Murdaugh defense demands evidence be handed over in new motion
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Attorneys representing former Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh have filed a new motion seeking evidence from prosecutors before he goes on trial for murder in January.
Murdaugh is accused of the June 7, 2021, killings of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh.
Murdaugh’s defense attorneys say they have filed a motion to compel the state to provide evidence to the defense. The motion lists 15 items the defense says it does not yet have.
Among the evidence listed is any and all testing results of the victims’ clothing, including DNA and gunshot residue testing. The motion states that while the state has produced two “lengthy DNS reports and a gunshot residue report.”
“However, none of these reports indicate results of any analysis of Maggie and Paul’s clothing,” the document states. “If the state has conducted any such analysis, then this information must be provided under Rule 5. If the state has not conducted any such analysis, the state should be required to notify the defense, as this failure to conduct any DNA analysis of Paul and Maggie’s clothing would be convincing evidence that the state’s investigation has only been solely focused on the defendant since the night of the murders.”
The motion also seeks gunshot residue testing lab results and bench notes providing “the specific number of particles” removed from Alex Murdaugh’s shirt, shorts and hands; cell phone forensic analysis; and the complete autopsy files for the two victims.
“The state has obtained and produced the autopsy report and autopsy photos,” the document states. “However, the state does not have the pathologist’s handwritten notes and diagrams which are commonly made during the course of an autopsy of shooting victims. The defendant needs this information to provide to the defense pathologist for review.
Another item of note listed in the document includes photos of Maggie Murdaugh’s phone taken by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office and the Colleton County Solicitor’s Office.
“These are photos of the phone when they found it on the side of the road,” the document states.
Attorneys have also demanded all polygraph stim test and chart recordings taken during the investigation, data from Google about a search warrant that sought geofencing data from the property where the killings took place; and Colleton County Sheriff’s and 14th Circuit Solicitor’s files on the case.
They also want any audio and video recordings of interviews of Curtis “Eddie” Smith, an alleged Murdaugh accomplice who is accused of conspiring with Murdaugh to defraud an insurance company.
The document alleges there are at least two audio and video recordings of interviews with Smith that have not been produced.
“Defense counsel is informed and believed that Smith makes statements about his involvement in the roadside shooting that are inconsistent with later statements,” the document states. “The state had indicated that Smith is expected to be a prosecution witness.”
Last week, Murdaugh’s defense team accused prosecutors of turning a blind eye to Smith during their investigation, despite Smith allegedly failing a polygraph test in May.
A court filing alleged that at three different times, polygraph reults found Smith’s responses were “indicative of attempted deception. Two of those times were when asked if he shot Maggie or Paul Murdaugh and a third instance was when an investigator asked if Smith was present when they were shot, defense attorneys claimed.
Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said that as of Friday, the state has provided “over three-quarters of a terabyte of information to the defense.”
“No Brady material will be withheld and, as always, we will address these issues in our pleadings and in the courtroom and will not try this case outside the courtroom,” Kittle said.
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