Murdaugh Murder Trial: Pathologist Defends Findings in Tense Showdown With Alex Murdaugh’s Attorneys

On Tuesday, a pathologist took the stand again to defend her finding that Paul Murudaugh was not shot in the head at point-blank range.

Dr. Ellen Riemer disputed the defense’s claims that a gunshot wound at the top of Paul’s head was not a contact wound. Riemer stated that the head wound is an exit wound that killed Paul, who was shot twice.

During her testimony, Riemer said if the wound at the top of Paul’s head was a contact wound his face would not be intact. Riemer previously testified that Paul’s brain exploded to the point that his brain had to be brought to the autopsy room in a bucket.

When Riemer previously took the stand, she testified that the first shot that struck Paul did not kill him but the wadding from that shot was lodged in his chest cavity. His arm was apparently down when he was shot, with the first shot entering his chest and exiting his auxiliary, according to Riemer.

Riemer testified that Paul was still standing when he was shot the second time. That time, the shot entered his left shoulder and traveled to the left side of his head before exiting the top of his head, killing him.

On Tuesday, the defense questioned Riemer as to why she did not take x-rays of Paul’s brain because it is unclear how many pellets were located in his brain. Riemer said she did not count how many pellets were embedded in Paul’s body, but based on her years of experience and expertise, she is confident that Paul was not directly shot in the head.

On Monday, the defense’s crime scene analysis expert and blood spatter expert, Tim Palbach said he believes the killer was close enough to Paul for the barrel of the shotgun to touch his head. It is unclear how long the barrel is since the shotgun was never found.

Palmbach also speculated that the gunman might have been injured by pellets as Paul was shot at close range. Palmbach said Paul was first shot went through his chest before exiting through his arm.

Palmbach said whoever shot Paul in the head with a shotgun would have been covered in his blood and biological matter.

Palmbach went on to say that the “totality of the evidence” suggests two shooters killed Maggie and Paul at the family’s Colleton County property in 2021. He asserted that it is like that a single shooter would have been stunned by the “shockwave” of shooting Paul and was unable to retrieve another gun to kill Maggie.

“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.

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