Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023


Two witnesses within the homicide trial of Alex Murdaugh informed the court docket Wednesday they’re “100%” sure that Murdaugh’s voice is on footage prosecutors say undermines the disgraced former South Carolina lawyer’s declare he was not on the scene of the killings when his spouse Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul have been fatally shot.

The video, simply wanting a minute lengthy, was filmed on Paul’s cellphone beginning at 8:44 p.m. the night time of the killings in 2021, in keeping with Lt. David Britton Dove, a supervisor within the pc crimes heart on the South Carolina Regulation Enforcement Division who extracted forensic knowledge from the telephones of Murdaugh, his son and his spouse.

Three completely different voices may very well be heard within the footage, Dove testified Wednesday, saying the video appeared to have been recorded within the space of the Murdaugh household’s kennels. And whereas Dove didn’t personally know the voices, he mentioned, “You possibly can inform that they’re completely different voices.”

Prosecutors imagine a type of voices – the one different on the video moreover the victims’ – belongs to Alex Murdaugh, putting him on the scene on the time of the murders. And whereas Murdaugh maintained in interviews with legislation enforcement he was not there, two witnesses Wednesday backed up prosecutors’ declare.

Rogan Gibson, who mentioned he was a detailed buddy of Paul’s and the Murdaughs have been like a second household to him, informed investigators shortly after the killings he was 99% certain he heard Alex Murdaugh’s voice within the background of a cellphone name he had with Paul at 8:40 that night time. When he was proven the video final November, he informed investigators he was 100% certain it was Murdaugh’s voice within the background of the footage – an assertion he repeated in court docket Wednesday.

When requested by state prosecutor Creighton Waters if he acknowledged Alex’s voice, Gibson mentioned, “Sure, sir.”

“100%?” requested Waters. “Sure, sir” replied Gibson.

Will Loving, one other witness who was Paul’s buddy, additionally testified he was “100%” certain it was Alex’s voice on the video.

Prosecutors have indicated cellphone proof is vital of their case towards Murdaugh, who has pleaded not responsible to 2 counts of homicide and two counts of possession of a weapon through the fee of a violent crime within the killings of his spouse Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and his 22-year-old son Paul on June 7, 2021.

Murdaugh referred to as 911 the night time of the killings to report he’d discovered his spouse and son shot lifeless on the household’s dwelling in Islandton, South Carolina – a property generally known as Moselle.

However prosecutors accuse Murdaugh of committing the murders to distract consideration from a sequence of alleged illicit schemes he was working to keep away from “private authorized and monetary destroy,” per court docket filings. Separate from the homicide costs, Murdaugh additionally faces 99 costs stemming from alleged monetary crimes, per the state lawyer basic.

Proof will present, the state has claimed, that Murdaugh’s alleged monetary crimes have been “about to come back to mild” when his spouse and son have been killed.

Gibson knew the Murdaughs virtually his complete life, he mentioned. He testified it was Alex Murdaugh’s voice that may very well be heard within the video calling for the household’s yellow lab, Bubba, to drop a hen from his mouth.

Paul Murdaugh referred to as Gibson the night time of the taking pictures, at 8:40 p.m., to ask if one thing was flawed with Gibson’s canine, Money, which was in a kennel on the Murdaugh property. The 2 tried to carry a video name in order that Gibson may see the canine, however the reception was not adequate, Gibson testified.

Paul informed him he would take a video of the canine and ship it to him if the FaceTime name didn’t work, Gibson mentioned, however he by no means obtained the footage. Gibson tried to name and textual content Paul after the failed video name, he mentioned, however his buddy by no means responded.

Prosecutor Waters of the South Carolina Legal professional Basic’s Workplace – which is prosecuting the case because of the Murdaugh household’s decades-old ties with the native solicitor’s workplace – teased the video in his opening assertion final week, saying that whereas Alex claimed to investigators he was napping on the home, video proof would present he was current on the household’s kennels, the place the our bodies of his son and spouse have been discovered.

“You’ll see that video and also you’ll hear from witnesses that determine Paul’s voice, Maggie’s voice and Alex’s voice,” Waters mentioned, telling the court docket Paul was filming a canine that belonged to his buddy as a result of they have been involved in regards to the animal’s tail. Murdaugh “informed anybody who would hear he was by no means there … The proof will present that he was there. He was on the homicide scene with the 2 victims” minutes earlier than Paul’s cellphone “locks without end.”

In his personal opening assertion, protection lawyer Dick Harpootlian mentioned the audio from the video obtained by the prosecution would merely present Murdaugh and his spouse having a “regular dialogue” with “no animosity.” Paul is “very comfortable,” Harpootlian claimed. “No one’s down there threatening him. Daddy shouldn’t be pulling out a shotgun and killing him.”

Throughout cross examination by the protection Wednesday, Gibson mentioned Alex and Paul Murdaugh had an important relationship, and spoke about Alex as an affectionate and loving father who was concerned together with his sons. Alex was like a second father to him, Gibson mentioned.

Murdaugh cried loads and “was simply actual distraught, unhappy, simply tore up” in regards to the deaths, Gibson testified.

“Are you able to consider any circumstance which you can envision, understanding them as you do, the place Alex would brutally homicide Paul and Maggie?” protection lawyer Jim Griffin requested.

“Not that I can consider,” Gibson answered.

The protection lawyer additionally questioned Gibson in regards to the sheds, workshops and automobiles often being left unlocked on the Murdaugh property, and weapons usually left unprotected or simply laying round. Gibson conceded it will be simple for somebody to sneak on the property and steal one thing. On redirect from the prosecution, Gibson acknowledged he had by no means heard Paul complain about folks doing that.

In his testimony Tuesday, Dove, the fifteenth witness referred to as by the prosecution, detailed the communications of Maggie’s cellphone the night time of the killings, together with a textual content from Alex at 9:47 p.m. that learn, “Name me babe.” It was by no means learn.

In his opening assertion final week, Waters informed the jury Murdaugh repeatedly referred to as his spouse that night earlier than texting her that he was going to go to his mom and driving to Almeda, South Carolina.

“It’s as much as you,” Waters mentioned, “to determine whether or not or not he’s attempting to fabricate an alibi.”

In keeping with Dove’s testimony Tuesday, the night time she was killed, Maggie learn two textual content messages – at 8:31 p.m. and eight:49 p.m. – in a gaggle chat with household about Murdaugh’s father, who was in ailing well being, seconds earlier than her cellphone locked for the ultimate time.

The show of Maggie’s cellphone turned off minutes later, at 8:53 p.m. At 8:54 p.m., the orientation modified to panorama and the digicam activated – a sign, Dove mentioned, the cellphone was moved and the digicam tried to find Maggie’s face in an unsuccessful try to unlock.

Maggie’s cellphone confirmed repeated missed calls from her husband over the course of the following hour, Dove testified, together with proof it had switched to portrait mode. That, the skilled mentioned, was one other indication the cellphone was possible held in somebody’s hand. A last name from Murdaugh was missed simply earlier than 10:04 p.m.

However these calls seemed to be lacking from Murdaugh’s cellphone, Dove mentioned Wednesday, testifying that decision logs present a spot in calls between June 4 and 10:25 p.m. the night time of June 7.

“A niche like that may point out” that calls have been “really faraway from there,” Dove mentioned, including the one technique to take away the calls from the log can be to take action manually.

Requested particularly if the calls have been deleted from the log, Dove mentioned, “it will seem that approach,” noting there was no technique to know once they have been deleted or who was accountable.

Moreover, Murdaugh was in the identical group chat as his spouse when kinfolk have been texting about his dying father, Dove mentioned Wednesday. And whereas proof reveals Maggie learn each messages, Murdaugh didn’t learn them till the following day, Dove mentioned, regardless of telling state investigators about his concern for his father’s well being.

This habits seemed to be outdoors Murdaugh’s typical texting habits, Dove testified, saying Murdaugh usually had a behavior of checking texts inside 5 minutes, or generally 30 to 40 minutes.

Correction: An earlier model of this story misspelled the Murdaugh household identify. The story additionally incorrectly described a portion of Rogan Gibson’s testimony. He informed investigators shortly after the killings that he was 99% certain he heard Alex Murdaugh’s voice within the background of a cellphone name he had with Paul at 8:40 that night time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *