South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh called police to report that he had arrived home on the night of June 7 to find his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, dead on their sprawling Colleton County hunting compound.
Within moments of the first sheriff’s deputy arriving at the crime scene, Murdaugh told the officer about a boat crash that occurred more than two years earlier. He said he’d been getting threats about the incident.
Bodycam Video Shows Murdaugh Brought Up His Son’s Boat Crash As Soon As Cops Arrived
In court on Thursday, jurors saw the panicked 911 call Alex Murdaugh made to police after finding his son and wife dead. The heir to a South Carolina legal dynasty was on trial for their murders.
He brought up the boat crash as soon as the cops arrived, according to bodycam video played for the jury. It showed Murdaugh wiping his eyes as he rocked back and forth.
When Deputy Greene walked up to the scene, he was immediately told by Mr Murdaugh that there had been a boat crash in 2019. The incident had caused a lot of tensions in the family’s small community.
“I’ve been thinking about that boating accident and what happened,” Murdaugh tells the officer. He says he had been talking to someone who was on the boat the night of the crash about what happened, and that the victim was his son.
He also said that he had been having a ‘bonding experience’ with Paul just hours before the killings. And he claimed that the family were being threatened by a man who was going to kill Paul so that he could get a $10 million life insurance policy.
Bodycam Video Shows Murdaugh Tells Deputy Greene He’d Been Napping
Murdaugh’s comments to police about his whereabouts around the time of the murders may not have been accurate, according to prosecutors Friday. A bodycam video showed Murdaugh telling Deputy Greene he’d been napping when the officer asked where he’d been the night before.
The audio of the 911 call played in court Thursday also contradicted Murdaugh’s statement to dispatchers. He said he’d last talked to his wife about two hours before she and their son were killed.
But prosecutors have cell phone evidence that puts Murdaugh at the crime scene much closer to the victims than he told dispatchers. A video shot by Murdaugh’s son Paul minutes before he was killed — according to cellphone data – had the voices of both of his parents and his brother on it, prosecutors say.
And a state agent who specializes in analyzing cellphone data reconstructed a flurry of activity on Maggie Murdaugh’s iPhone at 8:49 p.m. – including the display changing from portrait to landscape and back several times and a camera turning on for one second – all in the moments before her phone was found on the side of a road about half a mile from the family’s property.
Prosecutors have accused the disgraced attorney of killing his wife and son to distract attention from a series of alleged financial crimes. But Murdaugh’s lawyer, Mark Harpootlian, insists he’s innocent and that jurors will see a Snapchat showing him and his son Paul enjoying their father-and-son bonding time just two hours before the killings.
Bodycam Video Shows Murdaugh Tells Deputy Greene He’d Been Visiting His Mother
In body camera footage of Deputy Greene’s interaction with Murdaugh, the disgraced lawyer tells the officer that he’d been visiting his mother and arrived home to find her dead along with their son. The video is played on monitors in the courtroom, but visitors could not see it because prosecutors kept the galleries closed for their testimony Thursday.
Defense attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian occasionally held a cardboard box lid in front of the monitor, shielding their client from having to see the video. They said it was a way to protect their client and ensure that the public would not be exposed to evidence that may have been destroyed.
Harpootlian also grilled Greene about his failure to indicate possible tire tracks to state crime scene agents. He testified that he did not know any officers went into a feed room behind Paul Murdaugh’s body, but that it was his job to secure the scene and preserve evidence.
Harpootlian also asked Greene why he didn’t put anything on his feet to preserve blood and brains spattered on the ground, saying he didn’t think that would be dangerous. He also testified that he didn’t take photos of the scene to preserve any possible clues.