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Alex Murdaugh takes the stand in double-murder trial

Murdaugh is accused of fatally shooting his wife Maggie and their 22-year-old old son, Paul, in 2021.
Alex Murdaugh wipes away tears
Posted at 11:03 AM, Feb 23, 2023

Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh testified at his double-murder trial Thursday.

Murdaugh, 54, is accused of fatally shooting his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, on June 7, 2021. Their bodies were found near the dog kennels on the family’s 1,770-acre estate in Islandton, South Carolina.

Murdaugh says he was at his mother’s home at the time of the shooting, but authorities say blood spatter allegedly found on his clothing indicates that he, too, was at the dog kennels when his wife and son were killed.

Murdaugh maintained his innocence, but admitted he lied about not being near the kennels. 

"Once I told a lie, then I told my family, I had to keep lying," he said.

Murdaugh called 911 at 10:07 p.m. to report finding Maggie and Paul deceased. His attorneys say their client checked the bodies for signs of life, which ultimately transferred blood onto his hands and clothes.

Prosecutors say Murdaugh murdered his wife and son to gain sympathy ahead of a “pending motion that threatened to expose years of substantial debts and illicit financial crimes,” The Associated Press reported.

In a shocking turn of events, Murdaugh was shot three months later while changing a tire on a rural road. 

Authorities quickly unraveled a murder-for-hire plot that would allow Murdaugh’s oldest son to receive a $10 million insurance payout. Curtis Edward Smith, the alleged gunman and former client of Murdaugh, is accused of conspiring with the 54-year-old. The duo was indicted for the alleged scheme in Nov. 2021.

Murdaugh faces 106 criminal charges, including murder, drug, and financial fraud charges dating back to at least 2011. He is also named a defendant in three separate civil suits. He has been disbarred, and his assets frozen.

Murdaugh faces up to life in prison if convicted.