Skip to main content

Alex Murdaugh double murder trial — Day 15


Jurors returned to the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday morning as prosecutors continued their case against attorney Alex Murdaugh over the double murder of his wife and son at the family’s storied and massive hunting lodge in June 2021.

The 54-year-old disgraced legal scion – disbarred soon after murder allegations and various alleged financial improprieties came to light – is accused of shooting and killing his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son Paul Murdaugh, 22.

On Monday, DNA evidence took center stage as jurors heard from two forensic scientists with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Both sides were able to elicit what appeared to be favorable testimony from each witness.

“Is it fair to say there’s no human blood on the T-shirt?” defense attorney Phillip Barber asked SLED scientist Sarah Zapata, referring to the heavily-contested white T-shirt the defendant was found wearing by law enforcement on the night of the slayings.

“The test that I performed was negative for the presence of human blood,” Zapata said.

Barber also was able to elicit testimony from Zapata that her SLED lab tests were “0 for 74” on finding any kind of blood on Alex Murdaugh’s clothes on the night when Paul Murdaugh had his brain ejected from his skull by a shotgun blast at close range while Maggie Murdaugh was killed with what the state calls an “AR-style” rifle.

Grim and graphic details of the brutal murders were also relayed late Monday afternoon by Dr. Ellen Riemer, who conducted the autopsies on the deceased members of the Murdaugh family.

Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian signaled that cross-examination of Riemer will likely be extensive and could go until 7:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday.

Ultimately, however, cross-examination of the forensic pathologist did not last quite as long as Alex Murdaugh’s defense suggested the day before.

After Riemer was dismissed, the state called a last-minute witness who works for General Motors, as the prosecution is said to have discovered additional evidence they wanted to present from the defendant’s Chevy Suburban. Alex Murdaugh admittedly drove a substantial amount on the night in question. He claims it was to visit his ailing mother; the state seems to be arguing that the trip was to help establish a false alibi.

Jurors also heard from Roger Davis, a maintenance man for Moselle, the Murdaugh family hunting lodge, who took care of the dogs on the property. Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot and killed near the dog kennels.

Jurors later heard from Marian Proctor, Maggie Murdaugh’s sister.

In the end, however, the sister’s testimony may have been something of a wash.

“It was good,” Proctor testified, echoing every other bit of witness testimony about the state of the marriage between the defendant and his wife. “It wasn’t perfect, but Maggie was happy.”

Join the discussion 

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime: