Defense attorney Jim Griffin walked his client through the events on the night in question – following a visit to see his ailing mother nearby.
“Did you drive down to the kennels in your [Chevrolet] Suburban?” Griffin asked.
“I did,” the defendant replied.
“And what did you see?” Griffin asked.
“I saw what y’all have seen pictures of,” Alex Murdaugh said before breaking down and crying and gasping for several seconds. “So bad.”
“Did you see them on the ground when you were pulling up in your Suburban?” the attorney asked.
“I did,” Alex Murdaugh replied.
“And what did you do when you came to a stop, Alex?” Griffin asked.
“I think I jumped out of my car,” he said. “I’m not exactly sure what I did. But I know I got out of my car. I know I ran back to my car and called 911. I was up – I called 911. I was on the phone with 911. I was trying to tend to Paul-Paul. I was trying to tend to Maggie. I just went back and forth between them.”
Alex Murdaugh said he was on the phone with the 911 dispatcher while searching for signs of life.
“What did you do when you went up to Paul at some point in time?”
“Paul,” he said, breathing loudly. “Paul was so – it was so bad. At some point, I know I tried to check him for a pulse. I know I tried to turn him over.”
Griffin asked his client why he tried to turn his son over.
“I don’t know,” Alex Murdaugh admitted, increasingly sniffling and crying as he spoke. “I don’t know. I don’t know why I tried to turn him over. I mean, my boy’s laying face down. And he’s done the way he’s done. His head was the way his head was. I could see his – I could see his brain laying on the sidewalk. I didn’t know what to do.”
He said he pulled on his son’s belt loop to try and turn him over.
“I tried to turn him over,” he said. “And when I did, his phone popped out of his – I mean, his phone popped out. And I just picked it up, and I put it right back there.”
In response to a question from his attorney, Alex Murdaugh said he didn’t know how the phone came loose from his youngest son’s pocket.
“What did you do with the phone?” Griffin asked.
“I put it back on Paul-Paul,” he replied.
PAUL’S PHONE: AM says he tried to grab Paul by the belt loop and turn him over, when he did “his phone popped out.” AM said his phone popped out and was right beside him. He picked it up and put it on Paul. He said he wasn’t able to turn him over. #AlexMurdaugh pic.twitter.com/l0Zxyq0WU6
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) February 23, 2023
The testimony about the cellular phone was likely an indirect response to the prosecution’s theory about why there was a blood stain in Paul Murdaugh’s pocket.
Dr. Kenneth Kinsey, chief deputy of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and former South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent, wrote in an investigatory report and later testified about that stain.
“It is my opinion that the phone was removed from Paul’s rear pocket by someone other than Paul, and after the fatal shot,” Kinsey wrote in his report. “The blood stain inside of pocket was produced during phone’s retrieval, and prior to phone’s placement on top of the rear pocket.”
“Did you go to Maggie?” Griffin asked a few moments after the brief discussion about the phone.
Alex Murdaugh replied in the affirmative, saying he thought he touched his dead wife “somewhere down around her waist” but wasn’t sure.
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