Court testimony on Friday revealed that a shotgun shell was recovered from Alex Murdaugh’s SUV and South Carolina detectives tested the vehicle for blood as they investigated the 2021 murders of his wife and son.
SLED agent Melinda Worley testified that she swabbed 10 different areas in Alex’s car and all the swabs returned presumptive positive results. She said she also photographed a 16-gauge shotgun shell located on the rear floorboard.
Worley also said she later took a seatbelt from the Suburban for additional trace DNA testing.
Prior to recess, Worley told the court that two shotgun shells, located behind a door in a feed room on the Murdaughs’ property in Colleton County, were both 12-gauge. However, one was from a brand called Winchester and the other was from Federal, she said.
Worley went on to tell the court that a .300 Blackout round was found under Maggie Murdaugh’s body. Five .300 Blackout rounds were reportedly recovered from the crime scene.
Earlier, Colleton County detective Laura Rutland testified that there were no footprints located in the blood near Paul Murdaugh’s body even though Alex claimed he turned him over twice and checked his pulse.
Rutland also testified that she saw no blood on Alex — including on his shoes and hands. During cross-examination, Rutland would not say if, to her, Alex appeared to be the person who had just killed his son on their family’s property.
The revelations came on the second full day of testimony in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial. The court recessed at the end of the day until Monday.
Murdaugh 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.
Prosecutors said cell phone data and forensic evidence tie Murdaugh to the slayings. Meanwhile, Murdaugh’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,
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.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to the latest episode:
[Featured image: Handout]