Murdaughs

Alex Murdaugh’s Appeal Suspended, Case Headed Back To Colleton County

Convicted killer’s attorneys win first battle in their bid for a new trial …

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Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh’s appeal of his murder convictions is officially on hold pending an evidentiary hearing into allegations of jury tampering raised by the defense team in early September.

Thanks to an order (.pdf) issued on Tuesday morning (October 17, 2023) by the S.C. court of appeals, Murdaugh’s appeal is being held “in abeyance” so he can submit his motion for a new trial.

The order means the case has temporarily been remanded back to the circuit court level – to Colleton County. There, judge Clifton Newman is expected to review motions and schedule a hearing so that evidence can be gathered – and a determination made – regarding the validity of claims by two jurors that Colleton County clerk of courts Becky Hill made comments and implemented administrative actions with the intent of influencing the jury’s verdict.

After a six-week trial earlier this year, it took less than three hours for jurors to find Murdaugh guilty of the murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son Paul Murdaugh. On March 3, 2023, Newman sentenced Murdaugh to life in prison – prompting a near immediate notification from the defense team (consisting of Dick Harpootlian, Jim Griffin, Phillip Barber and Margaret Fox) that Murdaugh would be filing an appeal of his convictions.

This appeal – which is expected to focus on controversial admissibility rulings – has been awaiting the delivery of court transcripts. The most recent extension request from the court reporter was filed on Sept 19, 2023. It extended the deadline for the completion of the transcripts to October 17, 2023.

On August 1, 2023, Hill released a book about her experiences during the trial. In it, she documented some of her interactions with the jury – including a field trip to the Murdaugh hunting property where Maggie and Paul were murdered on the evening of June 7, 2021. According to Hill, this visit was pivotal to the verdict.

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On September 5, 2023, Murdaugh’s legal team held a press conference asking the court to suspend the appeal so that they could file a motion for a new trial. The motion outlined the basis for their claims of jury tampering and includes affidavits from two jurors.

Now that the appeals court has agreed to suspend the matter, the first step will be to determine whether or not S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson has the right to appeal the decision – and then to discover whether or not he will ask the court to reconsider its decision to remand the case.

“We will respond to the legal process at the appropriate time,” said a spokesperson for Wilson’s office.

A response to the defense allegations of jury tampering filed September 15, 2023 seemed to indicate that the prosecution was ready for the fight.

“It may well be that suspension of the appeal and a remand for an evidentiary hearing will be necessary to properly resolve some of the serious claims raised by (Murdaugh) in the motion he intends to file,” the state’s response noted. “Objective investigation by SLED remains ongoing, but the inquiry has already revealed significant factual disputes as to claims (Murdaugh)’s motion. If no credible evidence can be found to support the claims brought by Appellant, the state will be prepared to argue against the motion before the Honorable Clifton B. Newman on remand.”

Assuming the attorney general waives a motion to reconsider, the next step in this process would be the filing of a formal motion in Colleton County requesting a new trial. That could happen as soon as the end of this week, according to our sources.

Such a filing would prompt judge Newman to schedule a hearing on the motion to review the evidence. While the defense has publicly suggested Newman is a witness to these allegations, it will be up to him to set the date and time for the evidentiary hearing before questions regarding his status can be raised.

“The recent ruling to stay the appeal and remand the case for a hearing on Alex Murdaugh’s motion for a new trial is welcomed news,” Harpootlian and Griffin said in a statement. “We intend to proceed expeditiously and will seek a full-blown evidentiary hearing addressing the serious allegations pertaining to improper jury communications by the Clerk of Court.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author. Her 2007 book ‘Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal’ was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities – a story later told in the movie ‘Dark Waters’. Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in ‘Citizen Sleuth’ – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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9 comments

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The Colonel Top fan October 17, 2023 at 12:34 pm

Never fails to entertain. Can’t wait to see what bovine excreta HarmBo et al pulls out of their ass this time. If Harpo is supposed to be one of the best defendant’s lawyer in the state, I’d hate to see the worst…

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Amelia Price Top fan October 17, 2023 at 12:52 pm

Harpootlian is going to allege conflict-of-interest concerning Judge Newman hoping to get a new judge. Since Judge Newman knows this, perhaps the jury tampering case should move forward under his watch. The smoking gun lies in Becky Hill’s book when she describes the field trip to Moselle: “We (she & the jurors) communicated with our eyes.” To be clear, as one attorney said, “Communicating with one’s eyes means message sent, message received.”

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The Colonel Top fan October 17, 2023 at 2:19 pm

Hill says “We” meant “…her and the courthouse staff…”.

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Alex, Not Murdaugh Top fan October 17, 2023 at 2:46 pm

Season 3 of the Bohunk Yayas Murder Mystery to be released on Nutflicks.

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Wow!

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Ralph Hightower Top fan October 22, 2023 at 4:55 pm

It ain’t gonna change the timestamped Snapchat video that places him at the scene of the crime moments before Paul and Maggie were shot. The General Motors telemetry from the firm’s Chevrolet Suburban also blows holes in his alibi, as well as the cell tower pings from his cellphone.

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VERITAS Top fan October 17, 2023 at 6:37 pm

Have at it you pathetic P.O.S.’s … AleX Murderer, Jim Griffin and the ultimate buffoon, Dick Harpootlian. They can’t stand the fact that Creighton Waters and his entire prosecutorial staff outdid them. This is about The 3 Stooges egos and AleX Murder thinking he’s above the law. Waiting for the day when the lights go out for good for psycho AleX Murderer and Griff and Harpo get their asses sued to the max.

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He's Already in Hell October 18, 2023 at 9:17 am

I think what bothers Alex the most is that his amateur hour antics throughout every crime he committed were his undoing. Spinning a web of lies that gets immediately torn down with a simple stick. Trying to stage a scene like he’s Saul Goodman but comes out looking like Benny Hill. That he’s not the smartest dope in the room, not even close. That all this time he was nothing but a brown stain on the family mattress. That he was a complete loser that only ever had a chance at success, even in his crimes, because of his last name. And let’s face it, that name, that power he inherited could only ever buy him time. He was never smart enough to figure out how to keep his head above water before he jumped in.

Finding out he’s far below average, that he was on the verge of losing everything and being revealed for the incompetent fraud he has always been, just set him up for a narcissistic collapse that is still going to this day.

He must be absolutely miserable.

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VERITAS Top fan October 24, 2023 at 6:20 pm

” . . . amateur hour antics . . . is spot on. Great comments!

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J Monday Top fan October 18, 2023 at 6:38 am

If evidence reveals that Ms. Hill, and that’s a big IF, did anything to wrongly influence jurors there should be a new trial. However, I don’t believe the evidence will point to this, but rather to Dick & Jim ruining a persons reputation & possibly career to get a better deal for their monster client. Ms. Hill is NOT referring to interactions with the jury on the field trip, but observation of their reaction at Moselle. The “we” are colleagues. Read the book! Dick & Jim have been drama, smoke & mirrors since June 2021. This is more of the same & that is what will be revealed.

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