A video shown to jurors in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial on Wednesday shows the disgraced South Carolina legal scion wearing khaki pants and a blue, collared shirt about an hour before prosecutors say he gunned down his wife and son near the dog kennels on the family’s hunting property on June 7, 2021.
That’s in contrast to the pristine white t-shirt and shorts he’s wearing after he says he returned from visiting his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s, and found the bodies of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.
The wardrobe change was captured in police body camera footage when they responded to Murdaugh’s 911 call.
Paul Murdaugh sent the video shown in court on Wednesday to friends via Snapchat just before 8 p.m. In the video Paul laughs while his father attempts to straighten a freshly planted tree. Two hours later, when police arrive, Alex Murdaugh is wearing a bright white t-shirt — which doesn’t show any blood stains even though Murdaugh said he checked Paul’s pulse and rolled his body over.
Last year, prosecutors presented documentation that said microscopic blood spatter evidence was found on the t-shirt. Evidence to that effect has not been heard in court.
Alex Murdaugh told investigators that he last saw Maggie and Paul Murdaugh at dinner about 90 minutes before the murders and that he went into the house to nap before leaving to visit his mother without seeing either of them. When he returned at about 10 p.m., he found the bodies.
But on Thursday, prosecutors played for the jurors another video found on Paul Murdaugh’s phone, this one taken at the dog kennels shortly before 9 p.m., minutes before the murders. In it, Paul handles the camera and his mother’s voice is heard along with another male voice that family friends testified belongs to Alex. Additionally, Paul made a phone call to a longtime family friend just before making that video — and that friend testified on Wednesday he was certain he heard Alex’s voice in the background.
All activity on Paul’s and Maggie’s cell phones stopped just after that video was filmed.
Prosecutors contend that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to detract from his many financial crimes, which ironically came more to the forefront after the murders. Later on, he will face charges of defrauding clients and his family’s 100+ year-old law firm of millions of dollars, allegedly to support an opioid habit. The seemingly daily revelations about his activities led to his firing from the law firm, a further fraud charge for allegedly paying a former client to kill him so his surviving son could receive a multi-million dollar insurance payout, and the suspension of his law license.
The charges against Murdaugh don’t touch allegations that he interfered in the investigation of Paul Murdaugh’s fatal boat crash earlier in 2021. Paul was allegedly drunk driving his father’s boat when he hit a bridge piling, dumping 19-year-old Mallory Beach into the water. Her body was found a week later, but many of Paul’s friends claimed Alex tried to pin the blame for the crash on anyone but his son. Murdaugh also told a dispatcher on the night of the murders he suspected that someone connected with the boat crash had killed Paul and Maggie because Paul “had been getting threats.”
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[Featured image: Left, Alex Murdaugh in Paul Murdaugh’s 7:56 p.m. video. Right, Alex Murdaugh in police body camera footage after 10 p.m.]