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The state rests their case on day 18 of Alex Murdaugh double murder trial


Jurors returned to the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday morning as prosecutors defied expectations and 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.

Court-watchers previously expected the state’s case-in-chief to finish by the end of this week but the prosecution may continue on into early next week – on the back of surprise, last-minute-allowed testimony about the defendant’s admittedly botched 2021 suicide attempt.

On Thursday, jurors heard the 911 call from the roadside shooting where Alex Murdaugh suffered what law enforcement ultimately termed a “superficial” injury to his head.

The defendant’s defense attorney Jim Griffin first said his client had stopped to assess car trouble when a truck passed him, doubled back, and then an assailant got out and fired a single shot. The wound was superficial, authorities would later say. Days later, law enforcement says, Alex Murdaugh confessed to hiring former client Curtis Edward “Cousin Eddie” Smith to shoot and kill him to secure a $10 million life insurance payout for his oldest son, Buster Murdaugh.

Jurors also heard an interview with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division wherein Alex Murdaugh ultimately fessed up to the life insurance scheme.

Testimony is set to begin on Friday with the defense’s cross examination of SLED Senior Special Agent Ryan Kelly – who has been involved in investigating the murders at Moselle, but was the lead agent on the roadside shooting fiasco.

One open question is whether the state will rest after Harpootlian finishes with Kelly. The prosecution certainly has the witnesses to keep going, however, there have been concerns from court watchers as to the clarity of their case with such a time-consuming display of evidence and testimony.

At one point during cross-examination, Harpootlian asked Kelly whether Alex Murdaugh had had any opportunity to manipulate witnesses in the case since October 2021. The state objected on relevancy grounds and the objection was sustained.

On Friday, the state began the process of resting their case by calling SLED Special Agent Peter Rodofski – a witness that lead prosecutor Creighton Waters promised would be called upon to provide “lengthy” testimony and exhibits about the timeline on the day of the murders.

The state formally rested their case at 4:06 p.m. EST.

After the prosecution finished up, they released two lengthy files compiled by SLED that offer the state’s timeline of the murders at Moselle. The full, 88-page timeline is available here. The 43-page condensed timeline is available here.

The double murder trial will begin again on the morning of Tuesday, Feb. 21, in lieu of the Presidents Day holiday.

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