Alex Murdaugh was ‘fidgety’ when he visited his mother on night of Maggie and Paul’s murders
Alex Murdaugh was ‘fidgety’ when he visited his elderly mother on the night of Maggie and Paul’s murders, according to her caregiver.
Muschelle “Shelly” Smith told jurors that Murdaugh was at his parents’ home for around 15 or 20 minutes, half as long as the alleged killer said he was there.
The caregiver said Murdaugh visited again three days after the murders and told her he had been visiting for 30 to 40 minutes. Smith wept in the witness stand as she said how this made her ‘nervous’ and she told her police officer brother about the conversation.
Prosecutors say Murdaugh, 54, shot his wife Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, shortly after 8.49pm on June 7, 2021, at the family’s hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina.
He fired up his Chevrolet Suburban at 9.06pm and drove to his mother’s home in Almeda, around 15 minutes away. He then returned home where he claims he found Maggie and Paul dead, and called 911 at 10.07pm.
Scroll down for LIVE courtroom video.
Muschelle “Shelly” Smith (left) – the caregiver of Murdaugh’s elderly mother Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Alexander Murdaugh (right) – told how she spoke to the alleged killer on the night of the murders when he visited his parents house. Prosecutors say this was after he killed Maggie and Paul
Alex Murdaugh pictured with his wife Maggie and their two sons Paul (left) and Buster
The state suggests this may have been in an effort to ‘manufacture an alibi.’
Smith told jurors that Murdaugh arrived at his mother’s wearing a T-shirt and shorts sometime between 9pm and 9.30pm. This was later than he had ever visited before. His mother is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s.
Smith told jurors that Murdaugh appeared anxious during the visit and was ‘fidgeting’. He sat at his mother’s bedside periodically checking his phone.
Smith said she did not see any blood on him. Murdaugh was wearing a dress shirt and long pants earlier in the evening, according to a Snapchat video sent by Paul at 7.56pm.
When cops arrived he was wearing a white T-shirt and khaki shorts which appeared clean.
Smith testified that a few days after the slayings, Murdaugh visited his parents’ house at 6.30am which she said was ‘unusual’ and he was never there that early.
She said Murdaugh was carrying a ‘blue something’ in his hand that looked like a tarp or jacket. A blue jacket was later found at Murdaugh’s parents’ home coated in gun residue.
Murdaugh told Smith that when he visited his mother on the night of the murders he had been there for 30 to 40 minutes, around double the time she said he was there.
The caregiver was so concerned by this that she later called her brother, a South Carolina police officer, for advice.
During the visit, Murdaugh asked her about her upcoming wedding and mentioned that he could help her will the bill.
The defense grilled Smith over whether she had seen a tarp or a jacket.
Defense Attorney Jim Griffin a tarp seized from Murdaugh’s parents home and she said that was what she had seen. Asked if she could confuse it with a rain jacket she said no.
Establishing whether it was a tarp or rain jacket is because the latter was covered in gun residue. The defense objected to evidence of gun residue on the jacket going before the jury because they say that prosecutors have not proved any link between the item of clothing and their client. That objection was overruled.
Griffin also asked her about Murdaugh’s demeanor on the night, ‘Is his normal behavior kind of fidgety?’
Smith said: ‘Yes.’
Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes ARE admissible in his double-murder trial
This morning, Judge Clifton Newman ruled that Murdaugh’s financial crimes are admissible in his double-murder trial in a major blow to the legal scion’s defense.
The judge granted the prosecution motion because the crimes ‘are so intimately connected and explanatory, it’s vital for context and essential for telling the complete story.’
The state called seven witnesses in the absence of the jury over the last three days of the trial to provide explosive evidence about how Murdaugh’s life was spiraling out of control and ‘Hannibal was at the gate.’
The defense fought to keep that evidence from the jury, arguing that there is ‘no logical connection’ between the financial impropriety and the killings.
But Judge Newman said: ‘I find that the jury is entitled to consider whether the apparent desperation of Mr. Murdaugh because of his dire financial situation, the threat of being exposed for committing the crimes for which he was later charged, resulted in the commission of the alleged crimes.’
Jurors will begin hearing the evidence of his financial crimes Tuesday.
Judge Clifton Newman granted the prosecution motion because the ‘financial crimes are so intimately connected and explanatory, it’s vital for context and essential for telling the complete story’. He added: ‘I find that the jury is entitled to consider whether the apparent desperation of Mr. Murdaugh because of his dire financial situation, the threat of being exposed for committing the crimes for which he was later charged, resulted in the commission of the alleged crimes’
Murdaugh listens to the evidence of his alleged financial crimes at Colleton County Court in Walterboro, South Carolina, on Monday at his double-murder trial
Murdaugh tried to ‘bully’ attorney suing him for his son’s fatal boat crash
Earlier the court heard from Mark Tinsley, the attorney for the family of a teen girl who was killed in a boat crash during which Murdaugh’s son Paul was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Paul and his father were facing a wrongful death lawsuit over the boat crash which killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach in February 2019.
Tinsley told how Murdaugh claimed he was broke and that a hearing to compel the alleged killer to disclose his finances was due just three days before his wife Maggie and Paul were murdered.
At the time of Paul’s death, Murdaugh was facing a lawsuit over allowing his son to drive his boat under the influence of alcohol when 19-year-old Mallory (left and right) was killed in February 2019. Murdaugh told cops Paul and Maggie had been killed in revenge for the accident
Murdaugh – a chronic opioid addict – would go on to arrange for a hitman to shoot him in the head three months later in a botched life insurance fraud scheme.
Tinsley is one of seven witnesses who gave evidence in the absence of the jury but following Judge Newman’s ruling it is now admissible in the murder trial.
Earlier he recalled how Murdaugh had tried to ‘intimidate’ him into dropping the lawsuit.
He said he met the alleged killed at fundraising event for either state senator Dick Harpootlian or US senator Lindsey Graham in 2019. Harpootlian is also Murdaugh’s defense attorney in the murder trial.
‘He comes over and he gets up close in my face and he says, “Hey bo, what’s this I’m hearing about what you’re saying, I thought we were friends”‘, Tinsley told the court.
Tinsley said he interpreted this as an attempt to ‘intimidate me and bully me into backing off.’
Beach family attorney Mark Tinsley (left) recalled being confronted by Murdaugh (right) who tried to ‘intimidate’ him at a fundraising event attended by trial lawyers – either for state senator Dick Harpootlian or US senator Lindsey Graham in 2019. Harpootlian is also Murdaugh’s defense attorney in the murder trial
Then in November 2020, Tinsley was told that Murdaugh was broke. The attorney said he knew Murdaugh’s firm made substantial money and that his family had generational wealth.
‘There wasn’t any way that he could be broke, he’s actively settling cases, big cases,’ he said.
Asked about the sum he was seeking, Tinsley said it became a matter of professional integrity for him to try and get as much money for the Beach family as possible.
He said the evidence against Murdaugh was damning, that he had been negligent in allowing his underage son to drive his boat under the influence of alcohol. He told the court Paul had bought booze using his elder brother Buster’s ID.
If he simply took the insurance money without pursuing Murdaugh personally it would appear that ‘there was a fix on.’
‘I think for a long time Alex thought there was a fix on,’ Tinsley added.
The attorney said it was met with ‘shock [in the legal community] that I was going to find Murdaugh personally responsible.’
He filed a motion to compel Murdaugh’s lawyers to provide evidence to support his claim he was broke.
Tinsley said he was initially ‘stone-walled’ and then Murdaugh’s lawyers filed an objection to his motion.
A hearing to compel Murdaugh to disclose his finances was scheduled for June 10 – three days before Maggie and Paul were shot dead.
As a result, the hearing was postponed and never rescheduled.
Tinsley said: ‘Pretty quickly, I recognized that the case against Alex, if he were in fact the victim of some vigilante, would be over.’
Alex Murdaugh arrives with his jacket hiding his handcuffs as escorts escort him inside for day eleven of his double murder trial at Colleton County Court in Walterboro on Monday
Buster Murdaugh and his girlfriend Brooklynn White arrive Monday for the double murder trial in Walterboro, South Carolina
‘When the hounds are at the door for Alex Murdaugh, violence happens’: How prosecutors convinced judge to allow evidence of Murdaugh’s financial crimes
Prosecutor Creighton Waters last week told the judge: ‘When the hounds are at the door, when Hannibal’s at the gate for Alex Murdaugh, violence happens.’
He told the judge the evidence was essential for jurors to understand the defendant was ‘out of options and out of time.’
Waters said: ‘He was burning through cash like crazy. He was out of options. The $792,000 was gone in no time at all. He had been living in a velocity of money that is really quite stunning.
‘And he constantly needed to achieve more money to avoid the reckoning that was coming.
‘The evidence will show on that particular date, June 7, 2021, when he’s being asked about these fees, the financial condition is not there. He’s extremely leveraged in the debt that he has.
‘And he’s forced to do these things to stay ahead.’
He argued that evidence about Murdaugh paying a hitman to shoot him in the head 12 weeks after the killings of his wife and son was relevant because there was a ‘symmetry’ between the two acts of violence which centered around money.
But defense attorney Jim Griffin said: ‘Your honor there is no logical connection and it does not lead to evidence of motive.’
Mallory Beach was killed in February 2019 in a boat accident during which an underage Paul Murdaugh was driving his father’s boat under the influence of alcohol
Paul was driving his father’s boat (pictured after the crash) in February 2019
Bottles and cans of beer found aboard the boat which Paul Murdaugh was driving under the influence
‘There is no financial gain, there is nothing to be gained … it is all just a theory, there are no facts,’ he told the judge.
He rubbished the idea that killing his wife and son would help Murdaugh ‘get out from scrutiny.’
CFO at Murdaugh’s firm confronted him about $792,000 he stole on day of the killings
The judge was forced to exclude the jury as the state called to the witness stand on Thursday Jeanne Seckinger, who was CFO at Murdaugh’s firm Peters Murdaugh Parker Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED), at the time of the killings.
TIMELINE: NIGHT OF THE KILLINGS
Alex Murdaugh, 54, is accused of shooting his wife, Maggie, 52, and younger son Paul, 22, at the family’s hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night of June 7, 2021.
Here are the key events in the timeline laid out by prosecutors:
At 7.56pm, Paul sent a Snapchat video to friends showing the 22-year-old riding around the estate with his father.
Around 8.15pm, Murdaugh’s wife Maggie arrived home and the trio ate dinner together. Autopsies showed similar stomach contents in Maggie and Paul.
About 8.30pm, Paul’s phone starts moving towards the kennels.
Then at 8.44pm, a second video taken by Paul at the kennels – soon to become a murder scene – allegedly proves that Maggie, Paul and Alex were together.
At 8.49pm the prosecution say Paul and Maggie’s phones lock and go silent forever, never to send another text or make another call.
The prosecution say the pair were killed shortly after.
At 9.06pm, Murdaugh’s car is fired up.
The alleged killer said he went to go visit his mother, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease, in Almeda – around a 15-minute drive.
At 10.07pm, Murdaugh called 911 claiming he had arrived home a to find his wife and son shot dead.
She recounted how on the day of the murders she had confronted Murdaugh about the missing $792,000.
‘He was leaning on a file cabinet outside his office,’ Seckinger told the court. ‘He looked at me and said “what do you want now?” and gave me a very dirty look, not a look I had ever got from him before.’
Seckinger said she told him they better step into his office and she proceeded to tell him how she had reason to believe he had received the funds owed to the law firm for the case.
The CFO explained that in their line of work all fees went directly to the legal firm – if not, ‘that would be stealing.’
Seckinger said that Murdaugh assured her that the money was there and that he could get it – he then went on to discuss his ailing father, the family patriarch Randolph III, and the conversation between the pair continued ‘as friends.’
Later that day, prosecutors allege Murdaugh killed his wife and son.
Seckinger said that, as a result, her inquiries to Murdaugh about the missing funds ceased immediately.
‘Alex was distressed and upset and nobody wanted to harass him about it,’ she told the court.
In addition, an upcoming hearing in the civil lawsuit Murdaugh and his son were facing over a fatal boat crash was cancelled. Paul crashed his father’s boat while under the influence of alcohol, killing 19-year-old Mallory Beach in February 2019.
However, Seckinger said partners at PMPED continued discussions about the missing funds behind closed doors.
Indeed, PMPED uncovered a series of thefts from 2011 to 2012 Murdaugh perpetrated against the Badger family after their mother, Donna, was killed in a crash with a UPS truck. She said Murdaugh stole $1.3m in addition to the $1.2m he took in legal fees.
It was decided on September 2, 2021, that Murdaugh’s brother Randy and firm partner Lee Cope would meet with him privately to confront him.
Murduagh is said to have admitted the theft, and resigned on the spot.
This was 12 weeks after the murders of Maggie and Paul.
Two days later, news broke that Murdaugh had been shot.
Murdaugh wearing a white t-shirt and khaki shorts after cops arrived (left). He called 911 at 10.07pm on June 7, 2021. Earlier, in a Snapchat video taken by Paul at 7.56pm, Murdaugh wears a blue dress shirt and beige pants
Prosecutor Creighton Waters asks witness Jeff Croft, a SLED senior special agent, about a .300 Blackout rifle recovered from the property. Paul was killed with a shotgun and Maggie with a rifle – but no murder weapon has ever been found
Alex Murdaugh with his son Paul and wife Maggie. The pair were 22 and 52-years-old when the prosecution say the disgraced attorney shot them dead at the Moselle estate on June 7, 2021
Seckinger said she was out on a boat with her family when someone from the emergency services informed her that Murdaugh had been shot in the head on the side of Old Salkehatchie Road in Hampton, and he was being flown by helicopter to the hospital in Savannah.
Her immediate reaction was fear. ‘Was this retaliation? Was he involved in something bigger that was going to get more of us in trouble?’ She told the court.
The court did not hear more evidence of that shooting – but it is a matter of public record that the legal heir has admitted that he arranged to have a hitman shoot him in a botched life insurance scam.
Medical records released by his legal team in October 2021 in a bid to boost his credibility confirmed that he claimed he had paid his cousin Edward Smith to shoot him on the side of the road.
He wanted it to look like a drive-by shooting so that Buster, his surviving son, would receive a payout on his life insurance policy.
Murdaugh survived and called 911. At first he said he had been killed in a drive-by shooting.
Smith – who is facing charges for the incident – claimed he had no role in the suicide scam and was trying to stop Murdaugh from killing himself when the gun went off.
Murdaugh’s former best friend tells how the alleged killer admitted stealing from his firm and confessed a 20-year opioid addiction
In court Thursday, the state called Murdaugh’s close friend and colleague Chris Wilson. The jury were also not present for this evidence.
Wilson said they were roommates in law school and became best friends. Wilson added he thought Murdaugh was his best friend and thought he felt the same way.
Waters asked: ‘You feel that way now?’
‘I don’t know how I feel now Mr. Waters,’ Wilson said, his voice cracking.
Wilson worked on the case with Murdaugh in which $792,000 in legal fees disappeared.
Murdaugh’s lawyer places a hand on his shoulder to comfort him as he sobs. The 30-minute interview took place around 1am – about four hours after the killings – inside a state agent’s vehicle.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters argued: ‘When the hounds are at the door, when Hannibal’s at the gate for Alex Murdaugh, violence happens.’ The state argues Murdaugh shot his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, at their hunting lodge in Islandton, South Carolina, on June 7, 2021, to divert attention away from the decade of malfeasance that was gathering ‘like a perfect storm.’
Murdaugh’s defense attorney Dick Harpootlian. The defense what the evidence tossed but the prosecution say it is vital the jury understand the broader picture of chaos in Murdaugh’s life
This sparked the investigation by the law firm, PMPED.
Wilson testified Murdaugh admitted he had stolen money and had been addicted to opioids for 20 years
Wilson told the court that he was informed on September 3, 2021, by PMPED attorney Lee Cope that Murdaugh had been stealing money from the law firm.
He met with Murdaugh in at his parents’ home in Almeda.
‘I was so mad. I had loved the guy for so long, and I probably still love him a little bit, but I was so mad.’
Wilson grew emotional as he told the court he does not know how he did not notice his friend’s life was descending into chaos.
‘He told me that he had been stealing money.’ Murdaugh admitted that he had ‘sh*t me up.’ He said he had ‘sh*t a lot of people up.’
Wilson later found out that Murdaugh had been shot in the head.
‘What in the devil is going on?’ Wilson told the court he thought at the time. ‘I thought he had tried to kill himself.’
While Murdaugh has reached out, Wilson hasn’t spoken to him since.
One of the texts sent to Wilson said: ‘So sorry for the havoc I created. I’d do anything to make it right.’
WHERE MAGGIE DIED: A pool of blood is seen outside the kennels near the doghouse where Maggie Murdaugh was shot dead. Fire AR bullets in total, with two piercing her brain
WHERE PAUL DIED: Blood spatters on the floor inside the storage room at the kennels where Paul Murdaugh was shot dead. He was killed with a shot to the chest and a second to the head. Two shotgun shells were recovered by cops – two 12-gauge shells, two different brands – one Federal, the other Winchester
MURDER SCENE: Paul’s body lies outside the storage room, while Maggie lies just outside the kennels by the doghouse
The trial is taking place at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, a sleepy, rural town 50 miles west of Charleston in a low-lying region of South Carolina over which the Murdaugh family has wielded immense judicial and political power.
Indeed, in the courtroom where Murdaugh faces judgment, a portrait of his late grandfather – legendary longtime 14th Circuit Solicitor Buster Murdaugh Jr. – had hung on the wall before it was removed ahead of the trial.
Prosecutors have said Murdaugh killed his wife and child to generate sympathy and distract from his financial crimes, an alleged motive that Murdaugh’s lawyers have argued doesn’t make sense.
But he has adamantly insisted from the moment he found the bodies of his wife and youngest son shot multiple times that he was not the killer.
Following the murder trial, Murdaugh will have to face more than 100 additional criminal charges, ranging from drug trafficking to allegations that he stole nearly $9million from clients and other attorneys.
Prosecutors say Murdaugh lured his wife and son to their 1,700-acre hunting lodge and shot them dead.
The state also claims that his life was spiraling out of control amid years of opioid addiction and ballooning debts.
Murdaugh pleaded not guilty in June, and the blockbuster trial is expected to include wild allegations of dark family secrets, financial ruin and hedonistic excess.
In total, over 220 people could testify against Murdaugh in the trial.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk
https://www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com/health-news/alex-murdaugh-was-fidgety-when-he-visited-his-mother-on-night-of-maggie-and-pauls-murders/ Alex Murdaugh was ‘fidgety’ when he visited his mother on night of Maggie and Paul’s murders