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New Evidence Revealed in Double Murder Case Against Alex Murdaugh

Tracy Glantz/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Tracy Glantz/The State/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

It took Alex Murdaugh over an hour to call 911 after he allegedly shot his wife Maggie and son Paul near their estate’s hunting dog kennels last June, prosecutors said in court Thursday.

That was among several fresh claims made during a hearing in connection with the double murder case that capped the disgrace of a once untouchable legal scion. Investigators are also comparing evidence found at the June 7, 2021, murder scene to DNA from the former lawyer’s alleged accomplice in a $10 million murder-suicide insurance plot.

State Grand Jury Chief Prosecutor Creighton Waters doubled down Thursday on Murdaugh’s responsibility for the slayings, stressing that there’s plenty of evidence of his role in the crimes. That evidence, Waters said, includes “a video that shows Alex present at the scene, despite his denials, with Maggie and Paul at 8:44 p.m. not long before their phone ceased meaningful activity.” Murdaugh has maintained that he was visiting his ill father at the time of the murders.

Waters added that evidence then shows Murdaugh “firing up” his car and leaving at 9:06 p.m. Murdaugh did not call 911 to report the deaths until 10:06 p.m.

“This investigation is unlike anything anyone’s ever seen,” Waters added. “Not only does it have at its core the most important case—and that is the murder case against Alex Murdaugh for murdering his wife and son—but it also has an amazingly complicated white-collar case” into his alleged financial crimes.

Separate from his double homicide case, Murdaugh is facing over 80 charges after prosecutors allege he swindled millions from his former clients and law firm. He is also facing another set of charges over the alleged assisted-suicide plot, in which Murdaugh allegedly tried to stage his own murder so his only living son, Buster, could inherit his hefty life insurance policy.

For their part, Murdaugh’s defense attorneys said Thursday that investigators have yet to actually identify DNA found under Maggie Murdaugh’s fingernails at the time of her death.

Fight Erupts Over ‘Million Dollar’ Evidence in Murdaugh Murder Case

“They indicted him months ago, and now they’re telling us they’re still looking at DNA, they’re still doing an evaluation of DNA,” Murdaugh’s defense attorney Richard Harpootlian said during the pre-trial hearing in Florence County Courthouse. “At what point do they stop investigating this case? They should have stopped before they indicted him.”

Murdaugh, a 52-year-old heir to a powerful legal clan, has been indicted on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the 2021 murders of his 52-year-old wife and their 22-year-old son. Maggie and Paul were found fatally shot on the family’s 1,700-acre estate, and Murdaugh was the one who first called the police.

Details of the evidence against Murdaugh remained scant until Thursday. But new motions filed by attorneys Harpootlian and Jim Griffin demanded more evidence from prosecutors—while implying that a man named Curtis Edward Smith was the real perpetrator.

Smith, 62, has been indicted in a series of crimes that involve Murdaugh. A distant cousin, he was arrested in connection with the assisted-suicide plot last September. Smith is also charged with money laundering and forgery after allegedly participating in Murdaugh’s financial crimes.

Murdaugh’s lawyers noted Thursday that Smith failed a polygraph exam while he was being questioned about the double homicide. But Judge Clifton Newman denied the defense’s motion to obtain details about that test. Smith has not been charged in connection with the murders.

Murdaugh is set to stand trial in connection with his wife and son’s murder in January 2023.

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