COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. – Prosecutors played a video in court on Wednesday that could contradict disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh’s claim that he was not nearby at the time his wife and son were killed on June 7, 2021.
Alex Murdaugh, 54, has been charged with murder in the deaths of his wife, 52-year-old Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and his son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh. He called 911 on June 7, 2021, after he said he found the pair dead at the family’s home in Islandton. Maggie had been killed with a rifle and Paul with a shotgun, according to officials.
The 50-second video played in court on Wednesday was recorded on Paul Murdaugh’s phone just before 8:45 p.m. on the night he died, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Lt. David Britton Dove testified. In it, Paul could be heard speaking to what sounded like a dog. Two other voices could also be heard in the clip.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters earlier told jurors that Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh could be heard in the video.
Rogan Gibson, a friend of Paul Murdaugh’s who lived next door, testified that he had earlier spoken to Paul about Gibson’s dog, who was staying at the dog kennel on the Murdaugh family’s property. Gibson said Paul noticed something strange about the dog’s tail and that he was trying to show it to Gibson. While on the phone, Gibson said he could hear Maggie Murdaugh and what sounded like Alex Murdaugh in the background, along with the sound of barking dogs.
Gibson and Paul Murdaugh tried to FaceTime but had trouble with spotty cellphone signal in the area, Gibson testified. Paul Murdaugh had said that he would send Gibson a video of the dog’s tail if he couldn’t connect with him on FaceTime.
Gibson said he never heard back from Paul. He said he tried texting and calling him. When that failed to get a response, he said he tried to text Maggie Murdaugh. He never got a response from her, either.
When he woke early the next morning, Gibson said he found he had several missed calls. He called back a friend, who told him that Paul and Maggie had been killed, he said.
Gibson described Paul Murdaugh, who was nicknamed “Rooster,” as a close friend whom he had known “all his life.”
“He loved the outdoors – hunting, fishing, hanging around,” he said. “He really enjoyed the farm out there in (the Murdaugh family’s hunting lodge) Moselle.”
Prosecutors have argued that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to get cover and sympathy as he committed a host of other financial crimes, The Associated Press and The Post and Courier reported. Murdaugh’s attorneys have argued that the motive offered by prosecutors makes no sense and that the charges instead stemmed from public pressure to solve the case, according to the AP and The Post and Courier.
Murdaugh faces nearly 100 other charges in addition to murder. Among the allegations, prosecutors have accused him of stealing millions of dollars from his clients and attempting to arrange for someone to kill him to allow his surviving son to collect a $10 million life insurance policy.
The Murdaugh family has long been influential in southwest South Carolina, where members of the family have served as elected prosecutors for decades. Alex Murdaugh previously served as a part-time prosecutor for the state’s five-county 14th Judicial Court. He also worked for a personal injury attorney at his family’s prominent law firm.