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Alex Murdaugh double murder trial ends – Day 26


Jurors will return to the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday morning as the double murder trial of attorney Alex Murdaugh enters its likely final day with the defense’s closing statement.

The 54-year-old South Carolina legal scion – disgraced and disbarred soon after the murder allegations and various alleged financial improprieties came to light – is accused of brutally shooting and killing his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, in early June 2021 with a rifle and a shotgun.

On Monday, the final handful of witnesses presented by attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin came on the heels of the defendant’s decision to take the stand in his defense. This performance elicited mixed reviews from legal experts.

The defense closed with John Marvin Murdaugh, the defendant’s younger brother, as their final witness. His performance on the stand drew plaudits from some court observers for looking “very real.”

On Tuesday, the state called six rebuttal witnesses, closing the testimonial portion of the case with Dr. Kenneth Kinsey, who first testified during the prosecution’s case-in-chief.

During his testimony, Kinsey dismissed several ideas raised by defense expert witnesses – saying there was “absolutely” no reason to exclude a shooter who is the defendant’s height – 6-foot-4 – and refusing to definitively say that either one or two shooters “could be ruled out or in” as responsible for the carnage.

On Wednesday, jurors took a field trip to Moselle, the expansive hunting property previously owned by the Murdaugh family – and the site of where the grisly slayings occurred on June 7, 2021.

SEE ALSO: Jurors take their time at Moselle, see crime scene for themselves as Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial nears end

The jury view lasted roughly one-and-a-half hours plus an hour or so of travel time, and jurors were seated just after noon. The entirety of courtroom proceedings that followed were taken up by the state’s closing argument: a miniature, though still quite long, rehashing of most of the state’s case against Alex Murdaugh.

Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters spent that time tying the defendant’s admitted financial crimes to a crumbling legal empire that, the state believes, ultimately led to the murders.

SEE ALSO: ‘He became a family annihilator’: Prosecution delivers long-drawn-out closing statement against accused killer Alex Murdaugh

Before proceedings began, Judge Clifton Newman dealt with an alleged juror misconduct issue.

Ultimately, female juror #785 was tossed from the jury.

Harpootlian disagreed with the decision to remove the juror but said he did not formally dissent from the court’s ruling. The lead defense attorney noted that the interviews that led to the juror’s dismissal were conducted by South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agents – one of whom served as a witness in the case.

The defense attorney called SLED’s involvement “a continuum of a calamity of errors.”

Jim Griffin gave the defense’s closing argument. He variously accused law enforcement of incompetence, bias, and later, of framing his client.

Prosecutor John Meadors provided the state’s rebuttal. He rehashed several key aspects of the state’s largely circumstantial case against the defendant.

Jurors began receiving their instructions right around 3:00 p.m. EST.

“You have heard the testimony, received the evidence, and heard the arguments of the state and the defendant,” Judge Clifton Newman told 12 of Alex Murdaugh’s peers. “You are the finders of the facts in this case.”

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