Prosecutors looking to put disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh behind bars for life for the murder of his wife and son picked up some significant momentum during questioning on Friday morning.
And let’s be honest … that momentum came at a pivotal moment for the state in its heretofore directionally challenged case against Murdaugh.
To recap: 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, S.C. on June 7, 2021. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and is currently standing trial in Walterboro – a town in the Lowcountry region of the state which Murdaugh’s family ran like a fiefdom for more than a century.
On Friday morning, assistant attorney general John Meadors questioned former Murdaugh housekeeper Blanca Simpson about her interaction with family members before and after the murders.
Among other things, Simpson testified that Maggie Murdaugh expressed concern about the family’s finances in the aftermath of a 2019 boat crash case brought against multiple defendants by attorney Mark Tinsley (who testified earlier in the day).
According to Simpson, Maggie Murdaugh said her husband was aware of the amount of money being sought in connection with that case – an estimated $30 million – but felt he wasn’t being truthful with her about it.
Simpson testified Maggie was crying and told her “we don’t have that kind of money.” However, she also testified that Maggie said if she could give away everything she had in order to make the case go away, she would.
“I would do it in a heartbeat, I’ll start over,” Maggie told Simpson, according to the latter’s testimony. “We will start over.”
Obviously, the family never got that chance …
In her most compelling testimony, Simpson told enraptured jurors that Murdaugh attempted to convince her after the fact that he was wearing a different shirt than the one he was wearing on the night of the double homicide. This conversation reportedly took place in August of 2021 – shortly after Murdaugh had been confronted by officers of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) about his alibi being shredded by a video filmed by his late son Paul less than five minutes before he was murdered.
“B, I need to talk to you. Come here and sit down,” Murdaugh allegedly told Simpson.
She said the accused killer indicated he had a “bad feeling” and that “something wasn’t right.”
According to her testimony, Simpson said Murdaugh told her a video had been discovered – and asked if she remembered a him wearing “Vineyard Vines” shirt on the evening of the murders.
“You know … I was wearing that shirt that day,” Murdaugh allegedly told her.
Simpson testified she didn’t respond to Murdaugh because she was taken aback by his attempt to plant this information in her head. According to her, she remembered fixing his collar on that fateful day – and that he was wearing a “sea foam” colored polo shirt that was not manufactured by Vineyard Vines.
What made Simpson’s testimony so compelling? For starters, she is the second witness to allege that Murdaugh attempted to plant a particular narrative related to his alibi in her head.
On Monday, a former caregiver to Murdaugh’s mother – Mushelle “Shelley” Smith – told jurors she saw the accused killer cradling a blue tarp/ rain jacket as he went into the upstairs of his parents’ home at Almeda, S.C. several days after the murders. A blue rain jacket was later found wadded up in an upstairs closet inside that home – coated in copious amounts of gunshot residue.
Smith also claimed Murdaugh attempted to convince her after the murders that he had been at his parents’ home for 30-40 minutes – not the 15-20 minutes she recalled.
Smith’s recollection of the timeline of the night of the murders also contradicted what Murdaugh told investigators – and her testimony appears to be supported by vehicular data obtained from Murdaugh’s Chevrolet Suburban.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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I think Paul’s kennel video wasn’t discovered until 9 months after the murders when SLED was able to get into his phone. I was under the impression that Paul never texted it to Rogan. Paul’s tree SnapChat video was distributed to friends shortly after it was made. That’s the one that shows Alex’s clothes.
Watching “Harpolly” cross examination of Pathologist is pathetic. He may have been good years ago but needs to take a rest. I think he thinks of himself as a Matlock ( TV. Lawyer).