Alex Murdaugh says he didn’t kill family, admits to lying to police

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 10:12 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 23, 2023 at 6:24 PM EST
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Alex Murdaugh has decided to take the stand on day 23 of his trial.

The former South Carolina attorney is accused of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul.

Judge Clifton Newman told Alex Murdaugh his rights Thursday morning, should he choose to take the stand.

Alex Murdaugh responded with, “I am going to testify. I want to testify.”

Alex Murdaugh decided to take the stand in his defense, against his legal teams wishes.

Defense Attorney Jim Griffin didn’t waste any time asking Murdaugh whether or not he killed is wife and son and if he lied to law enforcement.

“Mr. Griffin, I didn’t shoot my wife or my son any time. Ever,” Murdaugh said.

“Were you in fact at the kennels at 8:44 p.m. on the night Maggie and Paul were murdered,” asked Defense Atoorney Jim Griffin.

“I was,” Murdaugh answered.

“Did you lie to SLED Agent Owen and Deputy Laura Rutland on the night of June 7, and told them you stayed at the house after dinner,” asked Griffin.

“I did lie to them,” answered Murdaugh.

“Did you lie to Agent Owen and Agent Croft in a follow up interview on June 10 that the last time you saw Maggie and Paul was at dinner,” asked Griffin.

“I did lie to them,” answered Murdaugh.

Murdaugh says he lied because he was not thinking reasonably because of his drug use and was essentially scared.

Murdaugh’s testimony, as you’d expect, was done in a completely different way than any other in this trial as his legal experience showed through.

“I’m well aware that my clothes never became an issue in this case until my lawyers proved that this blood spatter that they said I had on my shirt from my wife and my son was a lie,” Murdaugh said.

Alex’s attorneys have been trying to paint him as a loving husband and father over the last five weeks and that effort only intensified with him on the stand. Specifically, he described his wife Maggie and son Paul for about 10 minutes through constant emotion, with his defense team hitting their point home at the end of each description.

“Would you ever do anything to harm Maggie?” Griffin asked.

I would never hurt Maggie,” Alex responded.

During those detailed descriptions of his loved ones, emotions were evident far beyond the witness stand. Several Murdaughs in the audience wiped tears away, and so did a juror.

The prosecution’s cross examination took a staunchly different tone, focusing on Alex’s financial crimes.

“You understand that we have to ask about these things because we’ve heard about it in a very academic paperwork manner but for every single one of these you had to sit down and look somebody in the eye and convince them that you were on their side when you were not, is that correct? It’s what you did with every single one of these?” state prosecutor Creighton Waters asked.

“Every time,” Alex responded.

“Answer my question yes or no and then you can explain, I’ll let you explain all day long,” Waters asked.

“Well, no sir that may or may not be true, and Mr. Waters just to try and get through this quicker I admit,” Alex said.

“I know you want to get through it quicker but we’re not, so answer the question please,” Waters said.

“What I admit is that I misled them, I did wrong, and that I stole their money,” Alex said.

Cross examination held that tone for the majority of its two hours Thursday and will continue Friday at 9:30 a.m.

You can view a timeline of the Murdaugh case below: