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No Retrial For Alex Murdaugh – Week In Review 2/3/2024

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This week’s big story was the hearing held Monday (January 29, 2024) at the Richland County courthouse in downtown Columbia, South Carolina to determine whether convicted killer Alex Murdaugh would receive a new trial.

The answer? No … and least not yet. But while prosecutors in the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson won the battle … did they lose the war?

Research director Jenn Wood and I broke down Monday’s rollercoaster of a hearing – going over all of the key moments while walking our audience through the next steps in this saga. Jenn specifically discussed a federal case in the U.S. fourth circuit court of appeals – Barnes v. Joyner – which could figure prominently in our narrative in the event Murdaugh is not granted a new trial at the state level based on the jury tampering allegedly committed by Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill.

In the Barnes case, a North Carolina death penalty sentence was overturned after it was determined the state court failed to properly apply the Remmer v. United States standard of “presuming prejudice” regarding improper external communications with jurors.

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In other words, the fourth circuit found the North Carolina court made same error allegedly committed by former S.C. chief justice Jean Toal when she refused to hold a Remmer hearing for Murdaugh – instead applying (some say erroneously) a standard lifted from a state case with a vastly different set of facts.

Will that decision come back to bite her in the event Murdaugh’s case goes to the fourth circuit? Also … how will the changing composition of the S.C. supreme court impact Murdaugh’s chances at the state level?

A quick editorial note: Our show this week originally contained a reference to some questions we asked producers at Good Morning America about their contact with Becky Hill in the days leading up to the Murdaugh verdict last winter. We are waiting to publish that information based on the possibility of receiving a comment from the network about the questions we asked.

So far, a spokesperson for the show has not provided us with anything on the record, however …

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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 eight children.

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4 comments

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VERITAS Top fan February 3, 2024 at 9:38 pm

The Murdaugh hearing went exactly as it should have. As Justice Toal outlined in the pre-hearing, this was not a Rebecca Hill trial. It was 100% about Murdaugh proving if statements were made by the Clerk of Court, Rebecca Hill; if so, did any statement(s) affect any juror’s verdict of guilty. In the end, the juror offered multiple choice answers. She flipped THREE times during the Jan. 29 hearing; then, at the behind-the-scenes urging of her attorney Joe McCulloch and Harpo, she wanted to come back to “clarify” her answers. From verdict through the hearing, she had four opportunities to “clarify” and each answer was different. Move on, people. Even Murdaugh knew it was a lost cause. His body language said so. The appeal will “shoot him in the head,” as it should be. Leave him to his cell with Maggie and Paul visiting him in the night. Let them have their justice by haunting him for the rest of his miserable and worthless life, having nothing and nowhere to go to distract him from the memory of executing his wife and son.

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Thomas February 4, 2024 at 3:00 pm

What is the point of shacking up murderers in our state prisons? They are incorrigible. If found guilty in a court of law by a jury of their peers, nothing short of the nitrogen gas chamber is appropriate with a 3 year window to appeal. Give them a last meal and time with the religious clergy of their choosing then open up those bottles of liquid nitrogen and burn the mothers.

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Let's Try This February 3, 2024 at 9:52 pm

One of your correspondents wrote a good article about the Constitutional Carry bill, then in play in the SC Senate. It has now passed in The Senate, but with unnecessary amendments added by RINO obstructionists in The Senate.
Palmetto Gun Rights will attempt to have these amendments fixed or eliminated by the House when the two chambers hash this out. It would be nice if FitsNews did an in-depth story on these amendments and what they mean for SC gun rights. I would suggest contacting Tommy Dimsdale at Palmetto Gun Rights for their take on the issue.

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Thomas February 4, 2024 at 2:54 pm

Meanwhile, moving away from Toal’s coverup of corrupted state court clerks Americans are facing an election crisis. In SC alone in the last two years, 20 bills have been introduced to screw up our elections in SC.

voting rights lab dot org

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