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Murdaugh Madness: The Mystery Of Juror No. 630

Alex Murdaugh’s retrial bid could come down to one juror …

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After former South Carolina chief justice Jean Toal issued a decisive ruling on Tuesday limiting testimony in Alex Murdaugh‘s upcoming jury tampering hearing, it appears as though the saga of the infamous ‘egg juror’ has been put on the back burner.

For now …

Based on a new defense filing, though, there’s a new juror saga that could be worth following – assuming Toal’s tight parameters for the hearing permit it to be introduced.

During a status conference on Tuesday ahead of Murdaugh’s big evidentiary hearing later this month, Toal indicated she only wanted to hear from the 12 jurors who found Murdaugh guilty of murdering his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, at the family’s hunting property near Islandton, S.C.

The only other witness on Toal’s list? Embattled Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill, who stands accused of tampering with Murdaugh’s jury – purportedly to obtain a guilty verdict and sell copies of her book about the trial, Behind the Doors of Justice.

Not making the witness cut? The egg juror.

Toal made it abundantly clear during this week’s status conference that she is not inclined to give Murdaugh’s attorneys any leeway in terms of assailing Hill’s credibility – which has completely collapsed in the aftermath of the trial due to a host of criminal and ethics investigations into her conduct (not to mention alleged obstruction related to those investigations).

That means Murdaugh’s legal team – led by attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin – must try and win their motion for a new trial within the narrow parameters prescribed by Toal.

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Of the the twelve deliberating jurors expected to testify at the hearing on January 29, 2024, one of them – juror No. 630 – appears critical to the case Harpootlian and Griffin plan on putting forward.

An affidavit from juror No. 630 was included as part of the defense team’s original motion for a new trial submitted last September. This document contains what would appear to be the most problematic allegations for the state. In her affidavit, juror No. 630 stated the following:

  • “Toward the end of the trial, after the President’s Day break but before Mr. Murdaugh testified, the Clerk of Court, Rebecca Hill, told the jury ‘not to be fooled’ by the evidence presented by Mr. Murdaugh’s attorneys, which l understood to mean that Mr. Murdaugh would lie when he testified.”
  • “She also instructed the jury to ‘watch him closely’ immediately before he testified, including ‘look at his actions’ and ‘look at his movements,’ which I understood to mean that he was guilty.”
  • “The foreperson, juror No. 826, criticized the former foreperson, juror No. 589, for handing Mr. Murdaugh a box of tissues when he was crying on the stand while testifying about his murdered son. She told the jury we cannot interact with Mr. Murdaugh because ‘that is what the defense wants us to do.'”

According to a supplemental filing (.pdf) by Murdaugh’s defense team late Tuesday afternoon, there appears to be more to the story of juror No. 630 – and it appears to be very much tied to the egg juror.

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THE EMAIL …

According to the defense’s latest supplemental briefing, information received from Colleton County within the last few days proves Hill fabricated the Facebook post that led to the egg juror’s dismissal – and then lied to presiding judge Clifton Newman about it.

But Hill also allegedly failed to share with Newman similar allegations against another juror – one who was inclined to find Murdaugh guilty.

Within the discovery, Murdaugh’s attorneys found an email sent to Hill dated February 24, 2023 by someone in Indiana who was watching the trial online through a Facebook link. This individual indicated the court ought to know about statements that were being made within a livestream chat – statements which she attached to her email.

Take a look …

(Click to View)

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In the chat, an individual named Lucas Pearce told viewers his ex-wife was on the jury – and that she was speaking out of turn and telling others she thought Murdaugh was “already guilty just because he’s a man.”

Hill never reported this email to the court. Not only that, Murdaugh’s attorneys believe it gave her the idea to allegedly fabricate the Facebook post involving the egg juror.

“Ms. Hill did not act on the email because the juror at issue purportedly was going to vote guilty, which conformed to her interests,”Murdaugh’s defense team stated in its latest filing. “But Ms. Hill believed juror 785 might not vote guilty, based on the conversations with the jury foreperson to which she admitted in her interview with SLED. The emailed Facebook post gave her the idea to invent one about juror 785, which she would say she saw on the ‘Walterboro Word of Mouth’ group instead of having received it by an email she would otherwise be asked to produce.”

According to the defense team, when Newman asked Hill to produce a copy of the Facebook post relating to the egg juror, she lied and said it had been deleted. They even allege Hill went as far as enlisting her staff to assist in corroborating that “she had seen it posted somewhere but it was subsequently deleted.”

Why did Hill allegedly lie? According to the filing, her “illegal private conversations with the jury foreperson made her believe Juror 785 might vote ‘not guilty’ and she wanted to remove her from the jury.”

Because Hill never forwarded it to anyone, the tip about a juror allegedly stating their opinion related to Murdaugh being guilty appears not to have been investigated by anyone … not by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson or the court.

By contrast, when Hill forwarded an allegedly fabricated tip that a juror had expressed the opinion that Murdaugh was not guilty, it received a four-alarm response by all of the above parties.

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‘TWITTER JUROR TIP?’

To add to this already confusing situation, FITSNews recently obtained an email sent during the trial between several SLED agents. In the email – dated February 27, 2023 – the agents discussed their investigation of a “Twitter Juror Tip” received related to the egg juror. This tip has never been mentioned in any court documents, but if it was indeed a separate tip – it would mean the egg juror was reported on at least three separate occasions through three different platforms.

The egg juror denied allegations contained in the two tips of which we are aware through her affidavit.

What allegations did this third tip raise? And who sent it?

Take a look …

(Click to View)

(Provided)

Like SLED, our news outlet is “still digging” into the egg juror saga – as well as the broader allegations of jury tampering against Hill.

Stay tuned for more on both fronts …

Will any of this change former chief justice Toal’s mind regarding the testimony or exhibits she permits in the upcoming evidentiary hearing? Who knows … but it could lend credence to Murdaugh’s attorneys, who insist the removal of the egg juror was intentional and targeted due to her potential to hang the jury.

Meanwhile, Hill’s failure to notify the court about a juror alleged to have stated a bias against Murdaugh raises additional questions about her conduct during the trial – and would certainly support the defense’s theory that she was working to secure a guilty verdict as opposed to impartially administering justice.

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THE FILING …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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12 comments

SubZeroIQ January 17, 2024 at 9:00 am

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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Anonymous January 18, 2024 at 1:33 am

I COMPLETELY agree with you. This whole thing smacks of a witch hunt.

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WatchingtheDetails January 17, 2024 at 1:02 pm

I am a bit confused by the allegations surrounding egg-juror’s ex-husband’s statements on social media being withheld from the court. On the date Judge Newman dismissed “egg-juror”, he addressed her in open court – which was also televised. I do recall Judge Newman asking if she had anything she wanted to say or any personal belongings she needed to retrieve prior to being escorted out. During this exchange “egg-juror” (who of course wasn’t mic’d) speaks a few words, some of which we know was the request to take her eggs back, but other parts were not heard clearly for television viewers. However, Judge Newman quickly made a curt comment that could be heard – the comment was directly to the juror – “between you and your ex-husband”. (or something close to those words – I am NOT positive on the exact wording) This mention would make it seem the court DID know information surrounding the ex-husband of “egg-juror”! The trial footage is still on the inter webs for anyone willing to go back to locate that particular day and re-listen to what Judge Newman says. Maybe it is worth the time to do so.

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Anonymous January 18, 2024 at 1:32 am

This is not the same juror. You are confusing the two. The egg juror was not the same person as the juror with the ex-husband.

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SubZeroIQ January 18, 2024 at 8:23 am

The “egg juror” does have an ex-husband and apparently a current husband. Apparently, too, at least another juror has an ex-husband.
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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Renae Choat January 22, 2024 at 11:50 am

The Egg Lady was 785 I do believe, this article is about juror 630. Go look up Lucas Pearce on Facebook he has been very verbal over the past few days…and apparently it was his ex wife with the Facebook post yet that was never brought to light because she was pro Murdaugh was guilty, & Egg lady was leaning towards not guilty…so Ms. Hill fabricated a Facebook post accusing Egg Lady of being involved in order to get her removed, even though Judge Newman actually stated that he was removing Egg Lady for improper communications outside of the court room and with jurors I do believe..

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Kidd Top fan February 23, 2024 at 4:51 am

My only question in all of this is for Lucas to provide us with proof of what he is saying. I have asked him personally to provide that proof and all he does is change the subject, then throws me screenshots of his own texts to his ex, ot screenshots of some Sheriff that got into aone trouble and more screenshots of some stuff that had happened to him prior to the Murdaugh Murders.

I also asked him to prove his claim that his ex was basically a bum but somehow paid $15,000 cash for a vehicle,paid for a $2,000 game system for their son, recent vacations and that his daughter also quit her job implying that his ex now has ALL this money and that it has to be hush money. He again only showed me his end of conversations..One with his daughter (which his daughter accidentally sent a message to him instead of his ex) mentioned something about a “cutting board” in which I was told when I asked why the cutting board was such an issue for him he said “chopping block and what would do you do with a chopping block? That text was a message to me that tells me they’re now threatening my ex and they’ve gotten to my children. They chose the wrong one when they chose to cover me up.”

I don’t understand why Lucas is persistent on thinking this entire trial was about him and whatever issue he has with the law enforcement there. I also don’t understand why more ppl aren’t calling him out for lying about whatever is coming out of his mouth at that moment.

I was 100% supportive of Lucas in the beginning..I even sent an email to Fits because I thought they needed to look into this situation and get to the bottom of it. Then I asked him for proof and pointed out that he is making HUGE exaggerations of the truth and adding this own narrative and I got blocked shortly after that. Which tells me more about the truth of his situation than anything he possibly could have provided!

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Wanda Fields Top fan July 11, 2024 at 8:29 am

He is completely delusional. He is now posting once again his ex wife was paid for her vote. I said prove it, because your nonsense good cause her to serve time in prison.

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SubZeroIQ January 21, 2024 at 6:27 pm

If Nikki Haley becomes President, what kind of federal judges would she pick?
She should start talking about that with an eye on the court scandals in South Carolina.
Because I have no more free articles left this month, and because articles like this one strengthen my resolve to NOT subscribe to FITSNews, I need to post here my comment on FITSNews’ latest Week-in-Review, specially now that Ron DeSantis has just dropped out.
But before I do, three more things:
(1) DeSantis cannot be Trump’s VP pick because the Constitution requires the President and the Vice President to be from different states; and Trump has officially made himself a Floridian more than two years ago.
(2) Those South Carolina politicians DeSantis has gathered to attack Haley must now have much egg on their face. I always knew that “southern gentleman” BS was code for incompetent white male who feels most threatened by a female of some color. And parenthetically, Nikki needs some color, not melanin but hemoglobin. She is getting too thin and pale for her own good. A little self-care, Nikki! Learn from Simone Biles; but do not take a whole season, just a week between Nevada and South Carolina.
(3) Not that I support “corporatism” or war hawks. But isn’t a corporation BASICALLY a mom-and-pop business which “grew up”? The differences between FITSNews and FOX News are the generation and the size; but each started as a small LOCAL news operation
Now to my post on WIR:
Why should Nikki Haley drop out if she does not win New Hampshire, or even South Carolina for that matter?
It’s a great big country out there; and not all of it thinks like Iowa, New Hampshire, or South Carolina.
Heck! Not even Georgia or North Carolina thinks like South Carolina.
The REAL math: Nikki Haley can rout Trump if you add the blue bicoastals (they have Republicans, too, but of a different kind) and even some of the OTHER heartland.
“First in the South” does NOT mean “first AND LAST in the South.”
If Mahatma Ghandi had given up the first time the British refused to evacuate India, India would still have been a British colony today.
You guys do not understand immigrant perseverance.

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Kidd Top fan January 21, 2024 at 10:23 pm

SubZeroIQ needs a subscription!

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SubZeroIQ January 22, 2024 at 9:09 pm

Thank you, Kidd, for your attention. I am not soliciting for a free subscription and would probably regret it if I were gifted a free one.
My reading-and-writing time is very limited by other circumstances in my life; and I cannot afford for FITSNews to monopolize or oligopolize my available news-gathering time.
Having said that, I did watch FITSNews interview with Lawyer Lori and shall, God willing, post next and everywhere I can some comments on it.
Best.

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SubZeroIQ January 22, 2024 at 9:40 pm

Now-Senior U.S. District Judge Joe Anderson (DSC) knew that of which he spoke when he complimented me (and that is transcribed) several times in the 1990s as “better than half the lawyers who practice in this court.”
Frankly, I think I am better than all of them; but I am still grateful for the compliments.
Most recent proof: Lawyer Lori and Lauren Taylor, in interviews on FTISNews, and Charlie Condon, on his own podcast, and who knows what other lawyer where and when said that if Retired/Active Chief Justice Toal grants Alex Murdaugh (“AM”) a new trial, the State can appeal.
WRONG, wrong, wrong.
In State of South Carolina v. Arthur Franklin Smith (2008), SC’s Supreme Court (“SC S Ct”) held that a GRANT of a new trial is unappealable because it is interlocutory and the State is not deprived of a second chance to prove the defendant guilty if it can.
DENIAL of a new trial is appealable because it is final for the criminal defendant.
There may be a wrinkle here because MOST case law on SC denials of new trials is in cases where the direct appeal had already been concluded OR no direct appeal had been taken for one reason or another.
So, in AM’s case, denial (if any) of a new trial may be appealed and consolidated with the direct appeal (which is presently held in abeyance) from the convictions themselves.
BUT it is crucial for AM’s defense team to SUPPLEMENT the motion for a new trial based on after-discovered evidence with Kenny Kinsey, Ph.D’s CrimeCon 2023 presentation which occurred AFTER the defense team filed the motion for a new trial based SOLELY on jury-tampering. That presentation, for the first time, disclosed information that indicated that blood spatter on AM’s T-shirt was non-human blood ; and the Prosecution knew it but did not disclose it. If it were the chicken blood, then AM could NOT have shot Paul and had that shirt free from human blood spatter.
That, along with the wrong time of death, proves physical impossibility of AM being the shooter.
And sorry, Lawyer Lori. I do not think a loving father could have stood there and watched while someone shot his son. I do not understand how you could accept the Prosecution’s unreasonable theory of the time of death while rejecting the Prosecution’s equally-intelligence-insulting theory of motive.

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