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LIVE FEED – ‘Murdaugh Murders’ Trial: Day Twenty-Three

News and notes from South Carolina’s ‘Trial of the Century.’

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Will he or won’t he? And will it be today?

Those are the questions dominating discussion as dawn breaks on day twenty-three of disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh’s double homicide trial in Walterboro, S.C.

The question of whether – and when – Murdaugh will testify in his own defense has been hotly debated since the beginning of these proceedings. Multiple media outlets have reported that Murdaugh will take the stand today, but as of 8:00 a.m. EST today, sources familiar with the situation indicated no final decision had been made.

Obviously that could change in an instant, which is why you’ll want to keep close tabs on our livestream/ live feed today …

UPDATE: MURDAUGH EXPECTED TO TESTIFY

Should Murdaugh testify (against his attorneys’ advice, incidentally), there will be no initial limits on what prosecutors will be allowed to ask him on cross-examination. Yesterday, S.C. circuit court judge Clifton Newman rejected a motion from the defense seeking to establish “parameters” for the waiver of Murdaugh’s Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

If Murdaugh moves forward with testifying, what awaits him on cross-examination would be nothing short of “medieval” and would likely cover “significant new ground,” according to a well-placed prosecutorial source.

What sort of ground?

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Again, stay tuned …

Murdaugh is the scion of an influential Lowcountry legal dynasty – a man who once led the Palmetto State’s powerful trial lawyers’ lobby. Today, he sits at the epicenter of a maze of alleged criminality known as the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.

In addition to a host of other alleged crimes, 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 – part of the Lowcountry region of the Palmetto State which his famous family ruled like a fiefdom for more than a century.

Keep track of the latest developments in the Palmetto State’s ‘Trial of the Century’ on our live feed below …

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THE POLLS …

From the opening gavel of this trial, we have launched two daily 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 perceptions of Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence related to the murders of his two alleged victims have evolved over the course of the trial.

As of yesterday,  91 percent of respondents believed Murdaugh was guilty of killing his wife compared to roughly four percent who said he was not guilty and five percent who said they were unsure. These percentages were roughly identical to the responses received when our audience was asked whether they believed Murdaugh killed his son.

Here are today’s polls …

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QUESTION ONE …

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Based on the information you have now, is Alex Murdaugh guilty or not guilty of the murder of Maggie Murdaugh?

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You have already voted on this poll!
Please select an option!

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    QUESTION TWO …

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    Based on the information you have now, is Alex Murdaugh guilty or not guilty of the murder of Paul Murdaugh?

    Thank you for voting
    You have already voted on this poll!
    Please select an option!

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      THE FEED …

      5:33 p.m. EST – Judge Newman has recessed for the day. Court will resume at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, February 24, 2023.

      5:17 p.m. EST – Waters asks Murdaugh about Deon Martin. He doesn’t specifically recall Deon having a head injury. He thinks highly of Martin’s parents.

      5:11 p.m. EST – Murdaugh tells Waters, “You keep talking about what I did with Russell Laffitte and what I want to let you know is that I did this and I’m the one that took people’s money that I shouldn’t have taken. And that Russell Laffitte was not involved in helping me do that.”

      5:06 p.m. EST – Murdaugh states that Russell Laffitte thought borrowing money from the Plyler girls was a good investment as it was a higher interest rate.

      4:49 p.m. EST – Waters goes through more settlements for Hakeem Pinckney and Arthur Badger. Waters asks Murdaugh if he had land deals going bad around that time. Murdaugh states he thinks it may have been before that point.

      4:49 p.m. EST – Murdaugh states, “And Mr. Waters, just to try to get through this quicker.” Waters quickly quips back, “I know you want to get through this quicker but we’re not. So answer the question.” Murdaugh seems frustrated and replies, “You have charged me with murdering my wife and my son. And I have sat here for all these weeks listening to all this financial stuff that I did wrong, that I’m embarrassed about. I’m happy to talk to you about as much of that as you want to talk about. I’m required to talk about it as much as you want to talk about it. But the fact is, is I cannot specifically remember sitting down and the details that you’re asking me for. That may not be true, because in some situations, I may not have had to do that. They may have just trusted me to do it. Okay, so that’s my point is I misled them. There’s no question about that.” He explains he cannot provide exact details, but states, “I can say I did wrong. I stole money that wasn’t mine. And I shouldn’t have done it.”

      4:45 p.m. EST – Waters begins with Natasha Thomas’ settlement. Thomas received about $2 million and the firm got $800,000. Murdaugh cannot remember sitting down with Thomas to explain her settlement. Murdaugh says, “I admit, candidly, in all of these cases, Mr. Waters did I took money that was not mine. And I shouldn’t have done it.”

      4:40 p.m. EST – Murdaugh confirms he had an addiction for approximately 20 years. Waters asks if he knows when he started stealing from clients. Murdaugh says, “I cannot tell you the exact time. I don’t deny that I did it, but I can’t tell you the exact time that I first did it.” Waters seems frustrated and wants to go through the financial crimes with Murdaugh despite Murdaugh stating he takes him at his word.

      4:38 p.m. EST – Waters asks Murdaugh if he knows when Colleton County Sheriff Andy Strickland was charged. Murdaugh doesn’t know the exact date. Waters asks Murdaugh if in fall of 2020 his “friend” Andy Strickland was indicted and lost his job for a financial and corruption investigation. Griffin objects. Judge Newman sustains.

      4:34 p.m. EST – When asked if he used his badge the night of the boat crash to access areas he should not have had access to, Murdaugh says he did not. Murdaugh states he “never at any point in time told anyone involved in the boat crash not to cooperate with law enforcement.”

      4:32 p.m. EST – Murdaugh agrees that at some point he had to make a conscious decision to bring his badge, but states he doesn’t think he hung it out of his pocket on purpose.

      4:24 p.m. EST – Murdaugh says he doesn’t recall having the badge with him the night of the boat crash. Waters shows him an image from that night with the badge hanging out of his pocket. Murdaugh doesn’t believe any of his law partners knew about his addiction.

      4:17 p.m. EST Waters asks Murdaugh if he ever referred to Paul as Pau Pau in any interviews. Murdaugh doesn’t really recall.

      4:11 p.m. EST – Waters asks Murdaugh if he kept the badge in his car to his advantage. Murdaugh confirms. He states he asked Eddie Gibson to put blue lights in his car.

      4:06 p.m. EST – Murdaugh confirms he was the primary source of income for Maggie, Buster and Paul Murdaugh. Waters shows Murdaugh two badges and admits them into evidence. Murdaugh says one is his grandfather’s badge and does not know where it was kept. Waters asks if he would dispute that it was recovered from the Mercedes on September 4, 2021. The other was his assistant solicitor badge that he kept in his car near the front seat. Waters asks if when he had it in his dash if it was face up or face down.

      3:57 p.m. EST – Waters asks, “You had a lot of friends in law enforcement and your family and you had a long association with the law enforcement community in this circuit. Is that correct?” Murdaugh responds yes. Murdaugh confirms he was an assistant solicitor and carried a badge. He states he did this primarily to spend time with his father.

      3:54 p.m. EST – Waters asks Murdaugh if he handled cases where he utilized data from automobiles. He replies he has, but says, “More so the blackbox event recorder many times in a wreck, the event record will go back and tell you things leading up to the wreck.”

      3:50 p.m. EST – Murdaugh graduated from law school in 1994. Following law school, he worked at Moss and Kuhn in Beaufort before joining his family law firm of PMPED. Waters makes him confirm the name of the firm changed due to his activities. Waters asks if he considered himself to be a successful trial attorney. Murdaugh confirms.

      3:46 p.m. EST – Waters asks Murdaugh about his family legacy. He talks about his great-grandfather Randolph Murdaugh Sr. and states he never met him because he died in 1940. He confirms his grandfather served as Solicitor from 1940 to 1986 when he retired because he was 72 years old. His father took over his term and ran for solicitor when it was up. He served as solicitor until 2006.

      3:42 p.m. EST – Court has resumed. Creighton Waters has begun his cross-examination of Alex Murdaugh. Waters begins, “Do you agree that the most important part of your testimony here today is explaining your lie for a year and a half that you are never down at those kennels at 8:44 p.m. Would you agree with that?” Murdaugh responds, “Yes, sir.”

      3:27 p.m. EST – During Paul’s eulogy, a friend of his said that Paul always said, “Be present. Appreciate where you are. The things you have. And the people around you.” He loved Paul. He did not kill Paul or Maggie. Judge Newman calls for a 10-minute recess and then the State will begin cross-examination.

      3:24 p.m. EST – Murdaugh describes Paul, “He was bright. He’s the most inquisitive young man. He wanted to be a part of everything if you were working I can remember as a little boy, you’d be working on something. It didn’t matter what it was. His little head was gonna come in their nose in there to see what you were doing. He was a man’s man. He was 100% Country Boy, he was tough. He can catch any fish. He could run any piece of equipment. He could use any tool.” He further says, “He cared about people. He was fiercely, fiercely loyal.”

      3:21 p.m. EST – Murdaugh explains how feminine she was but says, “But then she had two boys…And I mean, she changed everything. She became a boy’s mom.” He says Maggie wanted a big family but pregnancy did not suit her. She was sick the entire time she was pregnant with both boys.

      Alex Murdaugh listens to testimony during his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023. Grace Beahm Alford/The Post and Courier/Pool

      3:18 p.m. EST – Griffin asks Murdaugh about Maggie and Murdaugh’s relationship with her and Murdaugh says, “she was just as beautiful inside as she was outside. She was so adventurous and you couldn’t tell her something was good or bad. She wanted to find out for herself. She wanted to do it and see, experience it on her own and form her own opinion.” He continues saying, “She had a laugh that…you didn’t even have to know what was funny. You hear her laugh? You would laugh.”

      3:17 p.m. EST – Murdaugh says, “I mean, I knew all this was coming to a head. I knew how humiliating was going to be for my son. I’ve been through so much at the time and in a bad place that it seemed like a better thing to do.” He tells Griffin he had $12 million in life insurance and the beneficiary was Maggie Murdaugh.

      3:14 p.m. EST – Instead of going to meet Cory Fleming, Murdaugh called a person to bring him more pills. He says he doesn’t know if he brought him more pills or not because by the time he met him, he had started going into withdrawl and changed his plans. He says instead he asked that person, who he identifies as Eddie Smith, to shoot him.

      3:08 p.m. EST – Murdaugh says on September 3, 2021 he was confronted by his law partners for stealing. He tells Griffin when he asked Blanca for his insurance cards that it was because he wanted to go to rehab. He says that after meeting with Chris Wilson on September 4, 2021, he planned to go meet with Cory Fleming.

      3:00 p.m. EST – Murdaugh testifies he has been to a detox facility three times. The first time was in December 2017. Prior to that, he tried to detox at home with Maggie’s assistance. He’s now describing withdrawl symptoms in detail. Murdaugh claims to be opioid-free for 135 days.

      2:59 p.m. EST – Jim Griffin asks Murdaugh, “How did you get into such a financial predicament?” Murdaugh responds, “I’m not quite sure how I let myself get where I got but it came from battling an addiction for so many years.” He explains he hurt his knee playing football in college and had surgery. Within a couple of years, he began having knee issues. He began taking hydrocodone a couple of years before his last knee surgery in 2004. He was taking so much of that that he moved on to oxycodone.

      2:53 p.m. EST – Murdaugh says there were several million dollars of equity in Moselle property. He points out that the entire Moselle property was 100% in Maggie’s name and the Edisto property was 50% in her name. If he wanted to get a second mortgage, he would just ask her to sign the paper and she would. After she died, that process became much more complicated.

      Buster Murdaugh, Lynn Goette, Liz Murdaugh and John Marvin Murdaugh (Dylan Nolan/FITSNews)

      2:51 p.m. EST – When asked about his father’s condition, Murdaugh testifies that the information he received was actually more positive than indicated as out of all the things they were checking him for, pneumonia was less concerning than the other possibilities. He does say that the next day they found out his father’s condition was worse than they thought and he was terminal.

      2:48 p.m. EST – Murdaugh tells Jim Griffin there wasn’t an immediate urgency following that conversation with Seckinger, “So while I’m sure it registered with me, that I got to deal with this, at that particular time wasn’t anything that was a big deal.”

      2:44 p.m. EST – Court has resumed. Griffin has asked Murdaugh about his conversation with Jeanne Seckinger on June 7, 2021. Regarding this conversation, “There was some level of concern because she’s asking me about money that I took that I wasn’t supposed to have. So certainly I had some level of concern, but it wasn’t… it wasn’t a very big concern.”

      1:21 p.m. EST – Murdaugh tells Griffin that he never stayed another night at Moselle. He stayed with his brothers and Maggie’s parents often and sometimes went to their Edisto home. He says he also stayed at John Parker’s guest house. Indicating that his clothes were spread out in multiple places. Judge Newman calls for a one hour and 15 minute lunch break.

      1:10 p.m. EST – Jim Griffin asks Murdaugh what his understanding of the purpose of the August 11, 2021 meeting with SLED. He says he thought it was to give him an update, but by the end of the meeting, it was clear he was a suspect.

      1:00 p.m. EST – Jim Griffin is establishing where Murdaugh stayed on each of the nights after the slayings. He asks if he took a blue tarp to Almeda following his dad’s funeral, he says no. He does not recognize the blue rain jacket.

      12:53 p.m. EST – Griffin asks Murdaugh what his understanding was of the reason SLED was interviewing him on June 7, 2021. Waters objects stating it isn’t relevant and Judge Newman sustains. Murdaugh testifies that he was insistent that data be obtained from his Suburban and the phones because, “It would demonstrate that I couldn’t have done this.”

      12:50 p.m. EST – When asked if he recalls SLED searching the house at Moselle, he says he doesn’t recall but he knew SLED was coming in confirming that “we made the house available for them to come in there.” He says he provided Maggie’s phone passcode to SLED. He testifies that Maggie used location services on her phone all the time and loved using the “Find my Friends” app.

      12:47 p.m. EST – When they left Moselle, he rode with Buster and Brooklyn to Almeda and stayed at his parent’s house. He tells Griffin the next day they went back to Moselle. He can’t recall what time. Griffin asks him if it is hard to recall start and stop times around the homicides, he says, “To do it off the top of my head is very difficult.”

      12:44 p.m. EST – When asked about the shirt he was wearing, he says there is no way he had high velocity blood spatter on him. He also states there is no way he was near Paul and Maggie when they got shot.

      12:41 p.m. EST – When asked if he recalls getting blood on himself when going to check on Paul and Maggie, Murdaugh says he did on his fingertips. He says if the blood on the steering wheel was fresh, he put it there. If not, Maggie did because she drove his car all the time.

      12:38 p.m. EST – Court has resumed. Direct examination of Alex Murdaugh by Jim Griffin continues.

      12:23 p.m. EST – Judge Newman has called for a 10 minute break.

      12:21 p.m. EST – When asked if he read the text message from Michael Gunn, he states, “I can promise you I didn’t read any text messages.” Regarding the Whaley’s search on his Google search, Murdaugh says that it was a restaurant they went to and got takeout from often and it must have been in his browser.

      12:19 p.m. EST – Murdaugh says he called his brothers Randy and John Marvin when he hung up with 9-1-1. He says he also tried to call Rogan Gibson. When asked why, Murdaugh says that Rogan’s house was only 2 miles away. He wanted someone there with him. He did not see Rogan’s name on Paul’s phone.

      12:17 p.m. EST – Griffin asks Murdaugh about the threats Paul was receiving. He says there wasn’t a police report filed. He also states he knows that Paul met with student counseling service at school and with the Dean of Students.

      12:07 p.m. EST – Murdaugh tells Griffin he grabbed the gun off the pool table. When asked why he put a 16-gauge shell in the gun, he says, “Obviously, I didn’t realize what I was doing.” When asked why he went back to the house to get a gun, he says, “I didn’t know.”

      12:03 p.m. EST – The part of the call where Murdaugh says the last time he saw Maggie and Paul was 1.5 to 2 hours ago plays. Murdaugh tells Griffin the last time he saw Maggie and Paul was at 8:44 p.m. and about the time the 9-1-1 operator asked him that it was approximately 10:00-10:15 p.m. and points out that was around 1.5 hours prior to the call.

      12:01 p.m. EST – When asked what he meant when he said, “I should have known.” He replies he was referring to the “vile” threats he received on social media.

      11:58 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says he knew they had not shot themselves. Griffin asks where the dogs were and Murdaugh says they were in the kennels. When asked if he did anything at the kennel after they called 9-1-1, he says he looked for a flashlight and a gun. He didn’t do anything with the hose.

      Results of poll on our livestream:

      11:54 a.m. EST – Griffin stops the recording and asks Murdaugh what he meant when he said, “I’ve been up to it now and it’s bad.” Murdaugh replies, “Talking about what I saw. What y’all saw pictures of. I mean it was bad. It was terrible.”

      11:51 a.m. EST – Griffin asks what side of Paul he was on and he says the opposite side of his car. He says he put the phone back on him. He didn’t see any messages on Paul’s phone. Griffin asks if Murdaugh touched Maggie and Murdaugh says, “I did.” When asked where, he says he thinks he tried to touch her down around her waist but he doesn’t know. He says he knows he went back and forth between them, “I know I did.” Griffin plays the 9-1-1 call for Murdaugh in court.

      11:48 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says he went to Maggie and Paul when he was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator. He says at some point he knows he tried to check him for a pulse and he knows he tried to turn him over. He doesn’t know why he tried to turn him over, “Done the way he’s done… I could see I could see his brain laying on the sidewalk.” He wasn’t able to turn him over.

      11:45 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says he went to the main house and Maggie and Paul weren’t there. He states when he got there he thinks he would have tried to call them. He drove down to the kennels. Griffin asked what he saw and Murdaugh says what he saw was, “So bad.” He says he saw them on the ground when he pulled up and thinks he got out of his car. Then he ran back to his car and called 9-1-1.

      11:35 a.m. EST – Murdaugh tells Griffin, “The first thing I did was I tried to I tried to knock on the door. The door was locked. I knocked on the door. Shelly didn’t hear me.” Griffin asks, “And then what do you do next?” Murdaugh responds, “I called my mom’s house to let Shelley know I was there. Please come let me in.” He says his mom wasn’t very agitated so he didn’t stay long.

      11:30 a.m. EST – Murdaugh testifies that he entered into the back door because it went straight to the breakfast room where his dad usually sat.

      11:28 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says he parked where he always did behind his parents’ home. He states he parked to the right of the satellite dish in the picture.

      11:25 a.m. EST – Murdaugh recalls his conversation with Barbara Mixon and says his mom was agitated because Murdaugh’s dad wasn’t there. Barbara told him, “Your mom’s agitated. You need to check on her. I gave her medicine. She’s resting.”

      11:23 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says he “knows” Bubba had on a collar, but not sure if Grady did. Murdaugh says it didn’t take long to get the chicken out of Bubba’s mouth because Bubba usually brings them to him because he was proud. He says he went straight back to the house in the air conditioning and says the T.V. was on. He says he dozed off and got up off the couch and made up his mind that he was going to go and visit his mom.

      11:19 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says Cash was still in the kennel when he got there. He states Paul had tracking collars on Bubba and Grady. He said Bubba had a tendency to run and it made it easier to find him. He says he put the chicken on top of the portable dog carrier after he got it out of Bubba’s mouth and the chicken ultimately died. After this, he went back to the house in the golf cart.

      11:15 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says that the dogs were out marking the trees and that’s why he believed they hadn’t been out long before he got down to the kennels. He says Grady (dog) was chasing the guineas which is normal. He said the longer the dogs are out of the kennels the more they spread out around the property. He says he wasn’t there long before Bubba got ahold of the chicken. He says that Bubba didn’t try to kill the chicken.

      11:12 a.m. EST – Griffin asks him to clarify that the reason he didn’t want to go to the kennels because he was tired. He says it was the reason. He said it’s clear now that Maggie rode down to the kennels with Paul. He said he put his feet up and changed his mind and decided to go to the kennels. He drove down there in a golf cart. He said when he got there, it was just like he thought, “a little bit of chaos.” He says Maggie had let the dogs out.

      Defense attorney Jim Griffin questions Alex Murdaugh as he gives testimony in his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. Grace Beahm Alford/The Post and Courier/Pool

      11:07 a.m. EST – Murdaugh tells Griffin that Maggie wanted him to go to the kennels but he didn’t want to go. He said it was hot, he had just showered, and the kennels were chaotic. When asked about the days leading up to the homicides, he tells Griffin that he stayed with his father in the hospital on Friday night. He says that him and Maggie had plans to meet Buster and Brooklyn in Columbia, SC for baseball games. They stayed in Columbia on Saturday night. Murdaugh states that he stayed at his parents’ home in Almeda with Maggie on Sunday night.

      11:04 a.m. EST – Murdaugh testifies he was sweaty due to his size at the time and his use of prescription drugs. He changed into the clothes collected by SLED. After the shower, he went downstairs and Paul was almost done eating. He says he thinks Maggie prepared a plate for him. He says they ate in the den in front of the T.V. Maggie ate off of a T.V. tray and he ate while sitting on the couch. Paul moved on to do something else. He says he didn’t know where he went, but knows from the records now that he was around the house.

      11:02 a.m. EST – Murdaugh says that after looking at all the records, he realizes that he arrived at Moselle a little before 7:00 p.m. and Paul arrived shortly after him. He states Maggie arrived a little after 8:00 p.m. and when she arrived, he was at the shop with Paul. He says Paul stayed at the shop and he went to the house and said hi to Maggie and took a shower. He confirms the clothes he had on in the Snapchat video were the clothes he had on at work earlier that day.

      10:59 a.m. EST – When asked about the Snapchat video taken by Paul with Murdaugh and the tree, Murdaugh says that was taken in the Sawtooth Oak plot. When asked if he was having a good time, Murdaugh breaks down and says, “You couldn’t be around Paul without having a good time.”

      10:55 a.m. EST – When Paul and Alex arrived at Moselle, he states they drove out to the dove field in Buster’s truck. He said it was clear that dove field was dead and they continued to drive around the property. He says they went to the duck pond, several food plots, and single oak stand across the street. Murdaugh states, “I can remember the duck pond specifically because I had helped “pawpaw” plant the dove field and the corn in the dove field.” He continues saying that Paul planted the duck pond by himself and “he’s making a really big deal to me about how much better the corn was doing in duck pond.”

      10:51 a.m. EST – Regarding June 7, 2021, Murdaugh says that Maggie was leaving to go out of town. She had a doctor appointment and had to go to Edisto because there was work being done on the house there. He says he always asked Maggie to come back home and stay with him. Murdaugh says he had known that CB Rowe had sprayed the sunflowers, but he had been out of town. Paul let him know they had to re-plant the dove field.

      10:50 a.m. EST – Murdaugh continues, “And all those things coupled together after finding them coupled with my distrust for SLED caused me to have paranoid thoughts. Normally when these paranoid thoughts would hit me, I could take a deep breath real quick. Think about it, reason my way through it and just get past it really quickly.” He apologizes to his family and tells Griffin once he started to lie, he continued to lie. “What a tangled web we weave…”

      10:48 a.m. EST – When asked why he lied, Murdaugh responds, “As my addiction evolved over time I would get into situations or circumstances where I will get paranoid thinking. It could be anything that triggered it – might be a look somebody gave me, it might be a reaction somebody had to something I did, it might be a policeman following me in a car.”

      10:45 a.m. EST – Griffin asks Murdaugh if he murdered Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. Murdaugh responds, “No. I did not.” Murdaugh confirms it was his voice on the video at the kennels at 8:44 p.m. on June 7, 2021. He testifies he lied to Agent Owen and Detective Rutland.

      Alex Murdaugh gives testimony in his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. Grace Beahm Alford/The Post and Courier/Pool

      10:37 a.m. EST – Court has resumed. The jury is being brought into the courtroom. The defense calls Richard Alexander Murdaugh to the stand. Jim Griffin is conducting direct examination for the defense.

      10:20 a.m. EST – The jury has been sent to the jury room for a short break.

      10:19 a.m. EST – Tuten states he is aware that Paul’s truck had gone into the shop for repairs and says before he dropped it off, he cleaned the car out. He states on June 7, 2021, he saw the black Ford F-150 at the house. No further questions.

      10:17 a.m. EST – When he got to Moselle, Alex hugged him and repeated twice, “The f***ing boat wreck.” He also asked him to call Rogan Gibson. No further questions. Margaret Fox is on re-direct.

      10:14 a.m. EST – The last communication Tuten had with Paul was a phone call and the Snapchat video. Tuten says around 10:30 or 11:00 p.m. his mom called and said something had happened at Moselle. He tried to call and text Paul and got no response so he drove to Moselle. He states when he arrived, they would not let him in the kennel driveway so he went to the main driveway with the brick columns.

      10:11 a.m. EST – Tuten says they had a plan to meet at Moselle that afternoon to hook the tractor up and plow the sunflower field. Around 7 p.m. on June 7, 2021, Paul sent Tuten a video of the Highboy because it was leaking. This is the piece of farm equipment they use to spray the fields. Tuten confirms he saw the 8:44 p.m. video and says the voices on the video are those of Paul, Maggie and Alex.

      10:07 a.m. EST – Tuten testifies that if they were down at the kennels and Maggie or Alex were at the house, they would come down to the kennels and check in on them more often than not. On June 7, 2021, Tuten says he spoke with Paul on the phone in the morning and the afternoon about the sunflower fields. He went to Moselle that morning to check on the sunflowers and testifies they were dying. The sunflowers are important to the farm to attract doves. The decision was made to till the field and re-plant the sunflowers.

      10:02 a.m. EST – Tuten says that on Halloween of 2017-2018 he rode with Paul to a party. He says they had been at Moselle later in the day and the .300 Blackout was in the truck. When they came out of the party, the gun had been stolen. He confirms that he had a Benelli Black Eagle shotgun he favored. When Paul’s .300 Blackout was stolen, Paul used Buster’s as his own since he was away at college.

      9:58 a.m. EST – The State is conducting cross-examination. Tuten testifies that Paul was the kind of guy who if he needed something, he would be there no matter what time of day it was. Tuten clarifies that he is closer in age to Buster than Paul.

      9:55 a.m. EST – Margaret Fox asks Tuten if Paul had a 300 blackout with him and in his trucks. Tuten says that he did often. She then asks if there were ever guns left in the shed by the dog kennels and Tuten responds, “Sometimes. Not a whole lot, but there were, you know sometimes they were left there and then picked up later.”

      9:53 a.m. EST – Tuten states the Murdaugh family had a great relationship and they were always laughing. He says Murdaugh’s relationship with Paul was good and that Murdaugh was patient with Paul.

      9:51 a.m. EST – The defense calls Nolan Tuten to the stand. Nolan has known the Murdaugh family his entire life and was close friends with Paul Murdaugh.

      9:48 a.m. EST – Judge Newman to Alex Murdaugh, “Have you made a decision as to whether you’re going to testify?” Murdaugh responds, “Yes, sir.” Judge Newman asks, “What is your decision?” Murdaugh replies, ‘I am going to testify.”

      9:45 a.m. EST – Judge Newman, “The court makes no recommendations pro or con. I have no role other than advising the defendant of his rights and to ensure that he understands his rights, so that he will make an informed decision with regard to testifying, after consultation with counsel and anyone else who they might want to testify or consult with. Do you wish me to engage in that colloquy at this time, Mr. Murdaugh?” Dick Harpootlian responds, “Your Honor, I think it would be good for you to engage that colloquy.” Judge Newman proceeds to instruct Murdaugh.

      9:42 a.m. EST – Dick Harpootlian states, “We’re going to spend the next day or two or three with the state going through the minute details” of each of the financial crimes.” Judge Newman replies, “The court will rule when those objections are made. When a defendant takes the stand and testifies, he has no right to set forth to the jury all facts which may be favorable without exposing himself to cross examination.”

      9:27 a.m. EST – In place and ready to take copious notes regardless of whether or not Alex Murdaugh takes the stand today (but obviously hoping he does). – Jenn Wood

      8:24 a.m. EST – Reporter John Monk of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper is also reporting Murdaugh WILL take the stand.

      8:19 a.m. EST – Reporter Avery Wilks of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier is reporting Murdaugh WILL take the stand …

      8:15 a.m. EST – This is the general consensus …

      8:07 a.m. EST – “Bring out the gimp?”

      7:59 a.m. EST – On the road to Walterboro with the amazing Jenn Wood … in addition to running our daily live feed, she has been digging into some of the new drug connections we have uncovered in relation to this case. No matter what happens with this trial, we will be following up on those important connections …

      7:44 a.m. EST – In case you haven’t watched it yet, the new Netflix documentary on the Murdaugh saga is absolutely incredible …

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      19 comments

      Carolyn Blount Top fan February 23, 2023 at 10:22 am

      Here comes another crisis,

      Reply
      MemoryQueen Top fan February 23, 2023 at 7:55 pm

      The Clerk really should have used better judgment than to have her Parker’s Kitchen cup on display on her desk like that. Truly in poor taste given the circumstances.

      Reply
      Ralph Hightower Top fan February 23, 2023 at 10:38 am

      “You fool!”
      – B. A. Baracus, The A-Team (CBS)

      Murdaugh has lied to SLED before. Lies have been a part of Murdaugh’s life from his stealing and embezzling money from the firm and clients. What’s going to stop him from lying again? He’s not going to get the death penalty. If he is sentenced to the max for his “white collar” crimes, his prison term will be greater than his expected remaining lifespan.

      Reply
      M. Pappas February 23, 2023 at 11:33 am

      The State is going to have a field day with him. He admits under oath he lied about being at the kennel, and now admits its him in Paul’s video at 8:45pm. Says he freed the chicken from the dog, put it’s carcass on the kennel roof, then immediately went back to the house, did or didn’t doze off for a minute, then decided to go see his mom….yet somehow didn’t hear all of the gunshots, then tried calling and texting Maggie that he was leaving WHEN HE KNEW EXACTLY WHERE HE LEFT THEM 10 MINUTES AGO and could have pulled into the kennel area and told them himself, and just left.

      Reply
      Nanker Phelge February 23, 2023 at 11:58 am

      “You couldn’t be around Paul without having a good time.”

      Mallory Beach would beg to differ…

      Reply
      Archer Creek Bridge February 23, 2023 at 1:03 pm

      Mallory’s unavailable for comment.

      Reply
      stephen henry Top fan February 23, 2023 at 12:32 pm

      Stephen Smith and Gloria Satterfield had almost identical head injuries. Both were CLEARLY murdered, although there is almost zero chance of justice prevailing in either case.

      Reply
      Ralph Hightower Top fan February 23, 2023 at 1:34 pm

      If Murdaugh flashed anger under “friendly fire”, er, friendly questioning from one of his defense attorneys, just imagine what the fireworks will be when Creighton Waters gets to question Murdaugh.

      Reply
      Avatar photo
      The Colonel Top fan February 23, 2023 at 3:29 pm

      What a load of self serving nonsense! Wonder who “Timmy” was, why his former girlfriend says he beat her, why he needed bailing out?

      Reply
      Ralph Hightower Top fan February 23, 2023 at 1:39 pm

      Could it be that Murdaugh is angling for a mistrial?

      Reply
      Mark February 23, 2023 at 2:11 pm

      Why the inexplicable and strange pauses, confusion and stumbling around for answers? For an alleged highly credited attorney, despite the traumatic and mortifying events of June 7, why is Alex appearing so absent?

      Reply
      Astonished Top fan February 23, 2023 at 2:16 pm

      So if Alex was in a paranoid condition, how does he know that he didn’t kill them and doesn’t remember??

      Reply
      Gx Top fan February 23, 2023 at 3:13 pm

      What i’m gathering is that Alekckck is the true victim here. #recoveringaddict

      Reply
      Bystander Top fan February 23, 2023 at 4:02 pm

      Well there’s some motive for you – protect Moselle – make it harder for the suing parties to access that asset.

      I hope the State asks how much oxy he had taken that night and when and then presents what oxy does to a person’s judgement and actions

      Reply
      Avatar photo
      The Colonel Top fan February 23, 2023 at 5:21 pm

      If “Elick” tries to use “ineffective counsel” as a reason for his appeal, he’s going to have to name himself.

      Waters is killing him. Waters finally called him on his pat “I was wrong” response to every question. His “lawyerly answers” are making him look guilty rather than sympathetic. What he “can’t remember” is astounding when you consider we’re talking millions of dollars.

      Reply
      Bystander Top fan February 23, 2023 at 5:23 pm

      He’ll ask him where the clothes are, right?

      Reply
      Bob Keeley Top fan February 23, 2023 at 5:44 pm

      Creighton is so focused on intimidating Murdaugh, he didn’t stop to think simply how to rephrase his question. I think he might have had traction if he asked Alex if he used terms like “settlement is in process” or “defendants are trying to determine how much they are willing to settle for.” Or “there are some things that will take more time to prove”. Or even “we lost”. That might refresh his recollection. He professes to remember only didn’t tighten the noose.

      Reply
      Elizabeth Caron Top fan February 23, 2023 at 5:52 pm

      WOW!!

      Reply
      Paul Baker Top fan February 23, 2023 at 8:21 pm

      He needs chime in , mr walters I stole the money as you say and for it I probably mostly likely will go to jail for rest of my life but I didn’t not kill Maggie and Paul , then break down . At this point defense council move for short recess so mr murdaugh can compose himself . A deep heart felt cry . Just remember you can kick a biting dog to point people feel sorry for it . Ask about lies he told sled .

      Reply

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