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Crime & Courts

Becky Hill Investigation: Destroyed Devices, Missing Cell Phone Raise Red Flags

Disturbing new allegations point to potential obstruction of justice …

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In late November, our media outlet published one of its initial in-depth reports detailing the escalating investigation into embattled Colleton County, South Carolina clerk of court Becky Hill. That story – derided by many as “fake news” – laid out some critical components of this still-unfolding narrative.

First, our report revealed that Hill was the focus of two separate S.C. State Ethics Commission (SCSEC) investigations – which we have subsequently covered in much greater detail (including Hill’s response to them).

Second, our November 27, 2023 report was published just days after reporter Andy Fancher exclusively reported that Hill’s son – Colleton County information technology director Jeffrey “Colt” Hill – had been arrested on one count of wiretapping for having “willfully and feloniously intercept(ed) electronic phone communication.”

In his report on Jeffrey Hill’s arrest, Fancher noted that Becky Hill was “forced to surrender her phone to SLED upon the issuance of a search warrant.”

Our late November report further linked Becky Hill to the investigation into her son, and noted that investigators with the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) were “exploring obstruction of justice charges against both Becky Hill and Jeffrey Hill as it relates to the mushrooming wiretapping scandal.”

We now have additional information related to these obstruction allegations …

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First, though, why does Hill’s story matter so much? Because in addition to the multiplying myriad of scandals she has stumbled into over the last few months, she remains the focus of a jury tampering investigation which many believe will result in a new trial for convicted killer Alex Murdaugh.

Hill’s office was responsible for the administration of Murdaugh’s double homicide trial in Walterboro, S.C. last year – an international spectacle dubbed the ‘Trial of the Century’ in South Carolina. In fact, it was Hill who announced Murdaugh’s guilty verdicts to a waiting world on March 2, 2023. Six months after the trial, though, Murdaugh’s attorneys accused her of tampering with the jury – and engaging in an alleged conspiracy to have a juror believed to be favorable to Murdaugh removed from the panel.

Murdaugh’s attorneys – led by Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin – accused Hill of “betray(ing) her oath of office for money and fame,” allegedly influencing the jury against Murdaugh in an effort to sell copies of her book, Behind the Doors of Justice.

That book, incidentally, is at the heart of one of the ethics complaints Hill is facing.

Hill has steadfastly denied the tampering allegations – including in an affidavit (.pdf) submitted by the state opposing Murdaugh’s bid for a new trial. However, she and her supporters have been ensnared in a web of lies – and her book is currently being taken off the shelves after Hill admitted to plagiarizing portions of the text.

The tampering allegations are the focus of a retrial hearing scheduled for later this month in Columbia, S.C. before former S.C. chief justice Jean Toal. In the meantime, though, the case against Hill is progressing … including some disturbing new revelations about the alleged destruction of evidence and other attempts to pervert the course of justice.

While Hill’s recently released Colleton County emails have become a central focus of this story, we have heard little about the cell phone records sought by investigators back in November in the aftermath of her son’s wiretapping arrest. According to our sources, that’s because the phone Becky Hill surrendered to SLED – an iPhone of dubious evidentiary value – remains the focus of an intense, ongoing debate between agents and her attorneys.

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RELATED | BECKY HILL EMAIL DUMP

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As previously reported, the iPhone Becky Hill surrendered to SLED is not the phone she used during the trial. Nor is it a separate iPhone Hill has been reportedly been using since the allegations against her son were made public.

Sources familiar with the inquiry indicated Hill switched from a Samsung device to an iPhone in the days immediately after being accused of jury tampering in the Murdaugh case.

Where is the Samsung phone used by Hill during the Murdaugh trial? No one knows …

Agents specifically sought the Samsung device, but as of this writing have not located it.

“They wanted the Samsung,” a source familiar with the inquiry told us. “The (search) warrant specifically requested the Samsung. Nobody knows where that Samsung is.”

Which iPhone did Hill surrender? Again, it’s not immediately clear whether SLED obtained the iPhone linked to Hill’s original, county-issued phone number – which she has since abandoned – or the iPhone linked to the new number she has been using since the scandal broke.

Here’s where it gets tricker, though. Hill hasn’t only been swapping out devices and phone numbers in the aftermath of the trial, she’s been moving wireless accounts – or rather her son has been moving them.

As previously reported, Becky Hill’s county-issued cell phone number was reportedly “released” from its taxpayer-funded Verizon account and added to her personal account. This, we were told, was part of an effort to evade accountability – specifically, to dodge a looming subpoena from the state ethics commission for her cell phone records. We have since confirmed this “switcheroo” of Becky Hill’s phone line was requested by her son, Jeffrey Hill, on July 24, 2023 and effectuated two days later. Records show that on July 26, 2023, this line was transferred from Colleton County to a Yahoo email account linked to Becky Hill.

Of interest? Hill reportedly told investigators on multiple occasions that she did not keep the county-issued Samsung phone after she transferred the line from the county.

“She was saying she was no longer using the county equipment,” one source told us. “Her whole story was that she didn’t keep the phone when she left the county plan. Clearly she was until September 5.”

Which, of course, was the day Murdaugh’s attorneys accusing Hill of jury tampering …

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At the same time he was switching out his mother’s cell phone account in late July, mysterious things were happening with Jeffrey Hill’s two phones – a Samsung device linked to his personal number and another Samsung device provided by the county.

According to sources familiar with the status of the investigation, Hill ordered a new Samsung phone for use on his county-issued line on or about July 18, 2023 and “disposed” of the county-issued Samsung phone he was previously using.

What happened to that device? It was destroyed, we are told – and thrown into a dumpster.

Why did Jeffrey Hill allegedly destroy/ throw away his work phone – and transfer his mother’s county-issued phone line – in late July? Because, according to our sources, that’s when he realized he had been caught wiretapping Colleton County deputy administrator Meagan Utsey – purportedly as “part of an effort to keep Becky Hill abreast of the investigations into her conduct.”

Jeffrey Hill was suspended on July 27, 2023 for wiretapping Utsey – the day after his mother’s county-issued phone line was officially transferred. He returned to work on August 14, 2023. In other words, it would appear he got rid of his original work phone just in time.

Three weeks after he was reinstated, the jury tampering allegations were leveled against his mother – prompting a dramatic escalation of the situation. Within a week of those allegations being made public, on or about September 11, 2023, SLED sought to interview Jeffrey Hill related to the wiretapping allegation – which is when he allegedly destroyed his personal Samsung cell phone.

According to our sources, Hill destroyed his personal Samsung phone the moment he learned SLED wanted to interview him.

“He definitely knew the walls were closing in,” one source told us.

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RELATED | CLERK OF COURT’S SON ARRESTED

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Jeffrey Hill’s new county-issued Samsung phone was surrendered to SLED upon his arrest. According to our sources, the device obtained by investigators had been “factory reset,” which according to the company “completely erase(s) your personal information and data to make your phone or tablet a clean slate.”

Jeffrey Hill’s new personal Samsung phone was also surrendered to SLED upon his arrest on November 21, 2023. This device had also been “factory reset,” according to our sources.

Six cell phones: Two of them allegedly destroyed. Two of them “factory reset.” One reportedly missing. One which investigators have in their possession but is clearly not the device they sought via their subpoena.

Frankly, this alone constitutes a compelling case for alleged obstruction of justice on the part of Becky Hill and her son. Not only that, these evasive measures appear to have taken place at pivotal moments in the evolution of this story – i.e. when Jeffrey Hill allegedly became aware that he had been caught eavesdropping on Utsey, when the jury tampering allegations against Becky Hill became public and when Jeffrey Hill was first contacted by SLED about an interview.

Even more problematic? We have received troubling reports that SLED agents and officials sought at various points during the investigation to downplay any possible connection between Jeffrey Hill’s eavesdropping of Utsey and the ethics investigations into Hill.

We are continuing to probe the evolution of this inquiry and will provide updates to our audience … including a more detailed discussion of SLED’s role in this investigation.

As of this writing, Becky Hill’s cases remain with ethics investigators – although we have been told to expect a criminal referral at some point soon. Meanwhile, attorney general Alan Wilson – whose office prosecuted Murdaugh – has accepted prosecutorial jurisdiction over both Becky Hill and Jeffrey Hill’s cases, but has yet to say whether he is referring either matter to a non-conflicted solicitor (or whether he is assigning them to the statewide grand jury for further investigation, as has been requested).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.

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11 comments

Goody3 Top fan January 5, 2024 at 11:26 am

OH, LORDY!!! These cases/investigations/accusations only continue to get muddier rather than clearer. (Not so) early days at this point…the trajectory continues to get worse for both Clerk Hill and her son. Haven’t read or heard anyone say whether Ms. Hill is still reporting to work – or not. Up-date, anyone?

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SubZeroIQ January 5, 2024 at 6:00 pm

I think, and I am NOT a lawyer, that only South Carolina’s sitting governor can suspend or remove a South Carolina elected official.
Some state officers, such as judges and justices, can be removed only by impeachment.
My understanding is, and again I am NOT a lawyer (only better than most), SC’s governor has the power to suspend only for allegations/convictions of crimes of moral turpitude or felonies. Not all crimes of moral turpitude are felonies; and not all felonies are crimes of moral turpitude.
So, since Becky has not been yet arrested for, or convicted of, anything related to those stories, she remains in her job, though apparently on pins and needles.

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SubZeroIQ January 5, 2024 at 9:55 pm

Everybody stop!
Stop this stupid song of “he is guilty but he needs a fair retrial where he will be found guilty again.”
If Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) was found guilty by a tainted jury, then that jury verdict is NULL and VOID and the man stands presumed innocent again.
That jury was tainted, not only by Becky “Boo” Hill, but also by the internet and by the money (“thousands of dollars” according to Boo’s book pages 58-60) the male guilty-voting, interview-giving juror received from “three friends” to stay on the jury instead of returning to work and being replaced by an alternate.
All the so-called evidence against AM was a whole lot of nothing which is now mislabeled “overwhelming” ONLY BECAUSE that tainted and ill-informed jury bought it.
SLED’s own independent interview has two jurors saying they witnessed Becky Hill talk to (one or two?) juror(s) about financial difficulty.
Did someone arrange for the “financial difficulty” of the juror(s) to be solved? Who? And in return for what?
THAT is the more important question.
That male guilty-voting, money-receiving juror said in his day-after-sentencing interview in New York that he knew AM was guilty because there is a two-inch threshold under the door of the feed room; therefore, continued that juror, AM tripped back HOLDING THE GUN and shot Paul the second time from a flat position, hence the angle.
HUGE PROBLEMS WITH THAT.
First, that was EXACTLY what some prior convict YouTuber from Australia put on a video DURING the trial using cardboard cut-outs.
Second, live human beings do not fall like cardboard cut-outs. Human beings have reflexes. Someone tripping backwards would have REFLEXLY extentded the arms to the nearest wall or to break the fall and dropped the gun.
It also appears “Boo” had seen that video and discussed it with one or more jurors and, when at Moselled seeing the two-inch threshold, “communicated with [their] eyes” that AM “was guilty.”
That is MUCH bigger than “watch his body language.” Someone, possibly the real killer(s) or one who loves them very much, hired “Boo” to ensure the guilty verdict.
Why else would “Boo” be destroying her phones now?
REMEMBER: the Prosecution’s time of death is MEDICALLY WRONG.
When viewed in that light, there is NO evidence of AM’s guilt; and all the evidence is of jury taints.

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Wendy Boone January 6, 2024 at 4:12 pm

I personally feel that SLED and the prosecution team needs to be removed from anything at all to do with Alex Murdaugh’s case and Becky Hill. They want him so bad that i believe that they would make evidence dissappear. I have not trusted any of them including Becky from the start. I will not argue the fact that he criminally harmed a lot of people financially. I will tell you that in my opinion that there were way more people involved in that because there is no way that someone did not recognize all that money missing way before it came to light. So much that makes no sense with this whole case and that man will never get a fair trial on the murder of his wife and son. PERIOD!!!!

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Lizzie0714 Top fan January 8, 2024 at 1:53 am

I have questions about why SLED was specifically requesting Becky’s Samsung from the trial, and not all of her phones or electronic devices in general if the warrant for the request was narrowly related to 1 single wiretapping charge of her son in July, 4 months after the verdict? Also, why just 1 wiretapping charge for a specific date when it’s widely reported that her son had been spying on multiple emails and phone calls for an unknown period of time? I find it suspicious that SLED only charged her son with one single wiretapping charge. Also, why were Becky and her son not immediately charged with obstruction when they #1 handed over the wrong devices, and #2 handed over wiped factory reset devices? Also how did they manage to factory reset the devices they handed over upon being issued the warrants? Did they know in advance that the warrants had been issued? I had to recently factory reset my iPhone to send back to the carrier when I upgraded and it took like 30-45 mins for the process to complete. So…. How do cops show up at her door with a warrant and she manages to stall them, out of their sight long enough to factory reset her phone? Don’t tell me SLED allowed her to turn it in at her leisure?!? If FITS News has all this information on hers and her son’s cell phone shenanigans like destroying phones, switching phone accounts, wiping phones via factory reset etc…. Then surely SLED was aware of these activities prior to and/or during the issuance of the warrants for their devices. Don’t get me started on how SLED actually allowed different devices from the ones requested in the warrants to be turned in. How negligent can a state law enforcement agency be before citizens start raising hell? Someone please force SLED to hand this investigation over to the FBI! They are dragging their feet on purpose so Becky doesn’t get charged prior to the evidentiary hearing and it’s blatantly obvious IMO.

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SubZeroIQ January 8, 2024 at 6:00 am

Okay. Was it the link that bothered you? Here it is without a link.
Are you man enough now to let it through?
Thank God, I solved everything; and the last pieces for me were Kenny Kinsey, Ph.D.’s talk at CrimeCon 2023 and my going back and reviewing Alex Murdaugh’s (“AM”) defense team’s January 2023 Motion for Sanctions, basically to exclude the white T-shirt AM was wearing when he discovered Maggie’s (“MKBM”) and Paul’s (“PTM”) bodies and which he gave IMMEDIATELY to responding Law Enforcement Officers when they asked for it.
Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.
And boy, did AM’s defense team get played big time by Creighton Waters and Kenny Kinsey, Ph.D.!
Kenny Kinsey, Ph.D. ends that presentation with a report of his telling Creighton to put that shirt back in the closet.
In other interviews, either Waters or Kenny reported that Waters wanted Kenny to be “the canari in the mine,” meaning let Kenny say what he thinks and leave Creighton to spin it.
I hope that Kenny reads this and has the integrity (better late than never) that Becky Hill’s co-author showed by severing ties with “Boo” after initially defending her. And I do not know whether the photo of a shirt with stains on top is THE actual AM T-shirt or a dramatization of it.
But assuming it is, Kenny says it LOOKS like spatter but he cannot say it was BLOOD spatter because the hemo-trace tested negative for HUMAN blood.
That Tom Bevel charlatan from Oklahoma had first opined it was NOT spatter, then recanted and, for thousands of dollars, opined that it was spatter and the hemo-trace was a false negative.
When Tom Bevel got exposed in AM’s defense team’s motion, and based on Kenny’s advice, Creighton gave AM’s defense a Trojan Horse: all right, the State will not introduce that shirt.
Boy did that doom AM while his defense celebrated that pyrrhic victory!
In the absence of the ACTUAL shirt, the Prosecution suggested to the jury (and to the internet world from which the jury took its “facts”) that AM somehow buried his VERY bloody clothes AND the murder weapons behind his parents’ house in Almeda and put a freshly laundered T-shirt which, according to one self-contradicting agent “smelled of laundry detergent.”
So, what is my solution which FINALLY exonerates AM and should convince ALL his haters who have any intelligence, self-respect, and/or conscience left?
Read carefully:
Bubba came in with his jaws clutching a bird that was flapping so hard MKBM thought it was “a Ginae” but PTM and AM corrected her “it’s a chicken.”
Remember the saying: “like a chicken with its head cut off”? An injured or captured bird is NOT a still one but a flapping attempting-to escape one.
Those tiny stains on top of AM’s T-shirt are bird-blood.
Proof? The LCV test for ANY blood was positive BUT the hemo-trace for HUMAN blood was negative.
And when was the hemo-trace test done? Right after AM’s August 2021 interview when it was clear that SLED had Paul’s video with Bubba and the chicken.
So, that shirt with TINY specks of NON-HUMAN blood around the neck and shoulders is THE one AM was wearing at the kennels when he extracted the bird from Bubba’s jaws then hurried to Almeda before it got too dark and back to enjoy some time with MKBM and PTM.
That means ALL AM’s clothes that day are accounted for, nothing hidden, AND the T-shirt AM gave law enforcement was the one AM wore to AND out of the kennels in the evening of 7 June 2021.
Since that T-shirt has no HUMAN blood spatter, AM could not have been the shooter.
I have previously explained why the Prosecution’s time of death is medically wrong; and a review of Kenny’s opinions strengthens my inferences that the REAL killers were two or more females with experience hunting animals but no prior military or law-enforcement experience of aiming at human beings. Those females went to Moselle armed with PTM’s previously-stolen guns and with the knowledge of PTM’s whereabouts because he was being SECRETLY followed and videotaped by Sara Capelli. That is based on the sloppiness and the strange angles of the aiming.
Who are those LIKELY females?
I hope they don’t shoot ME before I get to tell you because, by now, those females know how to shoot human beings and get away with it.
Please pray for me, y’all.

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SubZeroIQ January 13, 2024 at 6:51 am

What could be on Becky “Boo” Hill’s phones that would be so bad she would take the risk of destroying the phones rather than getting those convesations discovered?
I am beginning to think that, long before the trial, Eric Bland and “Boo” Hill knew who THE REAL KILLERS ARE and “strategized with the Prosecution” (in Eric Bland’s own broadcast words on media interviews during the trial), which is why “Boo” destroyed her phones and got her son to spy on others.
And I think the attacks on ME are because I am getting too close to guessing correctly who the real killers are.
Who could those killers be? I shall, God willing and Will Folks and Jean Toal permitting, give you some theories in another comment or in court.
But, thank God, I woke up (from a literal nightmare as more often than not happens to me since a very unfair event in June 2022) this morning and found at least one other decent and intelligent person had read, and commented on, my comment on Kenny Kinsey, Ph.D.’s presentation in CrimeCon-2023 in Orlando, Florida.
Because I follow Jesus Christ’s parable on the seed-sower, I paste hereunder my reply to that other decent and intelligent person, praying the seeds hit less stones and less arid land.
? @alonawhalen , first, thank you so much for your open-mindedness, civility, and scholarship.
Second, my theory was NEVER that the real killers (and there is no doubt in my mind that they were at least two) were RANDOM and arrived UNARMED hoping to find one or more Murdaugh family gun to use.
I came to this case knowing NOTHING about the Murdaughs other than what I OCCASIONALLY read on FITSNews (before they limited the articles to non-subscribers to 5/month but I refuse to subscribe to FITSNews in protest over Will Folks’ racist bend and old lies against Nikki Haley), which turned out to have been propaganda probably pushed by Eric Bland before Eric and Will had a falling out, probably LITERALLY “haggling over price.”

What I DID know BEFORE the Murdaugh cases even arose is that the prosecution system in South Carolina is often used to extort one party or another IN CIVIL LITIGATION to cave to the other side who has the local prosecutor in their pocket. And if that local prosecutor cannot find a real crime you committed, (s)he will manufacture one for you.

Third, the very people who prosecuted Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) were (with the exception of only Savannah Goode and Mr. Conner) directly involved in trying to frame ME for harassment and later contempt-of-court AND/OR in covering up for those who tried to frame me, knowing that I was the victim, not the perpetrator of harassment. I had a jury trial with none other than Judge Clifton Newman presiding. I defended myself WITHOUT A LAWYER and, thank God, ULTIMATELY FULLY exonerated myself. But, to this day NO ONE IN SOUTH CAROLINA’S SYSTEM is willing to hold those who tried to frame me with false evidence accountable.
So, if I get accused of using AM’s case to get SOUTH CAROLINA’S system to look at prosecutorial misconduct, my answer would be: What is wrong with that purpose, even if it were my only purpose, which it is not?

Fourth and foremost, the Prosecution’s OWN early evidence in the trial is that Paul had at least TWO expensive guns lost/stolen months before the murders. My theory is that the real killers were the ones who had earlier stolen/found/bought Paul’s stolen/lost guns and later arrived at Moselle armed with those VERY EXPENSIVE guns.

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SubZeroIQ January 16, 2024 at 9:27 am

To ensure that my thoughts are easily available to everyone who want to consider them that I copy and paste them as often as time and the chanel owners permit.
So, here is something else which strengthens my solving the shirt case and ultimately proving Alex Murdaugh’s (“AM”) innocence of the murders.
I, while multi-tasking, reran Creighton Water’s cross-examination of AM.
Guess what? Creighton asks AM, “was that chicken bleeding?” “did you wash your hands after that?”
To me, that proves Creighton knew the “spatter” was chicken blood and wanted to foreclose the Defense’s proof of it. Sadly for AM, his defense team were not quick enough on their feet to come to the chicken-blood-spatter conclusion.
But, thank God, I am. Hopefully it is not too late for AM for that brilliant conclusion of mine to be introduced, if only his defense team would show more humility and not be stuck in their own ways.

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SubZeroIQ January 17, 2024 at 9:21 am

This has become all the more frightening in light of Jean Toal’s rulings on Tuesday, 16 January 2024.
More frightening than the ever-increasing evidence of Becky Hill’s obsession with getting Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) convicted “right or wrong,” is the stunning evidence of Jean Toal’s total indifference to a judge’s duty to promote public confidence in the court system.
This is no longer SOLELY about whether AM’s two murder convictions should stand; it is about whether OUTSIDERS to the system can have confidence in it.
And frankly, if a white male lawyer sitting South Carolina (“SC”) state senator cannot convince a white female 27-year-serving judge of the importance of public confidence in the judiciary, WE OUTSIDERS (meaning immigrants, self-represented litigants, and/or, as in my own case, self-represented immigrant litigants) ARE JUSTIFIED in thinking WE NEVER HAD A CHANCE at any fairness in SC’s court system OR with anyone who taught or apprenticed in it.
I for one, now wonder whether, every time I enter an SC courthouse, I am expected to tip the bailiffs if I ask one of them for directions to a hearing or for permission to enter a courtroom to observe one.
In fact, in hind-sight, because of my physical disabilities, I cannot sit on a hard wood bench and often needed a padded chair or some cushions while I awaited my turn to be heard. Sometimes I was accommodated; other times I was denied, and rudely so. Now I wonder whether those bailiffs who denied me the use of unused softer chair were expecting a tip for it.
No one can call this doubt of mine unreasonable.
And that is the least of it.
A clerk of court who POSSIBLY fabricated a FaceBook page makes me wonder whether ANOTHER clerk of court can destroy something I file then pretend I never filed it, OR even forge my signature on a document I never filed, OR go to a judge in my absence and FALSELY pretend I had been rude to that clerk.
I am NOT saying any clerk has done that to me; I am saying THIS is the time, with the whole state and possibly country (forget about “the world” it has much more important things to worry about than little SC) watching for Jean Toal to make part of THIS hearing about clerk-of-court misconduct.
This is going to be on the legacy of, not only Jean Toal, but also of Donald Beatty, who assigned Toal to this motion.
If Toal cannot understand the importance of this for public confidence in the courts, then frankly, Toal NOW has more reasons to recuse herself than Clifton Newman ever did.

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SubZeroIQ January 18, 2024 at 8:28 am

Because my thoughts are too important, too unique, and too timely to not be read by as many people as possible, I post them on each of the 5 free theads I am allowed this month.
Here we go again.
We also now know, thanks to Becky “Boo” Hill’s book pages 58-60, that a white male guilty-voting, New-York-interview-giving, juror has a “baby mama” with whom he was have a troubled relationship.
Jean Toal’s exclusion of the wrongful removal of the “egg juror” is EXTREME LEGAL ERROR which she should reconsider on her own motion or on motion of Alex Murdaugh’s (“AM”) defense team which, despite their great efforts on behalf of their client, is IMPROPERLY too submissive to Toal.
At the very least, “Dick and Jim” should point out to Jean Toal what South Carolina’s (“SC”) Supreme Court (“S Ct”) reiterated just yesterday in SC Advance Sheets (“SCAS”) Number 2 of 2024 at pages 26-27, which I paste herunder for everyone’s benefit:
The only quibble we have with the court of appeals’ double jeopardy analysis is its discussion that Benton suffered no prejudice from the mistrial because he was allowed to present his alibi witnesses at his retrial. The constitutional guarantee against double jeopardy protects defendants from the dread, anxiety, and financial cost of enduring the gauntlet of criminal prosecution and punishment more than once for the same offense. See Arizona, 434 U.S. at 503–05 (explaining the double jeopardy clause protects “the defendant’s ‘valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal'” and this right is valued because “a second prosecution . . . increases the financial and emotional burden on the accused, prolongs the period in which he is stigmatized by an unresolved accusation of wrongdoing, and may even enhance the risk that an innocent defendant may be convicted” (citations removed)).
The defendant’s interest in having his fate determined by the first impaneled jury is therefore “a weighty one.” Somerville, 410 U.S. at 471. As such, “the lack of apparent harm to the defendant from the declaration of a mistrial [does] not itself justify the mistrial[.]” Id. at 469. Further, in Jorn, a plurality of the Supreme Court noted inquiries into who benefits from a mistrial are “pure speculation.” 400 U.S. at 483. Therefore, the Jorn plurality concluded that to allow a retrial “based on an appellate court’s assessment of which side benefited from the mistrial ruling does not adequately satisfy the policies underpinning the double jeopardy provision.” Id.
Here, the trial court focused, as it should have, on whether, given all the circumstances, a mistrial was necessary to further the ends of public justice. See
United States v. Perez, 22 U.S. 579, 580 (1824) (stating a mistrial may be granted without violating double jeopardy when, in the sound discretion of the court, “taking all the circumstances into consideration, there is a manifest necessity for the act, or the ends of public justice would otherwise be defeated”); Gori v. United States, 367 U.S. 364, 368 (1961) (“Where, for reasons deemed compelling by the trial judge, who is best situated intelligently to make such a decision, the ends of substantial justice cannot be attained without discontinuing the trial, a mistrial may be declared without the defendant’s consent and even over his objection . . . .”). The trial court wisely understood that not granting a mistrial under the circumstances could undermine public confidence in the outcome. See Wade v. Hunter, 336 U.S. 684, 689 (1949) (“[A] defendant’s valued right to have his trial completed by a particular tribunal must in some instances be subordinated to the public’s interest in fair trials designed to end in just judgements.”). We therefore vacate the court of appeals’ prejudice discussion but otherwise affirm its double jeopardy ruling.

Again, I do not think AM should be granted a new trial, I think (based on double jeopardy) he should be acquitted OF THE MURDERS out-right because STATE ACTORS wrongfully interfered with his right to have his case decided by the chosen panel, including the “egg juror.”
I also think “Dick and Jim” are being ineffective already for not pressing this point.
Yes, I know better than they do.
After all, I, thank God and WITHOUT A LAWYER, avoided getting myself wrongfully convicted by a jury presided over by none other than Judge Clifton Newman. “Dick and Jim” FAILED to get for their client what I got for myself.
Now, unless they listen to me, their client is at risk of getting his wrongful convictions cemented because “Dick and Jim” do not know the law as well as I do and are too arrogant to listen to me and give me credit for directing them to the more principled and fruitful paths.

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Amanda January 27, 2024 at 9:40 pm

Wow, reading the comments and just, Wow!

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