Murdaugh clean ‘from head to toe’ at scene, Suburban swabbed for blood
Alex Murdaugh, a once prominent Hampton-based attorney from a well-known politically-connected family, is on trial in the deaths of his wife and son.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison without parole if found guilty. The trial started this week with jury selection, opening arguments and the initial round of witness testimony. It is expected, for now, to run through Feb. 10 in Walterboro.
How to watch the Murdaugh double murder trial, who to follow from The State, Island Packet
4:36 p.m. — Recess until Monday
After more than three hours of testimony from Worley, Murdaugh defense attorney Dick Harpootlian asks if the court can recess until Monday. Judge Cliffton Newman agrees.
There haven’t been too many revelations from Worley so far. The prosecution largely used her to submit various pieces of evidence that will later be used in the trial. We’ll be back on Monday to continue Worley’s testimony.
4:02 p.m. — Police tested Murdaugh’s shirts, shorts for blood
Worley, with SLED, says she observed staining on Alex Murdaugh’s shirt. She testifies that, after testing Murdaugh’s shirt and shorts for blood, the tests came back with a presumptive positive.
3:50 p.m. — Worley swabbed black Suburban
The black Chevrolet Suburban — which was towed from the scene — comes up in testimony again.
Worley, the SLED expert, tells prosecutors she searched the vehicle for blood and swabbed spots around the driver and front passenger sides. The swabs came back with likely positive results. She says she sent the swabs to a SLED lab for further analysis.
2:32 p.m. — SLED footwear expert back on stand
We’re back from a lunch break. Worley, the SLED footwear and tire impressions expert, returns to the stand. The prosecution is asking Worley about evidence she found at the scene, including shell casings from a .300 Blackout rifle.
Prosecutors are having Worley go through each piece of evidence, explain how she collected it and confirm her signature on each evidence bag. So far, Worley has not testified much about her expertise.
12:46 p.m. — SLED footwear and tire expert questioned
The prosecution calls to the stand Melinda Worley, who testifies that she is a tire tread and footwear expert with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division. Newman rules that Worley is qualified as an expert on footwear and tire impressions and will be able to give her opinion.
Worley testifies she arrived at the scene around 12:07 a.m. on June 8, 2021. She says she traveled from Columbia and it took her roughly two hours to get there. Upon arriving, Worley says investigators had found a gun, unloaded it and placed it into evidence.
After roughly 30 minutes of examining various pieces of evidence retrieved from the scene, prosecutors begin asking Worley about bloody footprints found near the scene. She says the footprints she observed match shoes worn by Paul Murdaugh.
In the middle of Worley’s testimony, Judge Clifton Newman says the court will recess for lunch. Court will resume at 2:20 p.m.
12:08 p.m. — Prosecution calls SLED investigator to stand
After being questioned by Alex Murdaugh’s defense attorney Jim Griffin, Rutland steps down. Griffin had asked Rutland whether she or Owen questioned Murdaugh about the way in which he tried to check Paul and Maggie for a pulse. Rutland testified that they did not ask him.
The prosecution then calls to the stand Delilah Cirencione, who was a crime investigator with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division during the investigation. Cirencione testifies that she was involved in collecting Maggie Murdaugh’s cell phone on the day after the murders.
Murdaugh defense attorney Dick Harpootlian questions SLED’s collecting of the phone, asking her if she handled it like she would a can of pork and beans. After brief questioning, Cirencione steps down.
11:33 a.m. — Photo shows vehicles found near murder scene
Evidence presented for the jury includes a photograph of two vehicles near the scene where Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were killed.
The photograph appears to show the 2021 Black Chevrolet Suburban and 2019 Chevrolet Silverado that police found near the murder scene. These vehicles are different from the Ford F-250 that police say they found off Highway 63 after the murders.
The Island Packet reported in 2021 that both vehicles were owned by the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick law firm.
The Colleton County Sheriff’s Office had the Suburban towed to a police impound lot on the morning after the murders. The owner of the tow company told the newspaper that a driver with the company arrived at the Murdaugh property, donned gloves and drove the Suburban to the tow truck, then hauled it to the impound lot.
It was parked near the dog pens where the two Murdaughs were found shot to death
11:12 a.m. — Murdaugh was clean ‘from head to toe’
In a series of questions, Meadors asks Rutland about how Alex Murdaugh told police that he checked the pulses of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh and how he claimed to have tried to turn over Paul’s body.
Meadors then asks Rutland to describe Alex Murdaugh’s clothes and hands on the night of the killings. She repeatedly responds “clean” to each question. Meadors asks Rutland to point out the person who was clean “from head to toe” on the night his wife and son were killed. She identifies Murdaugh.
The prosecution appears to be trying to poke holes in Alex Murdaugh’s claims that he tried to check to see if his wife and son were still alive that night. It’s a strong start for Meadors, who was recently hired by the AG’s Office.
10:29 a.m. — Murdaugh told SLED about Moselle groundskeeper
Prosecutors play audio from Alex Murdaugh’s interview with David Owens, an agent from the S.C. Law Enforcement Division on the night of the murders. In the interview, Murdaugh tells Owens about C.B. Rowe, the groundskeeper for the Moselle property who was off work on June 7, 2021.
He describes how Rowe wasn’t doing a good job and had killed some plants on the property. This appears to be one of the first mentions of Rowe in the investigation. Shortly after the murders, rumors had swirled around the community and online about Rowe’s whereabouts the night of the killings.
10:06 a.m. — Alex Murdaugh had personal attorney at scene
Rutland testifies that Danny Henderson was at the scene serving as Alex Murdaugh’s personal attorney. Henderson is a well-known Jasper County attorney and a former colleague of Murdaugh’s at the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick law firm.
PMPED, founded by Murdaugh’s family in 1910, severed ties with Murdaugh in 2022 and rebranded as The Parker Law Group.
9:57 a.m. — Holes in window
Rutland, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office detective, tells Meadors that she noticed that a window in the feed room near the bodies that had several holes in int.
9:45 a.m. — Veteran trial attorney questions detective
John Meadors, a veteran prosecutor recently hired by the S.C. Attorney General’s Office, opens Friday’s court proceedings. Meadors will question Laura Rutland, a detective from the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office who responded to the murder scene.
Meadors, who has prosecuted dozens of murder cases, has previously beaten Murdaugh attorney Dick Harpootlian in another high-profile murder case involving a prominent lawyer as a defendant.
The AG’s Office had previously refused to say whether Meadors would be involved in the Murdaugh case.
9:25 a.m. — Court to resume witness testimony
The Alex Murdaugh double murder trial is expected to start up again at 9:30 a.m. We’ll see prosecutors from the S.C. Attorney General’s Office continue to question police investigators about the night of June 7, 2021 — when Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were found brutally shot to death.
Yesterday, we learned new information about the killings. We listened to an unredacted 911 call where Alex Murdaugh says “No, hell no!” when asked if his wife and son shot themselves. We heard prosecutors ask police investigators about trails of water found near the murder scene. We discovered that Alex Murdaugh immediately told police he thought the murders were connected to the 2019 boat crash that killed Mallory Beach.
And, we learned that police found Paul Murdaugh’s white Ford F-250 off Highway 63 the morning after the murders — a new detail we’ll likely hear more about.