Prosecution rests case in Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial

Published: Feb. 17, 2023 at 5:24 PM EST
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WALTERBORO, Sc. (WTOC) - With their final witness on the stand, the state tying all the data they’ve presented over the last three and a half weeks together into one final timeline.

“Do both Maggie and Paul’s phone lock forever around 8:49?”

“They do.”

Over an hour later on this timeline of June 7th, the prosecution says General Motors data of Alex’s car shows him arriving at the scene with just seconds before he calls for help.

“From the moment the suburban arrived at the kennels, how long did it take for that 911 call to be made?” asked state prosecutor Creighton Waters.

“20 seconds.”

In that 911 call, Alex says he checked the bodies of his wife and son so the state there insinuating he already knew they were dead. A suggestion the defense went after.

“If the person getting out of the car had seen the bodies already and already knew something was horribly wrong, do you believe that is an unreasonably short period of time to inspect and call 911?” asked defense attorney Phil Barber.

“I am here to testify on this data, not the hypothetical.”

That witness was the state’s last, so their case was essentially finished. Before they could make that announcement in front of the jury though, the defense made a drastic effort to end this trial now without the jury.

“Alex Murdaugh was not at the scene of the crime at the time his wife and son were murdered and there’s no evidence that he was. For that reason, we move for a directed verdict.” said defense attorney Jim Griffin.

If it was granted, then Judge Clifton Newman would’ve decided this case before the defense even called their first witness, taking the verdict out of the hands of the jury and jumping to the end of this trial. Judge Newman shutting down the defense’s argument though.

“There’s evidence to support a guilty verdict if it is believed by the jury. I therefore deny the motion for a direct verdict,” said Judge Newman.

From there the state officially rested their case and the trial continued with Alex Murdaugh’s attorney’s now on the offensive.

“Ready to roll with the defense?”

“Rock and roll your, honor,” said Dick Harpootlian.

“Rock and roll!”

The defense called their first two witnesses Friday - the Colleton County coroner and Colleton County Sheriff’s Office PIO.

Court resumes on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.