The oldest and only surviving son of disgraced and disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh took the stand as a defense witness on Tuesday.
Marking the fifth week of testimony in his father’s double murder trial, Buster Murdaugh, 26, wore a white button-down shirt and a dark blazer as he addressed jurors in Colleton County, South Carolina. At times, his father appeared proud to see his son on the stand.
The proceedings took a somber tone late in the morning when defense attorney Jim Griffin asked the witness about the moment he learned that his mother, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and his younger brother, Paul Murdaugh, 22, had been shot and killed.
“Buster, when did you first find out that your mom and brother had been murdered,” the attorney asked.
The defendant appeared to quiver a bit as the question came.
“My umm,” Buster Murdaugh said, halting for a few seconds. “My dad called me. I can’t – I can’t remember the exact time. But it was later. And he called me on the phone. He asked me if I was sitting down. And I was like, ‘Yeah.’ And then he – you know – he sounded odd and then he told me that my mom and brother had been shot.”
Griffin then asked the witness: “What did you do?”
Buster Murdaugh replied that his girlfriend Brooklynn White was there with him at the time and overheard the phone conversation. And then she began packing things up, he said, as he remained motionless.
“I kinda just sat there for a minute,” the witness said. “I was in shock.
Alex Murdaugh appeared to become emotional in the courtroom as his son described those pivotal moments; the defendant’s eyes red and face flushed as he used tissues to wipe away tears.
Eventually, Buster Murdaugh told jurors, he and his girlfriend got their things together and “drove down to Moselle,” arriving late, at “around two o’clock in the morning” the day after the slayings.
The witness was then asked about the condition and demeanor his father was in when he saw him at the hunting lodge that morning.
“He was destroyed,” Buster Murdaugh told the jury. “He was heartbroken. I walked in the door and saw him and gave him a hug.”
The witness later testified that he, his girlfriend, and his father each showered at Moselle on June 7, 2021 – but that they never spent another night at the hunting lodge ever again.
Buster says they tried to sleep at Almeda but left early the next morning and returned to Moselle with his dad, girlfriend and uncle. He testifies #AlexMurdaugh showered at Moselle when they went back there. pic.twitter.com/VAC9troa5T
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) February 21, 2023
A substantial amount of the morning’s testimony took up a discussion about the cellular phone habits of the entire Murdaugh clan, particularly when they spent time at the hunting lodge called Moselle. Buster Murdaugh repeatedly said it was not unusual for any given member of his family to make a quick call, miss a call, or repeatedly call a family member when on the property. And, in general, he said, there was a lot of Murdaugh family communication using cell phones.
— Angenette Levy (@Angenette5) February 21, 2023
“I spoke to my mom every day, multiple times a day, and the like for my dad and for my brother, too, and that’s just me an I know they’re all talking to each other too,” Buster testified.
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