VIDEO: Crime Scene Expert Says 2 Shooters Likely Killed Paul & Maggie Murdaugh

On Monday, a crime scene analyst testified that evidence from where Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were killed in 2021 suggests that two suspects committed the slayings.

Timothy Palmbach said that Paul was likely killed first — and the shotgun blast would have disoriented and stunned the shooter, so they unlikely quickly retrieved a rifle to shoot Maggie multiple times. Palmbach noted that Paul and Maggie’s bodies were located extremely close to one another at the dog kennels and feed room on their family’s property.

Palmbach testified that he believes the shooter walked into the feed room to shoot Paul at close range. Though he said the killer was close enough to Paul for the barrel to touch his head, it is unclear how long the barrel is since the shotgun was never found.

“With Paul…I believe he was shot first. I believe he had no idea it was coming. He took a shot in the chest and very soon thereafter the one in the back of the head. Anyone in the near proximity would have heard that,” he said.

Palmbach is a crime scene analysis expert and blood spatter expert who testified as a DNA expert at novelist Michael Peterson’s 2003 trial. Though Peterson was convicted of murdering his second wife in 2001, he was later granted a new trial after a bureau agent was found to have provided misleading testimony about blood spatter at the crime scene. In 2017, Peterson entered an Alford plea and was sentenced to time served.

Prosecutors said cell phone data and forensic evidence tie Alex to the slayings. 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.

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 late housekeeper Gloria Satterfield’s estate. 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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