Timeline puts Murduff at crime scene, SC prosecutor says in closing trial after seeing Mosel

Timeline puts Murduff at crime scene, SC prosecutor says in closing trial after seeing Mosel

Only one person had the motive and means to kill Maggie and Paul Murdoff on the night of June 7, 2021, South Carolina prosecutor Creighton Waters told the men and women of the jury who will decide whether the former Lowcountry attorney is guilty of the crime.

On Wednesday, Waters tried to summarize a weeks-long murder case against Alex Murdoff in closing arguments in the six-week-long trial.

Twelve jurors heard a complex case involving restatements of evidence admitted by both sides, but Waters narrowed down on the central question of who killed Murdoff’s wife and son nearly two years ago.

“Only one person had the motive, means and opportunity to commit these crimes, and whose culpable conduct after these crimes betrays him,” Waters said, referring to Murduff, 54.

Murdoff faces life in prison without parole if convicted of shooting Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22.

A “slow burn” of increasing theft by Murdaugh from his clients and law partners culminated in a fatal boating accident in 2019 that led to charges against Paul, which Waters said increased the financial pressure on Murdaugh and increased the threat of exposure of his activities.

Growing financial problems and a pending lawsuit over a boating accident add to the pressure on Murdoff, who was confronted about money missing from his law office on the day of the murder.

After the death of his wife and son, those pressures “quickly went away,” Waters said.

His law partners stopped asking about the missing money, and the prosecuting attorney, Mark Tinsley, testified before the trial. He no longer believes the case can succeed.

The double-murder trial against the former attorney began late Wednesday before attorneys on both sides put their final touches on arguments about Murdoff’s guilt or innocence in the murders of his wife and son.

Early Wednesday, a jury of 12 men and women and two alternates visited the Mosel dog kennel — the site where the Murdoughs are accused of shooting Maggie and Paul to death on the family’s Colleton County estate.

Griffin was expected to make closing arguments for the defense.

The defense was not giving them off at press time.

Judge Clifton Newman is expected to charge the jury late Wednesday or Thursday morning. Jurors will then begin deliberating whether they have proven Mordoff’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. No one knows how long it will take for the 12 men and women to come to a decision.

The The six-week trial drew national and international attention to South Carolina’s Lowcountrywhere three generations of Mordoff’s family served as the region’s chief prosecutor. Murduff admitted on the stand last week He once aspired to become the fourth Murdoff to be elected to the role, but his trial has revealed details about the once-prominent attorney’s life ahead — including An admitted drug addiction, financial problems and legal fraud.

Murdaugh faces separate charges He stole millions of dollars From the law firm founded by his great-grandfather, and from clients who trusted him to manage their money from legal settlements, many of the children were injured in car accidents.

Because the disbarred attorney admitted to the theft when he took the stand in his own defense. But he strongly denied prosecutors’ claim that the threat of exposure of those crimes used him as an alibi to kill Maggie and Paul with two different firearms by the family dog ​​kennel and then visit his Alzheimer’s patient mother.

The State presented a largely circumstantial case, with no direct physical evidence tying Murdoff to the crime. The murder weapon was never found, prosecutors say Based on comparisons between shell casings at the scene they were family weapons And others were found around the property.

Prosecutors created a timeline of the murders based on activity on Paul and Maggie’s cellphones at 8:49 p.m. Maggie’s cellphone records the movement From 8:53 pm to 9:08 pm, during which time it traveled from the kennels to the road beyond the Moselle. Information from Murdaugh’s phone and his car At the same time also records his movements leaving the property.

Can be the most cursed A short cellphone video shot by Paul moments before his death Including Marduff’s voice. Moordoff told investigators he was not with his wife and son that night. He later admitted on the stand that he had lied about his whereabouts that night.

But the defense has hit out at investigative flaws that they say SC law enforcement zeroed in on Murdaugh early to rule out other possible suspects and others because of his involvement in the 2019 boating accident that had more reason for Paul’s death. that killed teenager Mallory Beach, an incident Paul faced criminal charges at the time of her death.

In his closing Wednesday, Waters said the law does not treat circumstantial evidence as less valid than direct evidence. He added that the legal standard of reasonable doubt does not mean that judges have no doubts.

To illustrate, Waters held up a photo of the Mona Lisa and tore off the corner.

“It’s reasonable doubt,” he said. “You still know what it is.”

The jury visited the Moselle

On Wednesday morning, jurors toured the Moselle dog kennel property and inspected the outside of the main house, with Newman in tow, along with other Colleton County workers and members of law enforcement, some of whom testified for the state before the trial.

Along with the judge and other court officials, Murdoff’s defense attorneys Harputlian and Margaret Fox were at the scene, as was SC Attorney General Alan Wilson.

A three-person media pool was also allowed onto the property: Wall Street Journal reporter Valerie Bauerlin, Post and Courier photographer Andrew Whitaker, and Court TV photojournalist Steven Gressom.

Journalists followed behind the jury, who were only visible for a few minutes.

“We had a few seconds to watch them as they walked through the narrow path between the kennel and the shed. One of the jurors stood in the doorway of the feed room, staring at the door that had been the subject of so much disjointed testimony,” Bauerlin wrote.

“The grass on the property is tall and the bushes outside the caretaker’s cabin are bushy and overgrown. The black mailbox at the entrance to the kennel is covered in pollen and cobwebs. There is a ‘no trespassing’ sign tied to a post on the top of the mailbox,” Bauerlein added.

The drone footage was captured by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office in Mosel’s Canal.

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