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Alex Murdaugh Murder Trial Day 5


Jurors returned to court on Tuesday as prosecutors continued to present their case against Alex Murdaugh over the brutal murders of his wife and son in early June 2021.

The 54-year-old disgraced legal scion – disbarred as the murder allegations and myriad 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, jurors heard from prosecution witnesses including South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Agent Jeff Croft who testified about what he saw – and captured with his body-worn camera – in the days immediately following the gruesome slayings at the family’s 1,770-acre hunting lodge known to Colleton County locals as Moselle.

A great deal of time was spent discussing footage near the porch of the lodge and just inside the living room where dozens of guns can be seen nestled in a gun rack the very next day. At one point, however, Croft told lead prosecutor Creighton Waters about an interview with the defendant about his deceased family members on June 10, 2021.

In that interview, the SLED agent said, Alex Murdaugh sobbed and said: “I did him so bad” in reference to his youngest son.

The defendant, for his part, reacted in real time by appearing to silently mouth that Croft misheard him and that he said no such thing. Alex Murdaugh’s defense team, however, did not raise an objection on Monday to that interpretation which will likely be contested during Tuesday’s cross-examination.

On Tuesday morning, Croft was questioned by defense attorney Jim Griffin about that utterance – saying he was “confident” his interpretation of the defendant’s words on the video was correct.

Croft’s understanding, expressed to the jury, has led to some confusion as the audio is not clear. A debate on the internet has listeners sharply divided over whether the defendant says “they did him so bad” instead of “I did him so bad.”

The defense seized upon the senior special SLED agent’s under-oath assuredness, quizzing the witness as to how Alex Murdaugh’s alleged confession was treated by law enforcement at the time he said the disputed, somewhat garbled, words.

“What did you do in response to that?” Griffin asked the witness.

“I made a mental note of it,” Croft replied. “We were still in the early stages of the investigation.”

The defense attorney then re-set the scene.

“So, Alex Murdaugh was the one and only in the circle on June the 10th,” Griffin said. “You’re in the car with him. And, according to your testimony, he says, ‘I did him so bad.'”

The special agent again replied in the affirmative.

“If the guy in the middle of the circle, the only one in the circle, says: ‘I did him so bad,’ isn’t that a significant statement if he actually said that?” Griffin asked.

“Definitely something we would follow up with,” Croft answered.

“You never followed up with it,” Griffin said. “Did you?”

The SLED agent responded that there was a “third interview conducted with Alex” months later. The defense attorney noted that third interview occurred on Aug. 11, 2021. He then asked Croft what happened when law enforcement brought up the “did him so bad” statement and asked the defendant to clarify what he meant.

“We didn’t make it to that point, sir,” Croft admitted.

“Did you consider that to be some sort of confession on June the 10th?” Griffin later asked the witness.

“It was definitely going to be something that we were going to follow up on, yessir,” Croft replied.

After lunch, jurors heard hours of testimony about cellular phone records and call logs.

In the case, investigators amassed numerous records from various Verizon subscribers, including the members of the Murdaugh family, Moselle’s groundskeeper, C.B. Rowe, a friend Paul Murdaugh was messaging about a dog on the property the night he died, and others.

SLED Agent Brett Dove spent a substantial amount of his testimony educating the court about how cell phones work and the evidentiary necessities for their use in a criminal investigation.

Court-watchers took note of the stark contrast between the tenor of the morning’s more dramatic testimony, and the relatively dry testimony that jurors sat through in the afternoon.

Testimony in the case has so far moved glacially. While originally expected to last some three weeks, that schedule may change. There are over 250 potential witnesses listed and though not every would-be witness will be called, the state has only moved through just over a dozen so far as the court went into recess on Tuesday afternoon.

The trial begins again at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

[image via The Post and Courier/Pool]

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