Jury Hears Alex Murdaugh’s Tearful Interview That Cops Say Doesn’t Add Up
Hours after his wife and son were murdered outside their rural South Carolina home, Alex Murdaugh insisted in a police interview that he had a “wonderful” relationship with his family before offering up his own theory on the grisly crime.
In a recorded interview from June 7, 2021, that was played at Murdaugh’s murder trial on Friday, the disgraced attorney explained that he’d recently returned home after visiting his mother, who has Alzheimer’s, and had gone down to the kennels just outside their Colleton County estate knowing that his “dog lover” wife, Maggie, would be there. But when he arrived at the kennels, he said he found his 52-year-old wife and his 22-year-old son, Paul, fatally shot.
“I pulled up and I could see them, I knew it was something bad,” Murdaugh said on the tape.
How the Murdaugh Saga Unfolded—From a Boat Crash to Murder
At times gasping for breath in between sobs, Murdaugh then told South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division agents that he could see Paul’s brain matter on the ground as he went to “touch them both” to check for a pulse. He explained that he then tried to turn over Paul and grab his son’s cellphone out of his pocket—before quickly putting it down and checking on his wife.
Despite his claims that he tried multiple times to check on Maggie and Paul, Colleton County Sheriff’s Detective Laura Rutland testified in court Friday that Murdaugh appeared “clean” and had no traces of blood on his clothes or shoes when she first approached him at the murder scene. Rutland added that she also did not see any shoe or knee prints in the pools of blood around Paul’s body that would be consistent with Murdaugh’s claims.
The contradictory claims during his initial police interview are among the pieces of evidence that prosecutors hope will prove to the jury that Murdaugh fatally shot two members of his family in a twisted scheme to shift the attention away from his soon-to-be-exposed financial crimes and garner sympathy in the community.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the double homicide. His defense lawyers have argued that Murdaugh had no motivation to murder his family and prosecutors have no concrete evidence tying him to the grisly murders that captured national headlines.
If convicted, Murdaugh faces 30 years in prison.
Over the last two days, several officers testified that Murdaugh was “upset” but not crying as authorities responded to the murder scene the night of June 7, 2021. They also indicated that Murdaugh immediately told a law enforcement officer that he believed the motivation behind the murders was connected to a February 2019 boat crash. At the time of the murders, Paul was awaiting trial after allegedly crashing a boat while intoxicated—resulting in the death of his friend, 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
Murdaugh also brought up the boat crash during his first interview with SLED agents after he was asked if there was anyone who would have wanted to hurt his family. Insisting that he had a “wonderful” marriage with Maggie and a relationship that was “as good as it could be” with Paul, Murdaugh mentioned that he had been proud of his son for how he handled the public scrutiny—and threats—of the boat crash case.
“I’ve never been prouder of him than the way he has handled the pressures and the adversity in that situation,” Murdaugh said in the police interview. “Paul is a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful kid.”
Murdaugh added that the family had received a lot of “negative publicity” around the crash and that Paul had been “punched and hit and just attacked” as he was awaiting trial.
But on the night of the murders, Murdaugh said that nothing seemed out of the ordinary with the family. He said in the interview that after briefly taking a nap, he woke up and texted his wife at around 9:08 p.m. to let her know he was going to visit his mother. About 40 minutes later, he said he tried calling Maggie when he was returning back to the house.
Minutes later, at around 10:07 p.m, Murdaugh called the police to report that his family had been shot. Prosecutors previously argued to jurors that Murdaugh actually killed his family about two hours earlier—and then called his dead wife and several family members to establish an alibi.
“It’s up to you to decide whether or not he was trying to manufacture an alibi,” state prosecutor Creighton Waters said Wednesday at the start of Murdaugh’s murder trial.
Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast here
Get the Daily Beast's biggest scoops and scandals delivered right to your inbox. Sign up now.
Stay informed and gain unlimited access to the Daily Beast's unmatched reporting. Subscribe now.