A rattled Alex Murdaugh today claimed ‘vile’ social media comments about his son’s fatal boat crash drove someone to brutally murder his wife and son.
The disgraced legal scion said Paul, 22, had been threatened and attacked after the drunken boat wreck in which 19-year-old Mallory Beach was killed in February 2019.
Murdaugh told jurors: ‘The social media response that came from that was vile. The things that were said about what they would do to PawPaw, they were so over the top.
‘I believed then and I believe today that the wrong person saw and read that because I can tell you for a fact that the person or people who did what I saw on June 7, they hated Paul Murdaugh, and they had anger in their heart.’
Murdaugh made the claim after a morning of brutal cross-examination during which he was grilled over his ‘new story’ that he was at the kennels but left just moments before his wife and son were executed on June 7, 2021.
A rattled Alex Murdaugh today claimed ‘vile’ social media comments about his son’s fatal boat crash drove someone to brutally murder his wife and son
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
Alex Murdaugh’s boat the Sea Hunt after it was crashed by his son Paul in a fatal accident that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach
It contradicts his earlier narrative to the cops – that he was only ever at the murder scene after Maggie and Paul were shot dead at the family’s hunting estate in Moselle, South Carolina.
But he admitted yesterday for the first time that he lied because his opioid addiction made him paranoid.
Murdaugh’s new story is that he was there briefly but then went back to the house a minute after a video taken by Paul at 8.45pm which proves his father was with the 22-year-old and his mother at the kennels.
But the disgraced legal scion today claimed that ‘other than lying about going to the kennel, I was cooperative about every aspect of this investigation.’
Prosecutor Creighton Waters hit back: ‘Very cooperative except for the most important fact of all – that you were with the victims just moments before they died.’
Murdaugh claims he drove back up to the main house in a golf cart around a minute after a video taken by Paul at the kennels at 8.45 which proves he was at the scene.
But the State argues that by that time they were already dead – brutally executed shortly after 8.49pm when their phones ‘locked forever.’
Waters said he drove to his mother’s home afterwards in order to ‘manufacture an alibi.’
Murdaugh told jurors: ‘I never manufactured an alibi in any way shape or form because I would not and did not harm my wife and child.’
The prosecutor tore into Murdaugh over his cell phone data, including calls and a flurry a footsteps after after prosecutors say he shot his wife and son dead.
Waters questioned why there were no foot steps for an hour after 8.09pm – covering the window of time during which the State says he killed his wife and son.
But then at 9.02pm, ‘you become a very busy bee,’ Waters told the disbarred attorney.
Murdaugh’s iPhone recorded 70 steps a minute for a total of 283 steps, three times faster than his normal pace.
Paul, Maggie and Buster Murdaugh on a family holiday
The disgraced legal scion, 54, told cops he had never been at the kennels that night but yesterday admitted he had lied because his opioid addiction made him paranoid . Murdaugh’s new story is that he was at the kennels briefly but then went back up to the main house around a minute after Paul took a video at 8.45pm that proves he was at the murder scene
Alex Murdaugh’s son Buster with his girlfriend Brooklynn White, along with Alex’s siblings Lynn and John Marvin Murdaugh going into the Colleton County Court, South Carolina, on Friday
Before leaving to Almeda he left Maggie missed calls and a text saying he was going to visit his mother.
Waters asked why he didn’t simply just take the short trip down to the kennels and tell her he was going.
Murdaugh responded: ‘There was no reason to … that’s simply me letting them know that I’m leaving for a minute, and I’ll be back.’
Describing why he lied to cops on Thursday, Murdaugh told jurors: ‘I don’t think I was capable of reason and I lied about being down there and I am so sorry that I did. I am sorry to my son Buster, I am sorry to Grandpa, Papa T (Maggie’s father) … most of all I am sorry to Mags and PawPaw.’
‘I would never intentionally do anything to hurt either of them. Ever. Ever,’ he sobbed. ‘I didn’t shoot my wife or son, ever.’
Murdaugh said: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave. Once I told a lie, and I told my family, I had to keep lying.’
Crusading Creighton Waters barracks Murdaugh during cross examination Thursday
Alex Murdaugh going int the Colleton County Court, South Carolina, on Friday
Defense attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian looked strained as they listen to the grilling Thursday
Buster, 26, hunched over with his hand over his face as he listened to his father describing how he found his younger brother Paul with his brains spattered across the walls of the kennels at the family’s hunting estate in Moselle, SC, on June 7, 2021
In the 911 call, which was played to jurors again this morning, Murdaugh can be heard saying, ‘I should have known.’
He told cops that his son had been threatened and punched in the wake of a drunken boat wreck in which Paul’s friend 19-year-old Mallory Beach was killed.
Murdaugh recalled speaking to his son’s lifeless body: ‘I said PawPaw, I should have known. PawPaw got so many threats I didn’t take serious or think too much about. I was just telling him: PawPaw, I should have known.’
When police arrived, one of the first things he told them was, ‘I know what this is about’ and mentioned the fatal boat crash. Murdaugh was being sued at the time of the murders over the boat accident during which Paul was driving his father’s vessel under the influence in February, 2019.
Murdaugh’s car was fired up at 9.06pm on the night of the murders and he drove to his mother’s in Almeda, around 15 minutes away from the hunting estate.
Murdaugh’s mother Libby is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease and her caregiver had told the legal scion she was in an agitated state after her husband, Randolph III, had been taken to hospital. The Murdaugh patriarch died of cancer three days after Maggie and Paul’s murders.
Explaining his mindset that night and why he lied to police, Murdaugh told jurors that his ‘addiction developed over time’ to the point his paranoia could be set off ‘by anything.’
‘It might be a policeman following me in a car,’ he said.
He told jurors that when cops arrived at the scene that night he had been advised by his attorney friends and family not to say anything.
Murdaugh said: ‘I am sitting in a police car with (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent) David Owen asking me about my relationship with my wife and my son, coupled with my distrust of SLED, it caused me to have paranoid thoughts.
‘Normally I could take a deep breath, think about it, reason my way through it.’
He added: ‘Once I lied I continued to lie.’
Alex Murdaugh sits with his attorneys before he takes the stand in his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Thursday
Buster watches his father with his hands over his mouth in the Colleton County courthouse Thursday
Alex’s sister Lynn wipes her nose as Buster and his girlfriend Brooklynn White sit to her left
Murdaugh was later asked to answer to the State’s claim that he killed his wife and son because his life was financially spiraling out of control.
‘On June 7, did you believe that your financial house of cards was about to crumble?’ Griffin asked.
‘Absolutely not,’ Murdaugh replied.
Griffin went on to try and pour scorn on the State’s alleged motive, that the killings would have saved Murdaugh from financial ruin.
The defense attorney asked: ‘Did Maggie’s death make it more difficult to obtain financing immediately after the murders? On June 7?’
Murdaugh answered: ‘Yes. Because the entire Moselle property was 100 per cent in Maggie’s name. The Edisto property was 50 per cent in her name.’
The Murdaugh clan including Alex’s sister Lynn (from left) his son Buster, sister-in-law Lizzie, and brothers John Marvin and Randy
John Marvin Murdaugh and his wife Lizzie are followed by Buster and his girlfriend and Randy Murdaugh (blue shirt) arrive at the court Thursday
The disgraced legal scion, 54, told jurors: ‘Paul was so bad … My boy was lying face down and I could see his brain hanging on the side wall’
Speaking about his relationship with his wife, Murdaugh said: ‘She was just as beautiful inside as she was outside.’
He described Maggie as a doting mother and wife who was the center of their family.
‘She was devoted to those boys Buster, Paul – and me. She made sure we didn’t want for anything ever,’ he said.
He said his wife was fun and gregarious. ‘You couldn’t tell her something was good or bad, she wanted to do it, see it, experience it,’ he said.
Murdaugh said if you heard her laugh ‘you didn’t even have to know what she was laughing at – if you heard her laugh you would laugh.’
‘She had this little playful-like way she would smile at you and bite here lip and when she would do it, it would just melt you,’ he said.
Describing his son Paul, he said he ‘was 100 percent country boy. He was tough.’
‘He could hunt anything. He could catch any fish. He could run any piece of equipment,’ Murdaugh said proudly.
Murdaugh said: ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave. Once I told a lie, and I told my family, I had to keep lying’
Alex’s brother John Marvin Murdaugh listens as he broke down on the witness stand
Buster Murdaugh, 26, Alex’s sole surviving son listens to his testimony at the Colleton County courthouse
Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh in a photo the mother posted for Father’s Day in 2020
He said Paul was ‘fiercely loyal,’ but also sensitive, saying he liked to watched the sunset with his friends.
Murdaugh claimed that Paul was ‘misrepresented’ by media coverage of the fatal boat crash he allegedly caused that killed Mallory Beach in 2019.
He said anyone with anything negative to say about his son had ‘had an ulterior motive’.
Murdaugh made the last-minute decision to take the stand against the advice of his own attorneys following a night locked in talks with his defense team.
In the latest twist in the Murdaugh saga, his defense attorney Dick Harpootlian told the judge earlier ‘he indicated he doesn’t need to talk to me. It hurts my feelings.’
Prosecutors began cross-examining the legal scion on Thursday about his financial crimes and today moved onto his evidence about the night of the killings.