Autopsy results questioned on day 17 of Murdaugh murder trial

Published: Feb. 14, 2023 at 4:53 PM EST
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WALTERBORO, Sc. (WTOC) - It was an emotional morning for Alex Murdaugh, as the forensic pathologist who did the autopsies for Maggie and Paul returned to the stand.

Just as he was Monday afternoon, Murdaugh fought back tears during graphic testimony, but this time his attorneys were the ones asking the questions.

Dick Harpootlian, one of Alex’s lawyers, was trying to poke holes in the pathologist’s conclusions.

“Somebody could disagree with you and that would be a reasonable disagreement?” asked Harpootlian.

“Well I would say that people can disagree, but that doesn’t change the truth.” said Dr. Ellen Reimer, a forensic pathologist at MUSC.

The defense continued to push, seemingly floating the idea that Paul wasn’t murdered, but instead took his own life. From what we saw, Dr. Ellen Riemer, who’s performed around 5500 autopsies over a 2 decade plus career, seemed a bit frustrated with some questioning and after a battle, Harpootlian closed with this.

“You agree with me that reasonable people could have a difference of opinion about these facts?



The word reasonable is huge there, remember the defense is just trying to put reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds that Alex didn’t kill his wife and son. The state had an opportunity to push back at the defense’s suggestions.

“Your manner of death that you determined for Paul to a reasonable degree of medical certainty was what?” asked state prosecutor Creighton Waters.


“Homicide... which means?”

“Death at the hands of another.”

“Did you see with this shot to the chest or this shot that went through the shoulder into his head that this could potentially be a suicidal wound?”

“I do not believe that it is at all consistent with a suicidal wound.”

This is just one witness from the day and there were a lot more to come.