Murdaugh Family Murder Trial: Prosecutors Say Rifle Alex Used to Kill Wife Is Still Missing

South Carolina prosecutors said during opening statements on Wednesday that forsensic and cell phone evidence tie ex-lawyer Alex Murdaugh to the June 2021 murders of his wife and son.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters said that a raincoat covered in gunshot residue was recovered from Alex’s mother’s home. However, the rifle believed to have been used to kill Alex’s wife, Maggie, remains unaccounted for, according to the New York Times.

Despite this, Waters alleged that shell cases found on Alex’s mother’s property matched the bullets used to kill Maggie. The prosecutor went on to say that they believe a “family weapon” killed Maggie.

According to News Nation Now, Waters explained that both Maggie and Paul were shot at close range and had no defensive wounds. He claimed this suggests they knew their attacker.

The state also alleged that Alex lied about his whereabouts.

“What you’re going to do in this particular case, is determine credibility, or the believability of witnesses,” Waters said during opening statements.  “So, your job is to look at the evidence, the exhibits in the case, but also the witnesses and decide if it’s true, if you believe it, if you can rely on.”

Meanwhile, Alex’s attorney, Dick Harpootlian, said the cell phone records were incomplete and asserted that Alex would be covered in blood if he killed his wife and son at close range. Harpootlian said no blood was found on Alex’s clothing, News Nation Now reported.

Alex is believed to have acted alone in the slayings, allegedly shooting Maggie with a rifle and killing Paul with a shotgun. He was reportedly filmed driving away from the lodge an hour before he called 911 to report their deaths. He allegedly carried out the double slaying after visiting his mother.

In September 2021, months after Paul and Maggie’s slayings, Alex suffered superficial head wounds when he allegedly had former client Curtis Smith, 61, shoot him in the head so his surviving son, Buster, would receive a $10 million insurance payout.

A day before the shooting, Alex was forced out of his family law firm amid allegations he misappropriated funds.

Two days after the apparent botched suicide, Alex announced he was entering rehabilitation for drugs. Shortly thereafter, he was charged with insurance fraud in connection with the September 2021 suicide-for-hire plot and released on bail.

However, in October 2021, Alex was rearrested upon leaving a rehabilitation center in Florida for allegedly stealing $4.3 million from the estate of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who suffered a fatal fall on his property in February 2018.

In that case, he was accused of stealing insurance payouts that were intended for Satterfield’s family. Authorities plan to exhume her body amid an ongoing investigation regarding her death.

In addition to the murder charges, Alex faces more than 100 criminal counts related to fraud.

In June 2022, Alex and Smith were indicted for allegedly purchasing and distributing oxycodone in multiple counties. In December 2022, Alex was indicted for tax evasion for allegedly failing to claim the $6 million he allegedly earned through illegal acts between 2011 and 2019.

Alex was charged with Maggie and Paul’s murders days after he was formally disbarred by the South Carolina Supreme Court.

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