Defense presents closing argument before jury deliberations begin

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 3:15 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2023 at 4:45 PM EST
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - Alex Murdaugh’s legal team didn’t shy away from the elephant in the room during their closing argument on Thursday.

The state building most of their case around Murdaugh lying about being with his wife and son just minutes before they were murdered, but his attorney saying the lie was inconsequential, because that kennel video we’ve talked so much about displays a loving family.

“Why would Alex not want law enforcement to hear that? There’s nothing on that tape, there’s nothing on that tape that indicates there’s any strife, any conflict, any anger, any planning, anybody being afraid, anybody running, anybody scurrying... nothing. It’s Maggie, Paul and Alex down at the kennel, that’s it,” defense attorney Jim Griffin said.

Murdaugh’s attorney has been keeping the focus on the prosecution’s main points from Wednesday.

“Mr. Waters gets up here and says Maggie was running to her baby. Alex was running to his baby,” Griffin said.

Griffin described Alex driving up and finding Paul and Maggie’s bodies, submitting to this jury, that the trauma of that moment scrambled his senses, causing him to get details wrong in talking with law enforcement.

The defense pushed back on as many of the state’s conclusions as possible, specifically getting into how the murders happened.

“Alex has to put the 300 Blackout back down, pick up the shotgun and shoot Paul. Where in the world does that scenario reside other than in Me. Water’s mind? It doesn’t,” Griffin said.

Murdaugh watched intently as his attorneys made their final claim to the jury, flipping this story of lies and deceit back on the prosecution.

“As it turns out in fact the state is the one that’s been manipulating evidence to fill their theories of guilt which changed over time,” Griffin said.

Griffin detailed that by saying a majority of the evidence used to charge Alex with murder in the first place, wasn’t fact. Including a report that stated the defendant’s shirt was covered in blood spatter, a report that wasn’t presented in this trial.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I submit the verdict has to be not guilt, because there’s no reason for him to do it,” Griffin said.

After the defense finished their closing argument the prosecution got the final word in the form of a rebuttal closing.

“Blame everybody else,” state prosecutor John Meadors said.

As the prosecution made the final argument with their rebuttal, closing with this.

“Richard Alexander Murdaugh loved... I think he loved Maggie, I think he loved Paul but who knew who he loved more than that? You know who he loved more than that? Who he was going to make sure that that life, wanted to make sure of that life... he loved Alex. And he exercised his greatest power of choice to make sure that life continued... or tried and couldn’t,” Meadors said.

After that rebuttal finished, the judge gave the jury their instructions on the charges they are to consider, and since just before 4 p.m. Thursday that group of 12 has been delivering.