Witness in Alex Murdoff’s double-murder trial describes chaotic crime scene

Witness in Alex Murdoff’s double-murder trial describes chaotic crime scene

The defense for Alex Murdoff, the disgraced South Carolina lawyer accused of killing his wife and a son, questioned the integrity of the crime scene on the second day of their trial and tried to distinguish Murdoff’s alleged fraud with financial misconduct. And he is on trial for double murder.

Mark Ball, a former law partner who once considered Murdoff a close friend, testified Wednesday morning in Walterboro that the crime scene was unobstructed and that he was able to roam freely throughout Murdoff’s property in Moselle after the murder.

“There was a piece of Paul’s skull, the size of a baseball, lying there,” he recalled, referring to Paul Murdoff, the son charged with murder.

The defense questioned Ball about what he encountered that day, seeking to disparage the investigators’ handling and preservation of the crime scene.

It was a foggy day with occasional drizzle, and water was dripping off Paul’s body, Ball said.

Ball testified that he was concerned that “water was dripping everywhere” at the crime scene.

Ball is furious with Murdoff for financial misdeeds and for destroying the law firm they worked at for decades, he also said it did not mean he killed Margaret, 52, and Paul, 22.

After Murdoff resigned from the law firm, Ball found evidence of misappropriated funds while going through Murdoff’s desk. “I’m not sure I know that person,” he said.

“I’m mad as hell,” he said. “But on the other hand, I’m not saying that because he did what he’s accused of doing.”

Photo: Alex Murdoff listens to testimony during his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse on February 22, 2023 in Walterboro, SC.

It is still possible that the jury will hear from Murdaugh himself.

Before jurors filed into court earlier in the day, defense attorneys said their clients were still considering taking the stand. They raised concerns, however, about his right not to self-incriminate and sought to limit the prosecution’s scope of cross-examination, particularly of Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes.

State Circuit Judge Clifton Newman declined to prejudge and said he would evaluate the evidence as it was presented.

The defense team told NBC News Wednesday afternoon that it is still considering calling Murdoff to the stand Thursday.

So far, the prosecution has presented compelling evidence that Murdoch was at the dog kennel minutes before he shot and killed his wife and son, contrary to what he told investigators.

Still the state’s biggest obstacle Lack of any direct evidence That would pin Murdoch to the murder, such as a witness or murder weapon.

A second witness called to the stand Wednesday, Dawes Cooke, represented Murdaugh in a wrongful-death lawsuit stemming from a fatal 2019 boating accident. Paul Murdoff was piloting a boat owned by Murdoff when it crashed, killing Mallory Beach, 19.

Mark Tinsley, the lawyer who filed the case, previously testified for the prosecution that Murdoff was on the hook for $10 million, much of it out of pocket. He had a progressive policy for the boat that would have paid $500,000, Tinsley said.

Cook said he was not aware of Murdoff’s personal financial burden from the boat case.

“It was unknown. I have to say that I didn’t really pay attention to this issue at the time. I think there was still a declaratory judgment action pending that was going to decide whether there was some additional insurance,” Cook said.

“I wouldn’t say he didn’t have any personal exposure, but it certainly wasn’t the focus of our attention at the time,” he added.

Prosecutors said Murdoff killed Margaret and Paul that evening near the hunting lodge’s outdoor dog kennel to distract from a broader investigation into long-running financial malfeasance, which included allegations of Stealing from his clients.

The court also heard testimony from the family’s housekeeper, Barbara Ann Mixon, who worked for Murdoff’s parents. Mixon testified that on the day of the murder, he called Alex to check on his mother, who was upset and crying because her husband had left, at the hospital.

An investigator called by the prosecution testified that it seemed strange for Murdoff to visit his mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease, at night, when symptoms could be worse.

The prosecution and defense differed throughout the months before and after the murder.

Ball questioned his relationship with a longtime friend he thought he knew and said he’s still upset about the breakup of the law firm.

“He broke a whole legacy,” Ball said.

“I’ve spent 33 years in this one place. It’s the only law firm I’ve worked at. I’ve kept everything. My kids know it, my family knows it. It’s gone.”

This article was originally published

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