Welcome back to our live feed from the double homicide trial at the center of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Today is day number six of the trial – which will begin with Alex Murdaugh’s lead attorney, state senator Dick Harpootlian, cross-examining special agent Melinda Worley of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Worley was on the stand for more than four hours on Friday as assistant attorney general Savanna Goude led her through the introduction of several dozen pieces of “foundational” evidence – or evidence which future witnesses will weave into a narrative for the jury.
Who will take the stand today? After Worley, it’s not clear.
There is a witness list (.pdf) for the trial, but prosecutors have been jumping around on it as they seek to get the right evidence entered into the record.
After Harpootlian’s cross-examination, additional evidence and testimony will be introduced in the state’s case against 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 Friday’s daily feed, click here.
THE POLLS …
At the opening gavel of each day of the trial, we will launch two new polls asking readers to weigh in on 1) whether they think Alex Murdaugh is guilty or not guilty of murdering his late wife, Maggie Murdaugh and, 2) whether they think he is guilty or not guilty of murdering his late son, Paul Murdaugh.
The goal of our daily polls is to track how perception of Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence related to the murders of his two alleged victims changes over the course of the trial.
Here are today’s polls …
QUESTION ONE …
Based on the information you have now, is Alex Murdaugh is guilty or not guilty of the murder of Maggie Murdaugh?
QUESTION TWO …
Based on the information you have now, is Alex Murdaugh is guilty or not guilty of the murder of Paul Murdaugh?
LIVE FEED …
5:09 p.m. EST – Court is in recess until 9:30 a.m. EST on Tuesday, January 31, 2023. Stay tuned to FITSNews for continued coverage of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ trial.
4:45 p.m. EST – Croft says during the interview Murdaugh stated, “It was so bad. I did him so bad.”
4:44 p.m. EST – In his interview with investigators, Murdaugh tells investigators Paul always had his phone in his hand. When Paul’s phone came out of his pocket, Murdaugh tells investigators he picked it up but put it down because he had the presence of mind to know he needed to not mess anything up.
4:35 p.m. EST – The bizarre story Murdaugh told investigators about C.B. Rowe in his first interview comes up again. Alex tells investigators he doesn’t know why he told them that story. He says Rowe is still working for him but not for long because he was an “idiot.” Murdaugh admits that he doesn’t see C.B. Rowe doing it.
4:31 p.m. EST – Murdaugh is heard telling investigators that he didn’t report the missing .300 Blackout rifle stolen because he wasn’t totally convinced it was stolen as opposed to lost.
4:30 p.m. EST – The investigator asks Murdaugh if they keep guns at the kennel. He replies, “We didn’t keep guns out there but they were always out there.”
4:29 p.m. EST – Court has resumed after a brief recess.
4:24 p.m. EST – My evening will be spent diligently listening to the two interviews that we’ve heard and comparing notes. – Jenn Wood
4:07 p.m. EST – The biggest issue Alex Murdaugh had with Paul was he was irresponsible. He would leave things everywhere and often lost things.
3:58 p.m. EST – Murdaugh tells investigators in his second interview that he was certain he had heard them pull up before he left, but they didn’t. Now he’s telling investigators that he saw a wild cat running up to his car. This is getting weird.
3:56 p.m. EST – Murdaugh told investigators he wasn’t sure how Maggie got to the kennels but stated she often walked. Murdaugh stated he stayed in the house after Maggie and Paul went to the kennels.
3:48 p.m. EST – During the interview, Murdaugh tells the investigators that Paul had high blood pressure and Maggie was worried sick about him. They were making him go to the doctor because Paul didn’t like going to the doctor.
3:45 p.m. EST – Murdaugh is heard telling investigators that the night before he was murdered, his son Paul spent the night at his brother John Marvin’s home. The day of the murders, he rode around the property with Paul and doesn’t recall how long they rode around. He stated it could have been 20 minutes or it could have been two hours.
3:41 p.m. EST – Murdaugh tells investigators that on the day of the murders he was working on motions for a case with Dominion Energy and on the boat crash case. He says when he got up that morning, his wife was probably there. He tells investigators he doesn’t remember if their housekeeper (Blanca) was there.
3:34 p.m. EST – Murdaugh is heard answering a call from Maggie’s sister, Marion Proctor. They asked Alex for consent to download his phone. The phone contents were downloaded by Dylan Hightower with the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.
3:31 p.m. EST – Croft now testifying about an interview conducted on June 10, 2021 with Alex Murdaugh at the hunting property of his brother, John Marvin Murdaugh. This second interview is now being played for the jury.
3:10 p.m. EST – Croft responding regarding the June 16, 2021 search of a shooting range on the Moselle property. Click here to read FITSNews initial report on this search.
3:02 p.m. EST – Waters asks Agent Croft about John Bedingfield. Bedingfield is a DNR agent who has a side business assembling guns and has assembled guns for Murdaugh including .300 Blackout rifles. Harpootlian objects as hearsay. The objection is overruled. Croft obtained paperwork for these guns from Bedingfield and also inquired about a third .300 Blackout rifle purchased by Maggie Murdaugh to replace one that was stolen. Bedingfield confirmed this purchase.
2:58 p.m. EST – Creighton Waters questioning Croft regarding the recovery of Maggie Murdaugh’s cell phone. He states it located about 1/4 mile to 1/2 mile down the road in a grassy area. He states Captain Neal picked up the phone. Special Agent McAllister held it in her gloved hand and they unlocked it with a passcode given to them. They immediately locked it and packaged it as evidence. Croft identified Maggie’s cell phone and it was moved into evidence with no objections.
2:43 p.m. EST – Court has resumed. SLED Agent Jeff Croft is on the stand and the jury is being brought back into the courtroom.
2:29 p.m. EST – Court will be resuming shortly after an hour and 20 minute lunch break.
1:10 p.m. EST – A receipt found in the trash for $1021.10 to Gucci is entered into evidence.
1:05 p.m. EST – For those who may be confused about weapons testimony in the Murdaugh trial, click here to read an article by Will Folks explaining a recent motion and order on the admissibility of key ballistic evidence.
12:43 p.m. EST – More guns being entered into evidence. Murdaugh’s defense team continues to object. Waters very emphatically argues against the objection stating they show the extensiveness of the investigation. Objection is overruled.
12:33 p.m. EST – Creighton Waters enters a .300 Blackout rifle found in the gun room at 4147 Moselle Road into evidence. Harpootlian objects and his objection is overruled. The gun has a thermal scope on it for shooting at night.
12:15 p.m. EST – Croft testifies that Murdaugh’s former law partners Ronnie Crosby, Lee Cope, and Mark Ball were at the scene the night of the homicides.
12:05 p.m. EST – Croft states that he was assigned to locate and secure any firearms at Moselle.
12:00 p.m. EST – Croft testifies there were four missed calls from Alex Murdaugh to Rogan Gibson occurring at 10:21 p.m., 10:24 p.m., 10:25 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
11:57 a.m. EST – The State has entered calls from Gibson to Paul Murdaugh that occurred at 9:10 p.m., 9:29 p.m. 9:42 p.m. and 9:57 p.m. on June 7, 2021. All calls were unanswered. The State also enters into exhibit a 9:34 p.m. text from Gibson to Maggie Murdaugh that read, “Tell Paul to call me.”
11:54 a.m. EST – Croft testifies that there was a call between Rogan Gibson and Paul Murdaugh at 8:40 p.m. on June 7, 2021 that lasted approximately four minutes. There was another call from Paul Murdaugh to Rogan Gibson at 8:44 p.m. on June 7, 2021. He also testifies there is a text from Rogan Gibson to Paul Murdaugh at 8:49 p.m. There is no response from Paul Murdaugh to that text. Gibson sends another text to Paul Murdaugh at 9:58 p.m. that says, “Yo.”
11:51 a.m. EST – Croft states when he arrived on the scene on June 7, 2021, he questioned Rogan Gibson about his cell communications with Paul and Alex Murdaugh. The State has entered photos Croft took of Rogan Gibson’s phone into evidence.
11:48 a.m. EST – The State has called SLED Senior Special Agent Jeff Croft. Creighton Waters is doing direct examination for the State.
11:44 a.m. EST – After a seemingly rough start, Dick Harpootlian definitely got his groove back and brought into question the integrity of the forensic investigation. This afternoon is definitely going to be interesting.
11:31 a.m. EST – SLED Agent Melinda Worley has completed testifying. Court is on recess for 10 minutes.
11:25 a.m. EST – Harpootlian objects to a question relating to biological matter on the tire of an ATV saying that it was never tested to determine it was biological matter. Objection overruled. State’s re-direct is completed.
11:15 a.m. EST – Harpootlian has completed questioning. The State is now beginning re-direct.
11:04 a.m. EST – According to Worley, at least one investigator walked through the crime scene leaving behind a footprint.
11:02 a.m. EST – Wow. Dick Harpootlian stepping up his game!
10:48 a.m EST – Harpootlian has moved on to discuss forensic analysis of shoe prints. According to Worley they did not follow typical procedure for documenting footwear as they didn’t realize while on scene that they were imprints. He asks about an impression on Maggie’s calf that could have been a footwear impression. She states it was an impression, but not conclusively a footprint.
10:40 a.m. EST – Harpootlian asks Worley if the trajectory of the bullets could possibly indicate there was two shooters. Worley reluctantly admits that one reasonable explanation is that there was two shooters.
10:16 a.m. EST – Court has resumed. No objections are being made to the exhibits being entered.
10:06 a.m. EST – Judge Newman has sent the jury to the jury room for a break. The defense and prosecution are reviewing exhibits to decide what they agree on.
10:02 a.m. EST – Harpootlian entering photos of the dog house taken on July 16, 2021 into evidence.
9:56 a.m. EST – Dick Harpootlian is playing a FARO video which is a 3-D scan of the crime scene commonly used in forensic investigations.
9:48 a.m. EST – Agent Worley’s crime scene diagram has been admitted into evidence. She tells the defense that none of their diagrams are completed to scale.
9:35 a.m. EST – Court has resumed. SLED Agent Melinda Worley is taking the stand again to be cross-examined by Dick Harpootlian for the defense.
8:59 a.m. EST – Oh, and Nancy Grace is here … sheesh.
8:51 a.m. EST – I will be in the courtroom for most of the morning. Turning the live feed over to the inimitable Jenn Wood to keep (Will Folks).
8:49 a.m. EST – CONFIRMED …
8:35 a.m. EST – Sources telling this news outlet South Carolina attorney general Alan Wilson was spotted this morning with state prosecutors in Walterboro, S.C. Does Wilson plan to appear in court today with his team? The presence – or absence – of the attorney general was a hotly discussed item in and around the courthouse last week. Count on this news outlet to keep our readers aware if we spot Wilson on his way into the Colleton County courthouse.
8:02 a.m. EST – Interesting …
7::44 a.m. EST – Courthouse is abuzz this morning … not sure what’s going on but one source indicated “someone important” is arriving later today.
Here’s hoping they aren’t referring to Nancy Grace …
7:18 a.m. EST – As I left Columbia this morning my kids were still talking about their behind-the-scenes tour of the Colleton County courthouse on Friday afternoon. Thanks again to clerk of court Becky Hill and her staff for giving them a history lesson (and some candy) on their visit.
7:05 a.m. EST – The expectations game … Alex Murdaugh’s lead attorney, state senator Dick Harpootlian, had a rough first week but I fully expect him to bounce back this week. Harpootlian needs a strong start – which means SLED crime scene tech Melinda Worley had probably be ready for some fierce questioning. Remember, prior to court adjourning on Friday, Harpootlian indicated he would need “at least two hours” with Worley.
7:00 a.m. EST – Hitting the road from Columbia, South Carolina en route to Walterboro for day six of the Murdaugh trial … (Will Folks)
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Where is the live video feed for today?
Elizabeth Riley (who ever she is) needs to pay closer attention. They DID photograph the “footprint” on Mrs. Mudaugh’s calf, they just didn’t use an “L” scale. We know about the smudge because there IS a photograph of it.
Cops totally screwed the crime scene . Surprised they found the bodies !!
Fits News has suggested his guilt from the beginning in order to sensationalize this tragedy and boost their ratings! Innocent until Proven Guilty!
Prosecution is suggesting that if you own more than one gun you are a murderer !!
prosecution is showing that 2 killers don’t show up to a planned double homicide needing to borrow guns, i think killers would be far more likely to bring their own weapons
If it was a hit (which it was not), the killers must have had ninja training. Able to enter the property and kill both at close range and leave the premises without Alex knowing or hearing the gunshots. All done within a 10-15 minute time frame. AH-MA-Zing!
if there is blood from the victims inside Murdaugh’s car, that’s a wrap
I’m curious, I can’t find any reporting to answer this. Rogan Gibson communicates with Paul eve of murders both via calls and text. Rogan then attempts to contact Paul a number of times and gets no response. He is finally driven to text Maggie to have Paul call him and again receives no response from Maggie. Yet 24 minutes later Alex Murdaugh starts making a series of four calls to Rogan and Rogan doesn’t answer them? That seems odd to me. Has there been any testimony as to why Rogan didn’t answer?