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MurdaughsTrial

‘Murdaugh Murders’ Trial – Defense Closes Strong

Alex Murdaugh’s brother provides compelling testimony … but prosecutors blast his claim of “full cooperation” from family.

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A little over a week ago, the state of South Carolina rested its case against disbarred lawyer Alex Murdaugh in dramatic fashion. Last Friday, the state delivered an absolute evisceration of the defendant – who stands accused of murdering his wife and son in cold blood.

On Monday, the defense rested … closing its case with compelling testimony from John Marvin Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh’s youngest brother.

John Marvin Murdaugh took the stand at a pivotal moment for his brother … whose decision to testify last week backfired calamitously when lead prosecutor Creighton Waters blew huge holes in his latest (and exponentially less believable) narrative of events from the night of these savage killings.

To recap: Alex 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 is in the middle of a maze of alleged criminality known as the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga.

In addition to a host of other alleged crimes (many of which he confessed to on the stand last week), Murdaugh is 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.

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John Marvin Murdaugh testified in graphic detail about what he witnessed in the aftermath of the shooting, describing his brother as “destroyed” and “broken.”

“I can promise you – words don’t do it justice,” Murdaugh said of his brother’s state of mind following the killings. “I would have to create a new word to describe how distraught he was.”

On the day after the killings, Murdaugh said he went down to the kennels where the crime took place to see it for himself. After receiving the all-clear from law enforcement, he said he was shocked by what he witnessed upon entering the feed room.

“I saw blood, I saw brains, I saw pieces of skull,” Murdaugh testified through sobs. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through in my life.”

Murdaugh set to work cleaning the crime scene, saying “no mother, brother, father, uncle … no one should ever have to go through that.”

“I couldn’t stop,” he said. “I had to do it for Paul. For some reason I though it was something I needed to do for Paul.”

(Click to View)

John Marvin Murdaugh, younger brother of Alex Murdaugh, wipes a tear while giving his testimony by defense attorney Jim Griffin during the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro on day 25 of Monday, February 27, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

John Marvin Murdaugh also said he made a vow to “find out who did this to him.” Asked at the conclusion of his testimony by his brother’s attorney, Jim Griffin, whether he believed he had found out who the ‘real killers’ were, Murdaugh responded in the negative.

“I have not,” he testified.

Jurors seemed extremely engaged with Murdaugh’s brother – smiling at him, laughing at his jokes and connecting with him emotionally as he described his personal experiences responding to the tragedy which engulfed his family.

But the meat of his testimony was clearly intended to call into question the integrity of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – the agency tasked with investigating the various Murdaugh-related crimes.

Among other things, John Marvin Murdaugh criticized SLED for initially refusing his offer to help locate Maggie Murdaugh’s cell phone on the afternoon after the murders.

“They say they had technology on the way,” he said.

Murdaugh later located the phone with the help of S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor Duffie Stone and investigators from his office (none of whom should have been near the scene given the fact Murdaugh was a badge-carrying assistant in Stone’s office at the time).

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RELATED | MURDAUGH TRIAL: JURY TAKING A FIELD TRIP TO MOSELLE

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Murdaugh also accused SLED of misleading him and other family members about the alleged presence of high-velocity impact spatter on the white shirt Murdaugh was wearing when first responders arrived following his 9-1-1 call on the evening of June 7, 2021.

The state attempted to keep this testimony off the record, arguing they had not introduced any such evidence at trial. Judge Clifton Newman overruled the objection and allowed John Marvin Murdaugh to continue testifying.

Murdaugh was stung on cross-examination, though, as assistant attorney general John Conrad grilled him as to whether his family – and particularly his brother – provided “full cooperation” to investigators.

This line of cross-examination reinforced the so-called “Big Lie” of this trial – in which a cell phone video recorded by Paul Murdaugh revealed his father’s presence at the scene of the murders less than five minutes before the state contends the shooting began.

“Is that full cooperation?” Conrad asked Murdaugh about his brother lying to law enforcement about his whereabouts in the moments leading up to the killings.

“I would say that yes, he lied,” Murdaugh answered.

(Click to View)

Prosecutor John Conrad asks John Mavin Murdaugh questions during the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro on day 25 of Monday, February 27, 2023. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier/Pool

Conrad also pressed Murdaugh on his brother’s relationship with Yemassee, S.C. police chief Greg Alexander, a potentially key player in this drama whose name has been dropped on multiple occasions in the past few days of testimony.

“Were you aware chief Alexander owed your brother money?” Conrad asked Murdaugh.

“I was not,” he responded.

In addition to our prior reporting about a “loan” Alexander received from Alex Murdaugh, prosecution witness Nathan Tuten testified earlier in the trial about cashing checks at Palmetto State Bank (PSB) and delivering envelopes full of cash to Murdaugh at his law firm office. Among the individuals Tuten says he saw in Murdaugh’s office while he was delivering these envelopes were Alexander and attorneys Cory Fleming and Chris Wilson.

He says Murdaugh stopped asking him to cash checks a few weeks before the homicides.

With the defense resting its case, the state will have an opportunity to present rebuttal witnesses beginning on Tuesday morning. Waters indicated at least four such witnesses were likely to be called, but that a fifth was “possible.” After the state concludes its rebuttal testimony, jurors will take their field trip and then hear closing arguments.

Once those have concluded, Newman will charge the jury with its obligations under the law and deliberations will at long last begin …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Will Folks on phone
Will Folks (Brett Flashnick)

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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10 comments

Rebecca Link Top fan February 27, 2023 at 7:20 pm

What happened to Lindsey Edwards? I thought she might come up in the case as it shows Alex is not much of a family man.

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The Colonel Top fan February 27, 2023 at 8:19 pm

Don’t see how John Marvin hep’d “olElick” at all. Added nothing to the story at all except that “Elick” shat himself.

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David February 27, 2023 at 9:51 pm

What has happened to Fitsnews? Feels like the death of good, objective and honest journalism. Hope whoever it was paid you guys well.

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Nanker Phelge February 27, 2023 at 10:19 pm

Johnmarvin was more boring than the state’s beating of the financial dead horse. If I were a juror I’d have found it compelling…as a sleep aid. At least in closing the state can make the case that a guy who would look people he “loved” and “cared” about in the eye while screwing them out of millions could have done the same with a shotgun.

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Ralph Hightower Top fan February 27, 2023 at 10:29 pm

I can’t believe that SLED released the crime scene without getting all pieces of brain and skull fragments.

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charlie yup February 27, 2023 at 11:16 pm

You just don’t know how it works. Whatever they took is based on standards, procedures, etc. for the most part.

Had a friend one afternoon shoot himself in the head in his marital bed, in the presence of the wife who called 911 and held what was left of him until the cops got there. When I got there the next morning the police and the body and weapon was gone, but his skull, brain matter and blood were still everywhere in the bedroom including all over his widow. They never came back, never returned a phone call, never left a card or note for her to reach counseling resources. There is a huge hole in services in this regard. The State is not gonna clean up a crime scene for you.

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Rakish Top fan February 28, 2023 at 12:59 am

I have found the recent videos to be very concise summaries of the trial and testimony. Will and Jen are a good team. She is able to demonstrate amusement & good humor nearly all the time.

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Nonia February 28, 2023 at 1:26 pm

Please quit playing with your hair both to Jen and the young man on todays update. Not professional and most distracting!

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ab March 1, 2023 at 12:07 am

Don’t forget Alex Murdauch was at the scene of the crime at the time his wife and son were brutally executed and blood spatter was found on his white tshirt. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who did it! The bible says the devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.

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esqTJE March 1, 2023 at 3:03 am

Blood was NOT found on shirt despite the state testing more than 60 spots!!! Fits news reported on brain tissue splatter being found on T (not calling it that — FITS just said it was “high velocity impact spatter”) based on a law enforcement sources but that narrative (not fits news) was wrong.

Prosecution did not learn about failure of tests to be positive for blood or brain matter until a week before trial, when defense filed motion for sanctions (to punish state prosecutors for lying — Defense assumed prosecutors lied, but apparently it was a “lost report”???). Go back & watch day 5ish when state lab t-shirt tester testified about negative (not present) lab results and day 20ish for admission by lead SLED investgator’s (David Owen) testimony that this lie was told to Grand Jury under oath. And watch his frank admission that state obtained indictment to charge Alex under false pretenses. (there was a 2nd “factually incorrect” statement made to GJ under oath too– not just false reporting of tshirt results). Testimony is shocking, frankly.

Defense was courteous enough not to say state “lied.” Just made my typing faster here. Owen surmised state may not have gotten indictment without these 2 false reports (lies) being told to GJ. in other words, STATE ADMITTED UNDER OATH IT DID NOT HAVE ENUF EVIDENCE TO ARREST alex for crime, much less convict him of it!!!!

re: present at crime scene at time of dearh — state’s official (coroner) says 930 is ToD (watch day 1 of defense case, 21 or 22 overall). To make it look better for state, prosecutors refer to 8:49 time that Paul & Maggie have not sent a text or made a call, but this was not validated as time of death by coroner or any state expert. State has only proven Alex was present at 844p — 45 minutes before coroner said they died. So, he was NOT proven to be on the scene at EITHER time the state says murders could have occurred–849 OR 930. If you read/watch legal experts opining on case, most believe case would never have been charged with as little evidence that we now know to be factual. Saw 2 “Fox News” types today discussing case being so weak “it must be republican AG going after Murdaughs who must be Dems.”

Not repeated here by me to allege truth of matter asserted, but just show how puzzled legal community is that Alex is even on trial for a case this weak. State must prove its case beyond a doubt. Do not know a single attorney (my profession) watching this case from afar — not just ones on TV or LawTube — who believes state has met its burden. NOT A SINGLE ONE!

RE: Comment above by person concluding “if Alex can do $$ crimes , he can do murder.” That is why this type of testimony is not allowed under rules of evidence. State said it would use for motive. But the state used it to prove habit or propensity. That, along with big 5th amendment violation by Waters, are reasons that if the jury gets this wrong, and Alex is convicted, this will be overturned on appeal…. GUARENTEED

Read and watch to obtain the facts IN EVIDENCE yourself and do not repeat lies. False testimony meets wrath of God as much as any other sin. Low Country SC community is tarred when our community members spread lies and gossip. Justice only resides in TRUTH. And just because hbo or netflix or neighbor or person in line at Piggly Wiggly says something is true about Alex, doesn’t make something true.

Thank God Alex admitted truth to all financial crimes under oath during murder trial. Saves all victims the angiush of more trials and endless delays to being made whole. Those allegations have been proven factually true and state can now sentence him to life in prison for financial crimes and victims can pursue justice and hopefully sooner reach peace in their upheaved lives!

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