South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh admits lying, denies guilt at murder trial

Johnnie Pratt

Feb 23 (Reuters) – Richard “Alex” Murdaugh, the disbarred South Carolina attorney charged with murdering his spouse and son, admitted to lying to investigators about his whereabouts on the night of the killings but denied any guilt in spectacular testimony on Thursday.

Four months into the high-profile trial, Murdaugh took the stand to testify that he did not shoot his spouse, Maggie, 52, or 22-12 months-aged son Paul, who were being both gunned down at dog kennels on the family’s estate on June 7, 2021.

“I didn’t shoot my spouse or my son anytime, at any time,” Murdaugh explained in reaction to concerns from his attorney Jim Griffin, who wrapped up his questioning in mid-afternoon on Thursday. “I was nowhere in close proximity to Paul and Maggie when they got shot,” he added.

During approximately two hours of cross evaluation ahead of the choose recessed for the day, the guide prosecutor concentrated on Murdaugh’s money crimes, in an evident exertion to establish his dishonesty. The prosecution will continue its assessment on Friday.

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Murdaugh, the scion of an influential South Carolina authorized relatives, was indicted by a grand jury in July on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in relationship with the shootings. He pleaded not guilty.

The murders have been issue to rigorous media protection supplied the political influence of the Murdaugh household in the minimal-lying area of South Carolina in which they took place, as properly as a string of scandals hanging more than the defendant, once a notable private damage attorney in the condition.

Prosecutors have explained Murdaugh killed his wife and kid to deliver sympathy and distract from an array of monetary crimes for which he is also dealing with criminal fees, an alleged motive that Murdaugh’s attorneys have argued does not make perception.

Murdaugh admitted to thieving money from customers and his law associates, a transgression he blamed on an expensive dependancy to opioids. He stated he started using opioids just after knee surgical procedures some two decades back, and sought assist numerous occasions, including a few outings to a detox facility because 2017.

“I battled that habit for so several a long time. I was shelling out so a great deal money on supplements,” Murdaugh stated.

LIED TO Shoppers

Point out prosecutor Creighton Waters walked Murdaugh by a series of circumstances he had worked on, finding him to acknowledge that he lied to purchasers, including a single still left a quadriplegic from an incident, and individually pocketed massive sums from damage settlements.

“Each one a person of these you had to sit down and search anyone in the eye and persuade them that you had been on their aspect,” explained Waters, who did not check with a single concern about the murders all through his very first two several hours of cross evaluation.

Waters approximated he would will need three to four hrs to end his cross when the demo resumes.

Among the important proof viewed by jurors was a cellphone video clip in which Murdaugh’s voice could be heard at the kennels minutes in advance of his wife and son had been fatally shot at shut array, contradicting what he experienced advised investigators adhering to the incident.

Murdaugh, 54, explained he was struggling from paranoia tied to his drug addiction and did not believe in the law enforcement.

“On June 7, I was not thinking obviously. I don’t assume I was able of cause and I lied about remaining down there. And I’m so sorry that I did,” Murdaugh testified.

Murdaugh testified that he remaining the kennels just after getting rid of a chicken from the mouth of a single of their puppies. He explained he returned to the loved ones house and afterwards drove to go to his mom, who has Alzheimer’s – all the when unaware that Maggie and Paul had been killed.

Rocking again and forth and with tears functioning down his confront, Murdaugh claimed he returned to the kennels later on that evening and discovered his spouse and son motionless and disfigured.

“I observed what y’all have noticed pictures of,” Murdaugh stated, describing Paul’s situation in graphic detail. “I could see his brain laying on the sidewalk. I did not know what to do.”

Reporting by Nathan Layne Enhancing by Bill Berkrot and Daniel Wallis

Our Specifications: The Thomson Reuters Believe in Principles.

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