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Alex Murdaugh Double Murder Trial Day 3: Forensics and Police Video Take Centerstage


Alex Murdaugh in court for the third day of testimony in his murder trial for the deaths of his wife and son.

The third day of testimony in the Alex Murdaugh murder case on Friday focused on the moments after police arrived on the scene of the defendant’s home.

Prosecutors called a number of forensic witnesses and played audio and video of Murdaugh’s interaction with officers after the shooting.

Below are some highlights from the Law&Crime team:

Prosecutors returned from the lunch break and watched the police video of Murdaugh with police inside a vehicle after the shooting.

Prosecutors have called a number of police witnesses as they present their case on the third day of trial.

The second witness called on Friday was a crime scene expert with SLED.

With the first witness, detective Laura Rutland, on the stand, jurors listened to a recording of Murdaugh speaking with police after his wife and son were found shot to death at their home.

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, with an AR-style .300 Blackout rifle and shotgun, respectively.

Late Wednesday afternoon, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian and lead prosecutor Creighton Waters agreed to release a redacted series of body-worn camera footage collected by first responders and other law enforcement who took part in the initial crime scene investigation at the Murdaugh family hunting lodge on the night of June 7, 2021.

As testimony concluded during the second day, the two sides dueled over the testimony provided by Colleton County Sheriff’s Office Major Jason Chapman, who offered likely welcome testimony for both the state and the defense.

At one point he said he found Alex Murdaugh’s behavior during the 911 call odd because the defendant seemed simultaneously eager for first responders to arrive but just as eager to get off the phone and call other members of the Murdaugh family.

Once on the scene, however, Chapman said the defendant clearly appeared to be upset.

“He was emotional, there was distress on his face, I didn’t see him cry,” the major said. “Not everyone cries, I don’t have an issue with that.”

Chapman also said he identified footprints at the sprawling estate, locally known as Moselle, on the night of the gruesome killings. Those footprints, the corporal said, looked like they were made by flip flops or sandals and appeared to go from one end of a former hangar and back again.

Later, Chapman discussed a “change” in how Alex Murdaugh allegedly acted on the night in question – as law enforcement discovered what appeared to be another set of tire tracks in the dirt.

“Everything changed, he began to watch us work more closely, sometimes out of the corner of his eyes,” the major said.

On cross-examination, Harpootlian asked whether Murdaugh’s “change in demeanor” could have happened because he was interested in evidence that “might point to the killer or killers of his wife and child?”

Chapman replied in a noncommittal fashion: “Could it be? Absolutely, it could be. It was just a change in demeanor.”

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