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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 …
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)
4:26 p.m. EST – Dick 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. EST – Dick 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. EST – Dick 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 …
(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)
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. EST – Dylan 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 ..
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