Taking the stand in his defense for the second day in a row, prosecutors on Friday took Alex Murdaugh through a detailed timeline of events immediately before and after his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and son, Paul Murdaugh, were shot and killed on the family’s sprawling South Carolina estate.
The questioning began with prosecutor Creighton Waters hammering on the fact that during Thursday’s testimony, Murdaugh, for the first time, admitted that he lied to investigators about being by the dog kennels — where Maggie and Paul were killed — shortly before they were both murdered.
As Murdaugh continued to defend himself on Friday, Waters repeatedly referred to the testimony of the disgraced and disbarred lawyer as his “new story” and implied that he concocted it as part of a new alibi.
“But you never told [law enforcement] this new story that you’ve constructed in light of this trial,” Waters said.
“I did not tell them I went to the kennel. I lied about that,” Murdaugh replied.
“And at the same time, you looked at this jury and tried to tell them that you’d been cooperative in this investigation,” Waters continued.
“Other than lying to [law enforcement] about going to the kennels, I was cooperative in every aspect of this investigation,” Murdaugh reiterated.
“Very cooperative except for maybe the most important fact of all — that you were at the murder scene with the victims just minutes before they died, right?” Waters responded.
Murdaugh has maintained that he lied to investigators because he was paranoid from his drug addiction and had a pocket full of pills when he found his wife and son’s bodies.
The questioning then moved on to the timeline of events and some more specific details Murdaugh remembered from the night of the murders.
Murdaugh testified that he was with Maggie and Paul at the dog kennel for a few minutes before leaving at 8:47 p.m. — about three minutes before investigators believe the shootings occurred.
Asked if the dogs were barking because they may have “sensed somebody was around that they didn’t know,” Murdaugh replied, “No. There wasn’t nobody around that the dogs didn’t know.”
Murdaugh said after leaving his wife and son, he returned to the house and lay on the couch, possibly taking a brief nap.
Waters then pointed out that Murdaugh’s phone records showed him taking 283 steps between 9:02 and 9:06 and asked him what he was doing then. Murdaugh said he was preparing to leave for his mother’s house.
“You’ve been so clear in your new story about everything, what were you doing during these four minutes?” Waters asked.
“I know that I was getting up, that I was leaving, that I was going to check on my mom, but specifically what I was doing, I don’t know,” Murdaugh replied.
Waters then implied that Murdaugh suddenly taking hundreds of steps and making two phone calls to his wife in those four minutes were part of an effort to create an alibi.
“It’s an absolute fact that I’m not manufacturing an alibi, as you say,” Murdaugh said in response. “I never manufactured any alibi in any way, shape or form because I did not, and would not, hurt my wife and my child.”
After a lunch break, Murdaugh testified that he believed one or more people targeted Paul over the 2019 crash in which he drunkenly crashed a boat into a bridge resulting in the death of a 19-year-old girl. Paul Murdaugh was charged with three counts of felony boating while intoxicated and was awaiting trial when he died.
“I believe that when Paul was charged criminally, there were so many leaks, half-truths, half-reports, half-statements, partial information, misrepresentations of Paul that ended up in the media all the time,” Murdaugh said. “I believe then, and I believe today, that the wrong person saw and read that. Because I can tell you for a fact that the person or people who did what I saw on June the 7th, they hated Paul Murdaugh, and they had anger in their heart, and that is the only, only reason that someone could be mad at Paul like that and hate him like that.”
During re-direct, Murdaugh’s attorney returned to the notion that Murdaugh only lied due to his drug addiction, not to keep law enforcement from learning the truth about the death of his family members.
“I would never hurt Maggie. I would never hurt Paul,” Murdaugh said towards the end of his testimony.
The trial will resume Monday, with the defense saying they expect to call four witnesses.
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