Prosecutors played footage in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial Wednesday that may compromise the South Carolina native’s longstanding claim that he was not present at the scene where his wife and son were killed.
Lt. David Britton Dove of the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement’s computer crimes unit said a video shot by Murdo’s 22-year-old son, Paul, minutes before he and his mother, Maggie, were killed near the family’s dog kennel , reveals three voices, CNN reported.
The video clip is just under a minute long and starts at 8:44 p.m. on June 7, 2021, Dove said, adding that he believes Paul was trying to take a video of one of the dogs’ tails as he was texting with a friend who was concerned about his condition.
While Dove couldn’t identify the speakers, he said, “You can tell they’re different voices.”
Prosecutors believe one of the voices was Paul, the second was Maggie and the third was Alex Murdaugh, who is accused of shooting both dead moments after the video was taken.
Murdaugh – once again – broke down in tears as the video clip played.
South Carolina Attorney General Creighton Waters teased the video evidence in opening statements at the trial last week. He claimed there was “critical evidence” found in the phone records of Murdaugh and the victims that can place him at the scene at the time of the murders – and suggested he may have been trying to find an alibi in the coming hours.
Murdaugh denied ever being near the dog kennels, where the bodies were found, on the night of the murders.
“The evidence will show that each one of us carries these things in his pockets, that he [Alex] he was there and he was there minutes before with Maggie and Paul just before their cell phones went off forever,” Waters said holding up a cell phone.
The disgraced 54-year-old heir to a powerful legal dynasty has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife, Maggie, 52, and troubled son, Paul, on their Colleton County hunting property.
Paul was shot twice with a shotgun near the dog kennels, while Maggie was shot multiple times with an AR-style rifle and received an execution-style shot to the back of her head while face down on the ground.
On Tuesday, officials tested cellphone records show Paul spoke on the phone for four minutes with his friend Rogan Gibson about a dog the latter had left at the family kennels and asked for a photo of its tail in a text message around at 8:49. after noon
When Gibson didn’t hear from Paul, he texted Maggie Murdaugh at 9:34 p.m. “tell Paul to call me,” SLED Special Agent Jeff Croft testified. Twenty-four minutes later, she texted Paul “son” and tried to call him five times with no answer.
“He was at the scene of the murder with the two victims and just over four minutes later… Paul’s phone is locked forever. He never reads another text, never sends another text, never returns a call,” Waters said in his opening statements.
On Maggie’s phone, records show she received a group text message from Alex’s sister about their father’s ill health around 8:49 p.m., which was left as read. It was the last text her phone would receive before it locked.
Alex texted Maggie at 9:07, which was never read. At 9:47 am Alex texted, “Call me baby.”
Dove tested Tuesday that after Maggie’s phone was muted, the orientation on her phone changed around 8:53 p.m., waking the screen to activate the Face ID security feature — suggesting that someone other than Maggie picked up the phone after it didn’t unlock.
The phone additionally logged 59 steps between 8:53 p.m. and 8:59 p.m., Dove said.
The orientation of Maggie’s phone changed again at 9:06 p.m., again indicating that it was in someone’s hands. Two seconds later, the phone receives an incoming call from Murdaugh — who tried to call Maggie three times between 9:04 a.m. and 9:06 a.m., records show. He also called her twice at 21:47 and at 22:03
Alex got into his car to visit his ailing mother — who was suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s — around 9:06 p.m. and texted Maggie that she would be right back. He returned to the property at 10:01 p.m. He called 911 at 10:06 p.m. after saying he discovered their bodies, prosecutors said.
Murdaugh said the last time he saw his wife and son was when they ate dinner together around 8:15 p.m. He claims he was sleeping on the couch when they were killed and denied ever being near the dog kennels that night.
Murdaugh’s attorneys suggested in their opening statement that “it is far more likely” that there were two shooters — neither of whom was Murdaugh — which would explain two separate weapons being used. They have not said what the motive for such a killing would be.
While Murdaugh has maintained his innocence since his indictment last summer, prosecutors allege he killed his family to cover up his extensive financial crimes.
Separately, he faces 99 separate counts of financial fraud and trying to convince a man to fatally shoot him so his surviving son, Buster, 26, would collect on a $10 million life insurance policy. The matter will be considered at a later trial.
If convicted of murdering his wife and son, Alex Murdaugh faces at least 30 years in prison.