p.m. EST – Waters telling jurors about Murdaugh’s texts and calls to his wife following the murders – and his calls to and from his parents’ home. “It’s up to you to decide whether he’s trying to create an alibi.”

4:03 p.m. EST – Want to know more about that video Creighton Waters is referencing? Here is our latest report on it published just yesterday …

4:00 p.m. EST– Creighton Waters REALLY going after the credibility of Alex Murdaugh, discussing how Maggie Murdaugh’s and Paul Murdaugh’s cell phones went silent just three minutes after the cell phone video Paul filmed.

“Three minutes after the video,” Murdaugh said. “And he told people he was never there. He told anyone who would listen he was never there.”

3:54 p.m. EST – Judge Newman asks Creighton Waters if he can pause for a break …

3:52 p.m. EST – Waters zeroing in on the cell phone/ geofencing data which, according to him, is going to be “very important” in this case. We have covered that extensively, too …

3:51 p.m. EST – Some additional new evidence …

3:50 p.m. EST – Waters now telling jurors about the “blue tarp” – which turned out being a blue rain jacket – taken by Alex Murdaugh to his parents’ home. It was “coated” in gunshot residue. Here is out story on that …

3:46 p.m. EST – Waters tells jurors Alex Murdaugh bought two “.300 blackout rifles” (I assume he’s referring to the ammunition) in December 2016. One of these rifles was stolen from Paul Murdaugh’s truck, but it was never reported stolen. Alex Murdaugh replaced the rifle with another identical firearm. According to Waters, only one of those guns is accounted for.

“It was a family weapon that killed Maggie Murdaugh,” Waters said. “And that replacement gun was nowhere to be found.”

3:46 p.m. EST – Waters tells jurors to “watch those clips” – referring to interviews between Alex Murdaugh and law enforcement agents. Asks them to watch the videos closely.

“Is this right?” Waters urges jurors to consider. “Or does something seem a little off.”

3:42 p.m. EST – Waters on the burden of proof …

3:39 p.m. EST – Waters tells jurors that Murdaugh claimed he was nowhere near the kennels at the time his wife and son were slain, but that the “cell phones tell a different story.”

3:36 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters going straight into it … describes the graphic nature of the murders of Maggie and Paul. Confirms for the first time the state believes Alex Murdaugh killed Paul with a shotgun before shooting his wife with a .300 blackout rifle.

3:33 p.m. EST – OPENING STATEMENTS underway …

3:16 p.m. EST – An excellent interview with our panel of legal experts – renowned veteran defense attorney Jack Swerling and S.C. first circuit solicitor David Pascoe.

(Click to view)

2:58 p.m. EST – Some great pics from pool photographer Grace Beahm Alford of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier showing Alex Murdaugh breaking down after a discussion in court of “sensitive” exhibits.

(Click to view)

Alex Murdaugh breaks down in tears at the conclusion of jury selection in his double homicide trial (Grace Beahm Alford/ Pool)

2:52 p.m. EST – Alex Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, just walked into the Colleton County courthouse. This is Buster’s first appearance at a court proceeding featuring his father.

1:35 p.m. EST – An update on the jury selection process from our founding editor Will Folks

(Click to view)

1:28 p.m. EST – Court will be in recess until 3:00 p.m. EST.

1:25 p.m EST – Jim Griffin tells the judge they have submitted a proposed consent order sealing unduly sensitive exhibits. Judge Newman says that while the order has not yet been signed, he agrees to the order. The order will seal videos and photographs containing graphic images of the victims. This order is to prevent emotional distress to the victim’s family and to ensure a fair trial for the defendant. After the trial has concluded, individuals may file a request to unseal.

1:22 p.m. EST – Dick Harpootlian tells Judge Newman that they are unable to see all the jurors due to a TV set up. Judge Newman says the attorneys are entitled to see the jurors and agrees with the defense.

1:20 p.m. EST – Jury selection has been completed. There are 12 jurors and 6 alternates seated. Judge Clifton Newman thanking the jurors who were not selected.

1:19 p.m. EST – Both the defense and prosecution are carefully tracking each other’s remaining strikes.

1:18 p.m. EST – Clerk Rebecca Hill has told the defense they have one strike remaining.

1:16 p.m. EST – Dick Harpootlian just tried to utilize a strike on an alternate. Creighton Waters told the judge they were out of strikes. Waters is approaching the bench.

1:05 p.m. EST – Jury has been selected. They are continuing with alternates.

12:46 p.m. EST – The defense has used their first of ten peremptory strikes.

12:44 p.m. EST – Court has resumed. Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill is calling jurors by number to individually come to the front of the court.

12:40 p.m. EST – If you are catching up on the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga, check out our Key Players page! We are continually adding new content!

12:21 p.m. EST – Court will be in recess for 15 minutes while the attorneys review the list of the remaining jurors.

12:06 p.m. EST – The judge has told the jurors being called by Clerk Rebecca Hill that they are part of the jury pool and are not to leave. 80 jurors remain for the final selection process.

11:58 a.m. ESTDylan Nolan is getting ready to ramp up his Tweets now that he has our livestream up and running! Follow him if you haven’t already!

11:54 a.m. EST – Judge Newman is giving the courtroom a moment to stretch while the clerks of court run the jury list.

11:43 a.m. EST – There will be a break in audio on the livestream as Judge Newman questions the jurors who believe they cannot serve.

11:42 a.m. EST – Weather is currently dreary in downtown Walterboro. Storms are expected today. Press is preparing by battening the hatches!

11:39 a.m. EST – Judge Newman said they will narrow the jury pool down to 80 and select from that group.

11:38 a.m. EST – Judge Clifton Newman has asked any jurors who believe they cannot serve to please stand.

11:37 a.m. EST – Rebecca Hill, “Judge, that’s the roll.”

11:33 a.m. EST – Audio has resumed on the livestream. Two jurors were excused. Roll call has resumed.

11:29 a.m. EST – Waiting for audio to return on the livestream feed. According to Drew Tripp, “Jury roll call started about 10 minutes ago, but has paused for the moment while Judge Newman and counsel meet with a few select jurors off-camera.”

11:26 a.m. EST – For anyone wondering what a Batson-Wheeler motion is as mentioned in Michael Dewitt’s tweet below, a Batson-Wheeler motion is motion made by one of the parties claiming that the other party has exercised a challenge against a juror based on the juror’s membership in a cognizable group (i.e., “an identifiable group distinguished on racial, religious, ethnic, or similar grounds[.]” Click here for more details…

11:21 a.m. EST – Programming note: CourtTV is running the livestream for us. If you hear the audio cut out periodically, it is likely because the judge asked them to cut it momentarily.

11:20 a.m. EST – Clerk of Court, Rebecca Hill is doing roll call with the jurors.

11:16 a.m. EST – Judge Newman has begun court for the day. Jury selection has begun.

8:42 a.m. EST – In case you missed it, our founding editor Will Folks dropped this story EARLY this morning. It explores in detail the key piece of video evidence that shredded Alex Murdaugh’s alibi ..

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INSIDE THE VIDEO THAT SHREDDED ALEX MURDAUGH’S ALIBI

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8:09 a.m. EST – In case you missed yesterday’s big development during pre-trial motions, prosecutors won a key early victory when judge Clifton Newman ruled jurors can hear critical ballistics evidence and testimony. Here is our report on that ruling. And here is some commentary from state representative Justin Bamberg, an attorney and firearm enthusiast who attended yesterday’s pre-trial motions hearing …

7:40 a.m. EST – A quick preview of the upcoming day: The pool of 122 qualified jurors will arrive at the Colleton County courthouse in Walterboro, S.C. at 11:00 a.m. EDT. We don’t know how long it will take to whittle that group down to the 12 jurors and six alternates, but once that process is complete judge Newman next order of business is to gavel the proceedings to order and hear the opening argument from lead state prosecutor, Creighton Waters.

7:17 a.m. EST – Good morning from the Toogoodoo River in Charleston County, South Carolina as day three of this trial prepares to kick off …

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BANNER VIA: Grace Beahm Alford/ Pool

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13 comments

Cranston Snord January 25, 2023 at 4:03 pm

The first day in trial is filled with a bunch of exaggerations. . Opening statements are just a summary of what each Side hope to prove

I don’t believe he killed his wife and son and why use a shot gun and a 300 blackout which is just a few steps above a 22

I still believe 2 people planned to kill all 3 but Alex left .

Payment for killing the young girl on the boat

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The Colonel January 25, 2023 at 9:47 pm

A .300 Black out is a .30 caliber round. The bullet can weigh between 110 and 220 grains with a velocity of 2,300 FPS on average delivering an average of 1,300 ftlbs of energy. A .22 has a max weight of 40 grains, travels on average about 1,500 FPS and delivering a maximum energy of 200 ftlbs.

The difference is like between getting hit by a bicyclist versus Mack Truck. Special Operations units use it because of it’s first hit leathality.

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Erica Zwick January 26, 2023 at 6:18 pm

Just because you believe it, doesn’t make it true. Tell us WHY you don’t think Alex didn’t murder his wife and son. What facts or evidence do you have to backup your belief?

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Anonymous January 25, 2023 at 4:15 pm

Man, Pooty Poot’s rendition of the damage “Elick” did when he shot Paul was brutal

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Cranston Snord January 25, 2023 at 4:50 pm

He tried to have himself killed before all this went down . If Alex killed his wife and son it seems he would have killed himself also .

Why kill his wife and son ? Makes no damn sense . Idiot dope head but not a murderer .

No signs of violence before this .

Something is missing with Motive

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MemoryQueen January 26, 2023 at 12:52 am

Really? No signs of past aggressive behavior? And he wouldn’t have financially benefited from .(of all things, imagine this…) INSURANCE POLICIES?

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Erica Zwick January 26, 2023 at 6:32 pm

No. You’ve got your facts all wrong. The “suicide attempt” was in September, three months AFTER Maggie and Paul were found shot dead. Here’s his motive: At the time of the killings, Murdaugh was terrified about a pending motion that threatened to expose years of substantial debts and illicit financial crimes by revealing his personal records. Such a move would have spelled personal, legal, and financial ruin for Murdaugh. No history of violence does not come into play in a situation like this. He was desperate. Desperate people do desperate things.

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Gx January 25, 2023 at 9:49 pm

So, “he didn’t do it.” …..and, apparently, he also didn’t hear 7 gunshots in close proximity to the home between 8:44 (when he was at the kennels) and 9:06 (when he started his car and left). If he didn’t do it, he must be deaf, cause I haven’t heard one report of him telling anyone that he heard gunshots. And, anyone who hunts, knows how far the sounds of rifles and shotguns carry through the pines. It is inconceivable that he wouldnt have heard the gunshots. Of course, “he was sleeping”….errr, “wasn’t at the kennel”….errr

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Paul Baker January 25, 2023 at 11:01 pm

Big plus for the defense no one has mentioned ,son Buster appeared today on Dads behalf . Jury can not help but think son has weighed all this and determined dad innocent . Also,time line will play heavily in defendants advantage . Who ever shot Paul would have blood ,bone tissue ,including brain, all over face and hair .how and where did he get cleaned up . No gun shot residue on hands . Massive holes in case state ignoring .

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Erica Zwick January 26, 2023 at 6:25 pm

“Jury can not help but think son has weighed all this and determined dad innocent.”
Buster’s appearance doesn’t mean anything one way or the other. Perhaps the jury can not help but think Buster has weighed all this and determined dad guilty and wants to see him obliterated in court.
The jury does not have to take into consideration Buster’s appearance and what it might mean. The jury’s job is to focus on the facts.

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MemoryQueen January 26, 2023 at 12:36 am

Creighton Waters opening statement was exceptional. His analogy of circumstantial evidence in relations to inclement weather was sheer brilliance. Referring to Murdaugh as ‘the storm’ was prophetic. The FACT the down pour of rain was actually audible on the livestream whilst Dicky Poo delivered his opening statement, could not have played out better for The State. Nice job Waters…no pun intended! Curious if anyone else focused on Buster when Judge called for a break during Waters’ OS? From the video does it appear that he avoids direct eye contact with his father when Alex is turned to him? It’s as though he’s desperate to avoid Alex, quickly shifting from left to right searching for anyone other than the dead shark eyes of his father.

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MemoryQueen January 26, 2023 at 12:48 am

Just curious, the Defense wouldn’t possibly be creating posts on these threads as a futile attempt to create illusions of doubt [delusions, rather] in hopes that others might actually be swayed!? Very off-putting. Dig deeper into that bag of tricks, please.

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Erica Zwick January 26, 2023 at 6:06 pm

12:40 p.m. EST – If you are catching up on the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga, check out our Key Players page! We are continually adding new content!

Stop with the exclamation points. You are not 13 years old.

Reply

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