Strangest moments from Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial so far

Alex Murdaugh’s high-profile trial for allegedly murdering his wife and son has been as twisted as the disgraced lawyer’s murky personal and professional lives.

The disbarred South Carolina attorney faces possible life imprisonment over the fatal shootings of his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, who were found shot to death in the dog kennel of their Islandton hunting lodge on June 7, 2021.

Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh, 54, killed them in order to deflect from his financial crimes.

Even if he is found not guilty, he is expected to potentially spend decades in prison for stealing from clients and defrauding his former law firm, which he has openly admitted to doing.

Here are some of the most surprising and strange moments from the emotional five-week trial so far.

Murdaugh’s a mess

Alex Murdaugh gives testimony during his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023. The 54-year-old attorney is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County, S.C., home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021. (Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)
With tears and more streaming down his face, Alex Murdaugh testifies on Thursday.

Murdaugh has been visibily emotional throughout the proceedings, but his emotions exploded Thursday when he took the stand himself.

Tears and snot streamed down Murdaugh’s face as he recounted finding the bodies of Maggie and Paul. “It was bad — it was terrible,” he said, adding he saw his son’s “brain laying on the sidewalk.”

The accused killer first broke down during opening statements on Jan. 25, as he sat in front of his surviving son, Buster.

He cried again the following day, when police bodycam footage of the murder scene was presented.

On Feb 1, Murdaugh sobbed as a video clip taken by Paul moments before his murder was played. The video featured the voices of Paul, Maggie and a third person who is believed to be Alex.

Murdaugh’s attorney points assault rifle at the prosecution

Dick Harpootlian points gun at prosecution table
Murdagh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian jokingly points a gun at the prosecution.

On Tuesday, one of Murdaugh’s defense attorneys, Dick Harpootlian bizarrely pointed an assault rifle at the prosecutors’ table while trying to show jurors the shooter’s stance with the .300 Blackout rifle used to kill Maggie Murdaugh while he questioned a forensic engineer who testified for the defense.

“Tempting,” he shockingly joked after pointing the gun at prosecutors, drawing laughter from the courtroom. Even South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson reportedly cracked a smile.

“I don’t know how I can do this so I’m not pointing at somebody,” added Harpootlian, who is also a Democratic state senator.

Forensic engineer Mike Sutton argued Murdaugh was too tall to be the gunman who fired at his wife, estimating the shooter was about a foot shorter than Murdaugh, who is 6-foot-4.

Paul Murdaugh was killed after he was shot twice with a shotgun.

Buster Murdaugh testifies for his father’s defesnse

Buster Murdaugh testifies
Buster Murdaugh, 26, testified in the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday in defense of his father.

Buster Murdaugh, Alex Murdaugh’s red-headed surviving son, defended his father when he took the stand on Tuesday and claimed that his father was completely devastated when he found his brother and mother brutally murdered.

The 26-year-old said his dad sounded “normal” when they had an unremarkable conversation on the phone around 9:10 p.m. on June 7, 2021 — some 20 minutes after police believe Maggie and Paul were shot to death.

However, when his father called back an hour later, he said he immediately knew something was wrong.

“He asked me if I was sitting down … he sounded odd and then he told me that my mom and brother had been shot,” Buster recalled as his dad wiped away tears in court. 

He sped to father’s house where he found his dad “destroyed” and “heartbroken,” he said. After the murders, he spent “every day” with his dad “for a good while,” without seeing anything to cause concern. 

Buster noted one of the most bizarre incidents after the double murders was when his dad tried to get pal Eddie Smith to murder him in a con to cash in $10 million life insurance for him.

The scion’s son said he “knew a little bit about” his dad’s pill addiction but had no idea he was stealing millions from his family’s law firm and clients.

Courthouse evacuated after bomb threat

Alex Murdaugh is escorted back into the courtroom for his double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse.
Murdaugh is escorted back into court after a bomb threat was reportedly called into the courthouse.

The Colleton County Courthouse was evacuated on Feb. 8 and Murdaugh was whisked away in a vehicle after the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said a menacing message was “received by Colleton County courthouse personnel,” and proceeds were immediately halted.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we have to evacuate the building at this time so we’ll be in recess until we discover what’s going on,” Judge Clifton Newman told the court.

An unnamed court official told The Post and Courier that a bomb threat was made to Newman’s chambers, although its not clear what the message exactly said.

Police escorted Murdaugh out of the building and into a car, which drove away, likely to a secure location. Other officers formed a perimeter around the courthouse.

The trial restarted around 2:30 p.m. when police gave the all-clear.

Murdaugh admits to lying about whereabouts on night of murders

Alex Murdaugh gives testimony during his murder trial
Murdaugh decided that he would take the stand to testify on Thursday.

Murdaugh, who announced his decision to testify on Thursday, stunned the courtroom when he admitted for the first time to lying to investigators about not being at the kennels the night of the murders — confirming he was the voice his son caught in a Snapchat video allegedly filmed just moments before the bloodbath.

“I did lie to them,” he said, admitting that his statements to the police on the night of the murders and subsequent recorded interviews with investigators were false.

He blamed his “addiction” to pills making him “paranoid,” as police asked him about his wife and son’s death.

“I don’t think I was capable of reason. And I lied about being down there,” he said, saying his lies escalated in a “tangled web.”

The Snapchat video that caught his voice was recorded at 8:45 p.m. — just five minutes before police believe Maggie and Paul were gunned down, according to a detailed timeline entered in evidence.

Murdaugh said he noted nothing unusual about the kennels when he was there. He said he went back to the house, and likely“dozed off for a minute” on the couch before driving to visit his ailing mother.

He returned home a little over an hour later and said he went out to the kennels after not hearing from Maggie or Paul. There, he found them dead and called the police.

‘I did him so bad’

Prosecutor Creighton Waters asks witness Jeff Croft, a SLED senior special agent, questions about weapons and ammunition collected from Alex Murdaugh's home
Prosecutor Creighton Waters asks witness Jeff Croft, a SLED senior special agent, questions about weapons and ammunition collected from Murdaugh’s home.

In what could be a possible confession, Alex Murdaugh allegedly sobbed and said, “I did him so bad” when shown graphic photos of his slain son when interviewed by state agents three days after Paul and Maggie were killed.

Murdaugh’s defense attorneys insisted on Jan. 31 that Murdaugh actually said, “They did him so bad” through sobs as they slowed down the audio recording of the interview.

State Law Enforcement Division senior special agent Jeff Croft testified he was “100% confident” that Murdaugh said “I” during the interview — suggesting that Murdaugh confessed to fatally shooting Paul and Maggie.

Video shows Murdaugh standing beside the bodies

center: Paul and Maggie Murdaugh
Murdaugh is accused of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul [center],

Unnerving video released on Feb. 13 shows Murdaugh standing just feet from the shot-up bodies of his wife and son — and immediately pointing blame elsewhere for the double slaying.

“Did you check them? They are dead, aren’t they?” Murdaugh says, prompting a cop to respond, “Yes, sir, that’s what it looks like.”

The police body-cam footage — previously only shown in court — shows Murdaugh standing with his arms crossed as a responding.

“It’s bad,” Murdaugh then said of the crime scene, letting out a sob — although Colleton County Sgt. Daniel Greenehas testified that he “didn’t see any visible tears.”

In less than a minute, Murdaugh appears to pin the blame for the carnage on his threats his dead son Paul had received in response to a drunken 2019 boat crash that killed his friend Mallory Beach, 19.

Murdaugh then dished out his own alibi, claiming he’d been away from the house for hours visiting his ailing mom, who had late-stage Alzheimer’s, and his dad, who was hospitalized and later died. 

The officers noted other footprints and numerous tire tracks at the scene.

Prosecutors have suggested that the footage shows Murdaugh eager to direct the officers toward the boat crash theory as well as possible other clues for them to follow, such as the tire tracks.

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