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LIVE FEED – ‘Murdaugh Murders’ Trial: Day Five

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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 five – which will feature additional evidence and testimony in the state’s case against 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.

For yesterday’s daily feed, click here.

Today will feature more testimony and evidence from witnesses called by prosecutors in the office of attorney general Alan Wilson as they continue to present their case against Alex Murdaugh to the jury.

The prosecution is expected to continue building its case against Murdaugh today as it moves through additional first responders into crime scene technicians, the Colleton County coroner’s office, medical examiners and possibly even the first agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the lead investigative agency on this case.

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LIVE FEED …

5:07 p.m. EST – Our report on the upcoming witnesses that are going to make or break the prosecution’s case against Murdaugh …

5:04 p.m. ESTChanley Painter of CourtTV reporting jurors were watching Alex Murdaugh‘s reactions to the introduction of evidence very closely.

4:34 p.m. EST – At the suggestion of Harpootlian, judge Newman has called court to recess for the weekend. Proceedings will resume Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. EST.

4:07 p.m. EST – Dick Harpootlian sitting at the defense table swinging his glasses around. Will Folks analysis of this behavior, “He wants the jury to know he’s bored out of his mind.”

3:56 p.m. EST – Worley has just opened a box containing the shoes that Paul Murdaugh was wearing the night he was murdered. Dick Harpootlian objects to them being entered into evidence. Judge Newman has ordered them marked for identification.

3:30 p.m. EST – Judge Newman has called a brief recess.

3:22 p.m. EST – Worley says several pieces of evidence from suburban being admitted. She returned to the Suburban a couple days later, they removed the entire seatbelt to have it tested at the SLED laboratory.

3:20 p.m. EST – Worley is now discussing processing the interior of the Suburban for blood. She tells the court that swabs were presumptive for blood.

3:15 p.m. EST – Worley states that she incorrectly labeled a 16 gauge shell as a 12 gauge shell.

3:14 p.m. EST – Everyone is done stretching their legs. Worley’s testimony continues.

3:08 p.m. EST – Melinda Worley’s testimony continues. Her testimony of forensic analysis of the crime scene is detailed and her expert qualification by Judge Newman is obviously earned. Judge Newman has called for a short break.

2:37 p.m. EST – Worley tells the jury that five 300 blackout shell casings were collected as evidence.

2:32 p.m. EST – Worley testifies that when they moved Maggie’s body, they found a shell casing from a 300 blackout rifle under her. The State has entered the shell casing into exhibit without objection.

2:31 p.m. EST – Worley says Maggie was found facedown, both arms bent at the elbow, and legs straight behind her.

2:31 p.m. EST – Court has resumed. Melinda Worley’s testimony is continuing.

1:00 p.m. EST – Court is recessed for lunch.

12:34 p.m EST Will Folks latest article on judicial transparency.

12:33 p.m. EST – State enters the buccal swabs taken from Sgt. Daniel Greene into evidence without objection.

12:31 p.m. EST – Agent Worley explains she took a buccal swab from Sgt. Greene as he had handled that piece of evidence.

12:30 p.m. EST – The prosecution has shown Agent Worley two shotgun shells. She confirms they were the shotgun shells she unloaded from the rifle and that they were 16 gauge shells.

12:28 p.m. EST – Agent Worley testifies she recalls being transferred custody of a rifle by Sgt. Daniel Greene. She states the gun was loaded when she took custody of it. She unloaded the gun stating they always render a firearm safe prior to transporting it.

12:26 pm. EST – Agent Worley is describing the layout of the scene on June 7, 2021. She states the Sheriff’s Office brought out a tent to protect Maggie Murdaugh’s body from the rain.

12:25 p.m. EST – Agent Worley testifies she arrived on the crime scene at 12:07 p.m. They were notified of the crime at approximately 10:33 p.m.

12:24 p.m. EST – Agent Worley explains that wearing protective gowns is standard procedure but wearing protective booties is not.

12:23 p.m. EST – Judge Newman explains what a qualified witness is to the jury.

12:22 p.m. EST – SLED Agent Melinda Worley has been called by the State. They have qualified her as an expert in footwear and tire examination. Defense has no objections.

Melinda Worley, SLED foot and tire tread expert, discusses evidence found at the crime scene during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, January 27, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)

12:14 p.m. EST – The State has entered the buccal swabs into evidence.

12:11 p.m. EST – Cirencione testifies that she collected swabs from Margaret and Paul Murdaugh.

12:09 p.m. EST – Cirencione states that on June 8, 2021, she was called to the Colleton County Medical Center to collect buccal swabs from two victims.

12:08 p.m. EST – She is currently in the Behavioral Science Unit at SLED, but was formerly in the Forensic Science Unit.

12:05 p.m. EST – Delilah Cirencione from SLED is called to the stand by the State.

12:04 p.m. EST – Questioning of Detective Rutland is complete.

12:01 p.m. EST – Meadors asks if Rutland believed Murdaugh looked like he had just changed clothes. She responds yes. Meador’s re-direct examination is complete.

12:00 p.m. EST – Meadors is asking about the subsequent searches Griffin questioned Rutland about including the searches of Paul and Maggie’s vehicles.

11:59 a.m. EST – John Meadors has begun his re-direct examination of Detective Rutland.

11:55 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland clarifies that when she said Alex was wearing khaki’s, she meant khaki shorts. She says they were “khaki-style green” shorts. Griffin says he has completed questioning of Detective Rutland.

11:53 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland testifies that the night of the homicide “everyone was a suspect.” Including Alex Murdaugh.

11:52 a.m. EST – Griffin questioning about the BOLO on Paul’s white pick-up truck. According to Jim, Paul had switched vehicles with John Marvin. John Marvin was rushing to the scene after the homicides and Paul’s truck broke down.

11:48 a.m. EST – Griffin asks Detective Rutland about a meeting on Friday, June 18, 2021 at SLED during which they reviewed crime scene photos. He tells Rutland she made a mental note or put it in the record that she noticed a few strands of what appeared to be brown hair in her hands. He says Rutland thought she thought it was possibly an indication of a struggle. She replies that she didn’t say that. It was just an observation in her report. She also states she noted some scratches or what appeared to be a bruise on his cheek.

11:45 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland confirms they were given consent to search Paul’s truck – a white F-250 pick-up truck. While they were there, Mr. Davis showed up. Rutland said that Mr. Davis was the caretaker for the dogs at Moselle. She did not see him wash down the floors of the kennels that day.

11:43 a.m. EST – Griffin asks Rutland if she assisted the SLED dive team on June 16, 2021 during their search of the Moselle property and surrounding areas. She stated they were looking for anything that could be used in the murders. This search was done with consent by Alex Murdaugh.

Alex Murdaugh, seated between his two layers Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian, during testimony during his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (Grace Beahm Alford/The Post and Courier/Pool)

11:40 a.m. EST – Rutland tells Griffin that she met with Alex Murdaugh, his brothers Randy and John Marvin and his son Buster Murdaugh on Thursday, June 10, 2021 with SLED Agents in Varnville. At that meeting, all parties agreed to allow SLED to download the contents of their cellular phones.

11:34 a.m. EST – Jim Griffin enters the search warrant obtained by Detective Rutland to search Moselle on June 7, 2021 into evidence.

11:31 a.m. EST – Griffin asks Rutland if in her “mind’s eye” if Murdaugh looked like someone who had just blown his son’s head off in the confounds of a feed room with blood spattered everywhere. Rutland states she cannot state that for sure and that a lot of things could come into play to affect that.

11:30 a.m. EST – Griffin asks Rutland if she was criticizing Murdaugh for visiting his mother on the night of the homicides. Rutland responds that it was not criticism, but she was making a mental note.

11:29 a.m. EST – Jim Griffin begins cross-examination of Detective Rutland for the defense.

11:23 a.m. EST – Judge Newman reminding the attorneys of the rules of court relating to objections. For some reason, I feel like this is directed at Harpootlian.

11:22 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland’s testimony that she didn’t seen any blood on Murdaugh is absolutely crucial.

11:12 a.m. EST – Just got off the phone with our weapons expert, Chad Ayers, he said he thinks this testimony is the most compelling yet. He told me, “Murdaugh had clean hands and no kneeling mark? He’s checking pulses on Maggie and Paul and has no blood on him.” You’ll hear more from Chad soon on FITSNews!

10:58 a.m. EST – Rutland testifies that in her interview that Murdaugh tried to roll Paul over and tried to check both Maggie and Paul’s pulses.

10:56 a.m. EST – Rutland tells Meadors that she did listen to the 9-1-1 call before speaking to Murdaugh in Agent Owen’s car. She notes that in the 9-1-1 call, Murdaugh said he estimated it had been 1.5 to 2 hours since he last saw Maggie. She states in her interview with him in Agent Owens car, Murdaugh said it had been 2 hours and that he had taken a nap. She also says she thought it was strange that he was visiting his mother at night because Alzheimer’s patients tend to be worse at night.

10:55 a.m. EST – I was sitting here thinking how slow Alex was speaking in his interview and then I realized I had slowed the audio to type a quote. Whoops. – Jenn

10:52 a.m. EST – In his interview with Agent Owen and Detective Rutland, Murdaugh says Maggie had a doctor appointment in Charleston that day. She had been having trouble with her stomach. He cannot remember the name of the doctor.

10:45 a.m. ETA – Temporary site issues. I’m catching back up, but the attorney questioning Detective Rutland is John Meadors. To read more about Meadors’ addition to the prosecution team, check out our article on FITSNews!

10:15 a.m. EST – Murdaugh is asked who Paul’s best friends are and Murdaugh says Will Chapman at college. His best friends around Hampton are Nolan Tuten and Rogan Gibson. Owens asks if Murdaugh has talked to any of Paul’s friends and he says that he has spoken to Rogan and Rogan was out there that night. He said Rogan is a “good, healthy young man.”

10:12 a.m. EST – He tells Owens that they didn’t have any problems out in Moselle. The only thing that comes to his mind was his son Paul was in a boat wreck a couple of years ago and there had been a lot of negative publicity about it. Murdaugh says when Paul has been out and about, he’s been punched and hit as a result of the boat crash, but couldn’t name anyone. He also tells Owens that gets death threats all. the. time.

10:10 a.m. EST – When asked about Paul and Maggie’s relationship, Murdaugh tells Agent Owens that it was “wonderful.” About his marriage to Maggie, they had moments here and there, but they had a wonderful marriage.

10:08 a.m. EST – Owens asks Murdaugh what made him go out that night. He responds that his dad is in the hospital and his mom has late stage Alzheimer’s and gets anxious. He went to check on them. When he got back to the house, no one was in there.

Alex Murdaugh’s son Buster Murdaugh listens to testimony during his fathers murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Friday, Jan. 27, 2023. (Grace Beahm Alford/The Post and Courier/Pool)

10:06 a.m. EST – He tells Owens that he touched both Maggie and Paul to try to take their pulses. He called 9-1-1 and said, “she was very good.” He then got off the phone with 9-1-1 and said he called his brother Randy and John Marvin. He tried to call a friend around the corner, but didn’t get ahold of him.

10:04 a.m. EST – Murdaugh tells investigators that he tried to roll Paul over and his cell phone popped out of his pocket. He started trying to “maybe do something with it, but put it down quickly.”

10:02 a.m. EST – In the interview, Murdaugh can be heard sobbing.

10:00 a.m. EST – The interview is being played for the jury. Alex can be heard sobbing.

9:58 a.m. EST – The interview that took place in Agent Owen’s car has been admitted into evidence.

9:56 a.m. EST – Rutland testifies that Murdaugh did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol during their interview and he understood their questions providing timely answers.

Video evidence of an interview taken the night of the murder during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, January 27, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)

9:55 a.m. EST – Rutland said that Murdaugh requested his personal attorney, Danny Henderson be with him when they interviewed him. She stated the four – Detective Rutland, Agent David Owens, Murdaugh and Danny Henderson – sat inside Agent Owen’s vehicle during the interview.

9:50 a.m. EST – Rutland tells the jury that the scene was very large and she decided to canvas the outer part of the scene. While she was doing that, she noted fresh shoe impressions in the sandy part of the shed. She states it was a flat shoe and one set of footprints that came down and back. She was by herself when she found them initially, but got her supervisor, Captain Chapman to show him the footprints.

9:49 a.m. EST – Rutland testifies that Randy Murdaugh was at the scene at that point as well as Danny Henderson who was introduced to her as Murdaugh’s personal attorney.

9:48 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland says when she got to the scene she saw Paul Murdaugh first and that he was laying on the ground of the feed room at an angle with a sheet over his body. She was still able to see the wounds to his head.

9:47 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland says when she arrived, there were a number of Colleton County officers at the scene as well as SLED agents. She was asked if she knew the Murdaugh family and she said they did not. She was assigned the Colleton County Sheriff Liason to SLED. SLED Special Agent David Owen was her primary contact.

9:45 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland was called to the scene from her home in Ridgeland. Due to her drive, they asked her to go to the Sheriff’s Office to get a search warrant and have it signed by a Magistrate.

9:43 a.m. EST – Detective Rutland has been working with Colleton County Sheriff’s office since 2020. She became a detective in February 2021.

9:39 a.m. EST – The State has called Detective Laura Rutland to the stand.

Laura Rutland, CCSO crime scene investigator, answers questions from the prosecution during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, January 27, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)

9:38 a.m. EST – Court is in session. Judge Newman has asked that the jury be brought in.

7:56 a.m. EST – Look for some coverage later today on trial strategy … with an emphasis on prosecution (since they are making their case) as well as some insight on who might wind up being the key witness for the state.

Stay tuned …

7:40 a.m. EST – A quick morning update …

6:47 a.m. EST – Some heat on the ongoing transparency issues related to this trial …

6:36 a.m. EST – In case you missed it, here is our founding editor Will Folks‘ recap of yesterday’s proceedings …

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7 comments

Elaine Zimney Top fan January 27, 2023 at 8:14 am

Why is Defendant not handcuffed during trial as in previous court appearances? Seems he is being treated too casually and as if this trial is about a misdemeanor versus double murder trial!

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Alan Kaufman Top fan January 27, 2023 at 9:24 am

They are presumed innocent and that would be clear visual suggestion of guilt. Same reason why they don’t wear prison gear.

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Cranston Snord Top fan January 27, 2023 at 8:29 am

This is his trial before a jury . He is absolutely innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt .
To have him appear before the jury in chains and prison clothes gives the impression he is guilty in the eyes of the jury .

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Alan Kaufman Top fan January 27, 2023 at 9:41 am

]I think your daily polls are irresponsible journalism. Trials are filled with twists and turns and we have no idea what the overall evidence will show. To have readers even thinking about guild or innocence on a daily basis before all the evidence is in is reckless and panders to the worst instincts in people — to reach conclusions without all the facts in hand.

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Objection! January 27, 2023 at 11:26 am

It’s only reckless if you treat polls as anything more than a measure of public sentiment. No different than asking people if they thought OJ did it before his trial concluded, and he was acquitted.

I’d assume he’s polling whether or not the results will change throughout the trial as evidence is put forward and witnesses give testimonies. Not sure there will be significant, meaningful changes in that small of a sample size but I don’t find it sleazy.

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Mac Semple Top fan January 27, 2023 at 1:16 pm

“The prosecution has shown Agent Worley two shotgun shells. She confirms they were the shotgun shells she unloaded from the rifle and that they were 16 gauge shells.”

You don’t use shotgun shells in a rifle.

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Danny Hayneso Top fan January 27, 2023 at 7:30 pm

So I have listened to most of the 1st and 2nd episodes of your new Podcast “on the docket”. And to say that I am disappointed is putting it mildly. I did not know that it was gonna be a Gigglefest fluff show that covered the ever vexing question of whether to wear heels or wear flats and the always popular he is easy on the eyes b*******.. I will give this show 1 or 2 more chances but what I’ve heard so far is totally unimpressive. Thanks for letting me sound off.

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