Welcome back to our live feed from the double homicide trial of disbarred attorney/ accused killer Alex Murdaugh – the man at the center of the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.
Murdaugh 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, South Carolina on June 7, 2021. He pleaded not guilty and is currently standing trial in Walterboro, S.C.
On Thursday, Murdaugh’s double homicide trial – which has attracted international attention – spawned a “trial within a trial” as prosecutors and defense attorneys battled over the admissibility of key evidence and testimony related to the myriad of financial crimes of which Murdaugh also stands accused.
That debate will pick up again today as proceedings recommence at 9:30 a.m. EST.
For yesterday’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 …
5:28 p.m. EST – Judge Newman has called recess until 9:30 a.m. Monday, February 6, 2023.
5:16 p.m. EST – The defense has completed their cross examination. The State will now begin redirect.
4:53 p.m. EST – Greer tells Griffin that he analyzed 23 pellets from the dog food storage room at Moselle. He testifies there are multiple different metals used in making pellets.
4:44 p.m. EST – From Mary S. on our livestream chat, “I totally love that this guy Greer CANNOT be rushed. You give him something to identify? He looks at it CLOSELY.” (Note: I agree with Mary. Greer’s confidence in his expertise is impressive.- Jenn Wood)
4:39 p.m. EST – Greer continues to confidently answer Jim Griffin’s questions about his analysis and testing of the ballistics. Griffin asks Greer if his opinion is based upon the conclusion that every .300 blackout manufactured anywhere in the world, will produce its own unique tool marks when a bullet cycles through. Greer asks if he can explain his opinion. Griffin says he needs to answer yes or no and then he can explain. He states his opinion is that those had all been cycled through the same firearm at one time.
4:28 p.m. EST – Greer states his understanding of the shell casings he tested was they came from a “shooting house.” Griffin asks if he knew there was an earthen bern there and if he had known that, would it have been helpful. Greer says they examine evidence that comes from all different types of crime scenes and cannot answer that question.
4:24 p.m. EST – Griffin asks Greer if his report said item 8 was fired by the same rifle or a rifle with similar characteristics. Greer responds that his results were inconclusive.
4:18 p.m. EST – Griffin is questioning Greer about a manual cycle that he had to complete on the .300 Blackout while he was testing the weapon.
4:16 p.m. EST – After a brief recess, Jim Griffin has begun cross examination of Paul Greer.
3:49 p.m. EST – Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters said back on January 24 that Greer’s testimony dealt with a “very significant piece of evidence.” He wasn’t kidding. This testimony may be a bit dry and dragging, but Greer is not only confirming this was a gun that belonged to the Murdaugh family – he is making it significantly harder on the defense to promote theories of random violence targeting the Murdaugh family.
3:45 p.m. EST – Greer just provided the most significant testimony yet for the prosecution as it relates to the missing murder weapon. According to him, the spent cartridge cases recovered by Maggie Murdaugh’s body had “matching mechanism marks” identical to the “weathered” spent cartridge cases found next to the main house at Moselle – and at the Moselle shooting range. That means these projectiles were “loaded into, extracted and ejected from the same firearm.”
3:41 p.m. EST – Jenn Wood taking a well-deserved break for a little bit. You guy are stuck with me again (Will Folks).
3:15 p.m. EST – Greer is explaining the jury how ammunition is compared microscopically to determine if a specific firearm fired a bullet that was utilized in the commission of a crime.
3:08 p.m. EST – Click here to read a breaking story by Will Folks about Curtis Eddie Smith.
3:02 p.m. EST – Greer is still identifying ballistic evidence.
2:52 p.m. EST – Greer is identifying ballistic evidence recovered from the scene. He also identifies a number of firearms recovered. Whenever he examines a firearm, he assures the jury the weapon is unloaded and safe to handle.
2:50 p.m. EST – Court has resumed after lunch. Judge Newman has asked for the jury to be brought back in. Direct examination of Paul Greer has resumed.
(Click to view)
1:08 p.m. EST – Greer tells the prosecution that prior to examining weapons and ammunition at SLED, he typically doesn’t know much about the case for which he is examining them.
12:56 p.m. EST – Greer is now explaining an AR platform. It is a semi-automatic rifle in its normal state.
12:52 p.m. EST – Greer is explaining how a shotgun works. He has two examples of a shotgun shell and explains how the projectiles/pellets exit the barrel.
12:51 p.m. EST – The State moves to admit Greer as an expert witness. No objections from the defense. FITS readers will recall Greer’s testimony was the focus of an extensive pre-trial hearing (prior to the jury being selected) which covered much of this testimony. Here is our coverage of that hearing …
12:43 p.m. EST – Paul Greer has been called to the stand by the State. He is employed as a firearms examiner with SLED.
12:31 p.m. EST – Waters states the next witness will be fairly lengthy and they need a moment to gather all the evidence. Judge Newman called a brief recess. Stay tuned.
12:27 p.m. EST – Jomar “Joe” Albayalde has been called to the stand by the State. Agent Albayalde confirms he collected buccal swabs from Randy Murdaugh and a DNA sample collected from Hepalito Torres and his son, Albelito Gonzales. (Not sure if I spelled that correctly- JW) They are entered into evidence with no objection. The State has no further questions. Harpootlian states he has no questions.
12:24 p.m. EST – The State has called Chandler Horney to the stand. Horney is an agent with SLED. She was involved in the murder investigation of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh. She confirms buccal swabs collected from Morgan Doughty and Miley Altman. They are entered into evidence with no objection. The State has no further questions. The defense has no questions.
12:20 p.m. EST – Lawrence Wiggins has been called to the stand by the State. He is the Chief of Police for the town of Allendale. In 2021, Chief Wiggins was employed by SLED. Wiggins confirms buccal swabs he collected from Roger Davis and Anthony Cook. They are admitted without objection. The State has no additional questions. The defense has no questions.
12:16 p.m. EST – The State calls Blake Johnson to the stand. Johnson is an Agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Buccal swabs he took from Claude B. Rowe and Conner Cook are admitted to evidence. The State has no further questions. The defense has no questions.
12:13 p.m. EST – The State is on re-direct. Darnell testifies that the latent print department and crime scene departments at SLED are different. He was not submitted any bloody prints in this case.
12:01 p.m. EST – Darnell states that fingerprints are 98-99% moisture.
11:52 am EST – Darnell testifies he swabbed Paul Murdaugh’s cell phone. Prints were not identified and rendered it no value for comparison. Evidence that there were prints that came in contact but were not comparable to anyone. Shotguns were examined, no identifiable prints produced.
11:47 am EST – Jury brought in. The State calls Tom Darnell of SLED, a fingerprint examiner. Darnell describes superglue fuming, a method of obtaining prints. Darnell was tasked to examine 300 Blackout shell casings. Darnell testifies there was no fingerprint evidence found, which isn’t out of the ordinary.
11:36 am EST – Witness testifies that throughout all the tracings they reflect the money taken was used for Murdaugh’s personal use, from 2011 through 2021.
11:29 am EST – Burney walks through a 1.29 million settlement that was dispersed through Murdaugh’s various accounts. Burney acknowledges a pattern of checks going to various names, Curtis Eddie Smith being the one most often recorded.
11:24 am EST – Burney testifies the flow of Murdaugh’s funds would move through several different accounts at different banks. Witness shown a document he states is a tracing summary from a MKF trust account, i.e. Satterfield money, and deposited into the fake Forge account and other accounts. Burney delineates various personal payments made from Satterfield settlement.
11:12 a.m. EST – The State has called Carson Burney to the stand. He is a forensic accountant with the State Grand Jury.
10:52 a.m. EST – Murdaugh told Satterfield they would receive around $100,000 each. In June of 2021, his family told him about media reports of a settlement in the case. He contacted Murdaugh around the time of the murders about the status of the case. Murdaugh told him they were still making progress and they would probably have it by the end of the year.
10:48 a.m. EST – Murdaugh told Satterfield that he was bringing another lawyer in because he can’t sue himself. The lawyer he brought in was Cory Fleming. Satterfield states that despite Fleming being his attorney, Murdaugh still seemed to handle the case and was who he spoke with about it. He also testifies that Chad Westendorf was his personal representative.
10:46 a.m. EST – Gloria worked for the Murdaugh’s as a housekeeper and babysitter. Michael tells Waters that he got to know the Murdaugh’s fairly well. After his mother passed away, he had a conversation with Alex Murdaugh where Murdaugh indicated he would help them sue his insurance company.
10:43 a.m. EST – Michael Satterfield states that his mother is Gloria Satterfield. She passed away on February 26, 2018. When Gloria died, she was an employee of Alex and Maggie Murdaugh for around 20 years.
10:42 a.m. EST – The State calls Michael Satterfield to the stand.
10:40 a.m. EST – Waters asks Malinowski if all of the allegations of theft from clients had come out, if Palmetto State bank would have continued to do business with him. He replies, “No Sir.”
10:36 a.m. EST – Griffin asks Malinowski if the Murdaugh’s name had come up in any FDIC audit. Malinowski states not to his knowledge. Griffin states he has no further questions
10:33 a.m. EST – Malinowski tells Griffin that Murdaugh did go into default on loans made to LLC’s in Murdaugh’s name – Redbeard and 0 United Drive. Griffin asks Malinowski if he was aware that on June 8, 2021, Maggie was supposed to meet an appraiser at their Edisto home. He states he was not aware.
10:24 a.m. EST – Jim Griffin asks Malinowski to clarify how many accounts Murdaugh had overdrawn on June 7, 2021. He states just one of Murdaugh’s accounts was overdrawn.
10:20 a.m. EST – Malinowski states that if it had come out that Murdaugh had been stealing money from his clients, the bank would not have loaned him money any longer. The State has no additional questions.
10:18 a.m. EST – Waters shows Malinowski a statement from a farm account in Murdaugh’s name with a negative balance of -$2456.23 dated June 7, 2021.
10:11 a.m. EST – Waters and Malinowski are going through Murdaugh’s loans line by line. They are extensive.
10:10 a.m. EST – Malinowski tells Waters the $750,000 loan was heavily under-collateralized.
9:55 a.m. EST – Malinowski is testifying about loans that were charged off for Alex Murdaugh. The board also discusses a $750,000 loan made by the bank to Alex Murdaugh. Malinowski states his only knowledge of this loan prior to the August 17, 2021 board meeting was discussion within an executive committee meeting. A July 16, 2021 wire transfer to the Wilson Law Group IOLTA account of $350,000 is entered into evidence. Malinowski states there was no paperwork explaining this transfer.
9:53 a.m. EST – Waters shows Malinowski a deposit checking account statement from August 6, 2021 showing an overdraft of around $347,000. Malinowski is shown a copy of the minutes from an August 17, 2021 PSB Board meeting. Malinowski says in this meeting there was a discussion about loans made to Murdaugh including a reference about Murdaugh selling the Moselle property. Malinowski states there were loans of over $3.5 million made to Murdaugh.
9:50 a.m. EST – On August 9, 2021, Norris Laffitte sent an email to the board asking for a full accounting of Mr. Murdaugh’s relationship to the bank. That sparked quite a bit of activity and conversation among bank employees. Shortly after that email was sent, a deposit was made into Murdaugh’s account of $400,000 to clear up an over $350,000 overdraft.
9:49 a.m. EST – Board meeting minutes from a July 20, 2021 Palmetto State Bank board meeting are entered into exhibit. There was no discussion of Alex Murdaugh’s finances at that meeting.
9:43 a.m. EST – Some background on Jan Malinowski’s involvement in this case can be found here. Malinowski is explaining the board structure and responsibilities of Palmetto State Bank.
9:40 a.m. EST – Court has resumed. The State calls Jan Malinowski to the stand for in camera testimony. Jan Malinowski is the President and CEO of Palmetto State Bank. He was appointed CEO in August of 2021.
8:12 a.m. EST – Lindsey Edwards is an amazing woman. We were proud to share her story.
8:10 a.m. EST – In case you missed our recap of yesterday’s proceedings …
8:04 a.m. EST – A big day ahead, people. Court reconvenes at 9:30 a.m. EST with two hours slated for additional in camera testimony (i.e. testimony heard without the jury present).
6:07 a.m. EST – I have to say, I have been super impressed by John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper over the last two weeks. Monk has not only been pushing through the trial with a bum shoulder, but he’s been providing me and other journalists covering these proceedings with pearls of wisdom on how to handle certain issues. I’ve been critical of Monk in the past – sometimes harshly so (and sometimes deservedly so) – but he has been incredibly magnanimous during this trial. A true pleasure to work with …
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Great to be able to watch at night after work. HELP! Any chance you can put the date of each hearing rather than Day of Trial? When going back at night I have no idea what day (ie day 4, Day 7, etc) the trial is. THANKS!!!!
Enjoy your coverage very much. We keep hearing that there was no benefit for Alex to take out Maggie and Paul — we know that his father was moved to hospice the day of the murder. So his death was imminent. Would there have been some financial advantage to Alex to have Maggie and Paul out of the picture before Randolph died and therefore completely excluded from the will.
Heard my 24-year-old talking about this case with some friends last night, they are all “Johnny come lately’s” to the case. One of them (who is from HHI) claimed that “…Randolph put out a hit for Paul and Magie just got in the way…”. I’ve heard a lot of crazy stuff in this case but that one was over the top (I did tell them that Randolph was 81, in hospice and died 3 days after the murders before walking aways as they immediately went “keyboard tapping crazy” looking for info…) Truth being stranger than fiction in the Murdaughdom though…
who is doing direct for the state on Carson Burney?
Kudos to you all…Watching the proceedings with all the malfeasance by Alex and coconspirators. This is the key and needs to be let in. This is the organized crime element and plays directly into the murders to shut up the wife and Paul’s suit. We know there were other lawyers, coroners, court clerks, Judges, bankers all involved(hence organized crime) to facilitate this fraud. This goes to the heart of how the overall State works. In developed States/countries insurance defense lawyers fight hard against a plaintiff seeking as little as 10,000 yet he was able to get huge settlements quickly no question’s asked.
I know about Russel Lafitte’s conviction but why did the testify ?
I don’t know of anyone who 1) hunts, 2) Lives in the country 3) owns guns 4) CARRIES A BADGE AND HAS THE RIGHT TO WEAR A FIREARM! 5) regularly travels dark country roads in an area known to be frequented by a notorious gang …AND HE DIDN’T HAVE A FIREARM OF ANY KIND IN HIS CAR?? A PISTOL IN THE GLOVE BOX?? He had to go to the house to get a gun?? …right.
I held out hope that Buster would separate himself from his deplorable father and rise above it all…disavow ANY Murdough money and start a new life…but his sitting back there, many times smirking when the Defense scores a point….
no hope for him.