Alex Murdaugh testifies in South Carolina murder, fraud trial

Disgraced South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh admitted Friday he was likely right by the murder scene when his wife and son were gunned down — but claimed an angry social media vigilante was the probable culprit.

The accused killer then stepped off the stand and let out a massive yawn as his lawyer, Jim Griffin, spoke to the judge during his high-profile trial.

Questioned about the night of the slayings, Murdaugh conceded that his earlier confession that he’d lied about his whereabouts put him right at the kennels when his son Paul, 22, and wife Maggie, 52, were shot dead.

Alex Murdaugh appears tired as his lawyer speaks to the judge.
Alex Murdaugh appears tired as his lawyer speaks to the judge.
Reuters

Murdaugh yawns during his murder trial.
Murdaugh yawns during his murder trial.
Reuters

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Even if cleared of his son and wife's murders, Murdaugh is expected to spend decades in prison for other crimes.
Even if cleared of his son and wife’s murders, Murdaugh is expected to spend decades in prison for other crimes.
Reuters

Murdaugh covers his face in the courtroom.
Murdaugh covers his face in the courtroom.
Reuters

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The disbarred lawyer said the video his son took ended seconds before 8:46 pm, and he would have then packed up and said goodbye before taking a two-minute golf cart ride back to the main house, he said.

“If I left at 8:47 and if it took me two minutes, that would have made it 8:49,” he admitted — the exact moment investigators believed his wife and son were wrong.

Murdaugh, 64, stands accused of fatally shooting them near the dog kennels at one of their homes in South Carolina on June 7, 2021, to divert attention away from his financial crimes.


Alex Murdaugh is cross-examined by prosecutor Creighton Waters
Alex Murdaugh is cross-examined by prosecutor Creighton Waters.
AP

Despite being so close to the murder scene, he “didn’t hear anything at all,” he said — and was adamant that no one was at the kennels when he left and that he didn’t hear the dogs barking.

Still, Murdaugh tested that he had a motive for a possible killer.

The ex-attorney claimed that someone who had seen posts on social media likely gunned down his son because they were angry about the fatal boat crash he caused.


A picture of Alex Murdaugh.
Alex Murdaugh admitted Friday to looking his loved ones in the eye as he lied to and stole millions from them.
Reuters

He insisted on “half-truths” reported online about Paul’s 2019 criminal case had enraged a mystery vigilante who read about Paul’s drunken wreck online.

The social media response that came from that was a vile,” Murdaugh said. “So over the top.”

“I believe today the wrong person saw and read that,” he said. “The person or people who [killed him]they hated Paul Murdaugh and they had anger in their heart.”


A picture of State prosecutor Creighton Waters.
State prosecutor Creighton Waters said this was just the latest example of how Murdaugh lied when “confronted with facts” he “can’t deny.”
Reuters

Murdaugh didn’t elaborate on why he believed Maggie was targeted.

Paul was drunk when he crashed the boat he was captaining into a bridge, throwing Mallory Beach, 19, off it to her death in 2019. He was charged with boating under the influence in the case, and Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the crash .

The state’s lead prosecutor, Creighton Waters, had asked Murdaugh about a 911 call he made following the killing of his wife, Maggie, and son in which the ex-lawyer claimed the boating accident had led to the double murder.


A picture of Alex Murdaugh.
Murdaugh also admitted that he would sometimes pop more than 60 pills a day.
AP

“I never thought people were involved in the boat wreck did this to Paul and Maggie,” Murdaugh said — adding he didn’t think the culprit was a family member of any of the youths who had been on board that day, either.

“So what you’re telling this jury is that it’s a random vigilante?” Waters shot back skeptically.

Earlier in the trial, Waters said that data from Murdaugh’s phone, which he hadn’t taken to the kennels, showed he took “more steps in a shorter time period than you had done all day” at 9:02 pm — just three minutes after he likely got back to the house from the kennels.

“What were you doing? Did you go on the treadmill? Jog in place?” Waters asked of the sudden burst in activity.

“No, sir, I did not do jumping jacks,” Murdaugh replied.


A picture of Buster Murdaugh in court.
Buster Murdaugh, the son of Alex Murdaugh, listens to his father’s testimony during the murder trial.
AP

The Murdaugh family from left to right;  Buster, Maggie, Paul, and Alex.
The Murdaugh family (from left): Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex.
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“I was getting ready to go to my mom’s house,” he said of where he’d been claimed to have been throughout the evening until his shocking confession Thursday.

“I don’t know if I got up and went to my room, went to the gun room,” he said, without elaborating on why he’d go to where the family’s many weapons were kept.


Friday's cover of the New York Post
Friday’s cover of the New York Post
seric

“I know what I wasn’t doing, Mr. Waters — and what I wasn’t doing was … cleaning off or washing off guns. I can promise you I didn’t do any of that,” he said.

Murdaugh again admitted he “lied about” his movements that night, while telling the court, “Other than lying to them about going to the kennel, I was cooperative in every aspect in this investigation.”

“Very cooperative except for maybe the most important fact of all — that you’ve been at the murder scene with the victims just minutes before they died,” Waters replied.

Murdaugh also admitted that he would regularly look at his loved ones in the eye as he lied to and stole millions during his years-long addiction to opioids.

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