Jan 23, 2023
Alex Murdaugh trial: Jury selection begins for 2021 killings of wife and son
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Jury selection for the trial of Alex Murdaugh begins Monday for the 2021 shootings of his son and wife.
Murdaugh, who was once a prominent lawyer in South Carolina, is facing two first-degree murder charges for the killings of his wife, Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and his son, Paul, 22. The pair were found dead from gunshot wounds near the family's hunting estate on June 7, 2021.
The lawyer has adamantly denied that he killed his family since he was indicted after a 13-month-long investigation. While prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty, they will request life in prison without the possibility of parole. The minimum sentence is 30 years.
Jury selection is expected to last several days, with Judge Clifton Newman setting aside three weeks for the trial. Murdaugh's lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, asked for a trial to happen as soon as possible. They have expressed in the past they are confident their client will be acquitted.Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, left, walks into court for his bond hearing on Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, South Carolina. Murdaugh was charged Thursday, July 14, 2022, with murder in connection with the mysterious 2021 deaths of his wife and son. Mic Smith/AP
BIGGEST MURDER TRIALS SET TO BEGIN IN 2023
Hundreds of lawyers, support staff, news outlets, and true crime fans are expected to flock to Walterboro, South Carolina, where the trial is being held at the Colleton County Courthouse. Hotel rooms have been booked for weeks, and city residents are advertising their homes for hundreds of dollars a night on Airbnb, NBC News reported.
Scott Grooms, Walterboro’s director of tourism and downtown development, told NBC News that the city is expecting a large influx of guests, but it is not something the people of Walterboro, population 5,460, are excited about.
“We didn’t want this, but it’s happening, and it’s here,” Grooms said. “We have to put on our best face and take care of our guests.”
Murdaugh reported the deaths of his wife and son shortly after finding them, but the blood found on his shirt prompted investigators to turn to him as a suspect. Cellphone evidence showed that he was at the crime scene, contradicting his initial statements that he was visiting his mother and father at the time of the murders.
Information about the killings is limited, other than the fact that Maggie Murdaugh was shot with a rifle and Paul Murdaugh was shot with a shotgun. Prosecutors have not yet released any details on direct evidence tying Murdaugh to the murders, and no confession or witness statements have been filed as well.
Alex Murdaugh just arrived to the Colleton County, South Carolina courthouse. pic.twitter.com/PzYHZiO2XA— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) January 23, 2023
The defense and prosecution are debating whether to allow an expert to testify that the blood on the disgraced lawyer's shirt was splattered when his son was shot. The defense believes the expert is lying and is saying that the shirt was destroyed before the defense could conduct its own tests, according to the Associated Press.
Murdaugh is also facing about 100 different criminal counts, according to the Associated Press, stemming from charges of theft of millions of dollars in settlements and committing fraud, as well as running a drug and money laundering ring and evading taxes.
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Prosecutors are expected to rely heavily on the evidence of his lesser crimes, as the deaths of his wife and son garnered sympathy and allowed him to hide from his other wrongdoings, the prosecution has argued.Opinion Kamala Harris awkwardly admits she is anti-life By: Timothy P. Carney The Debrief: Conn Carroll on DC City Council rewriting criminal code The Debrief: Hugo Gurdon on top-tier universities withdrawing from school rankings Sign up now to get the Washington Examiner’s breaking news and timely commentary delivered right to your inbox. Crime Court South Carolina News murder
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