Another juror in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial says that hearing the disgraced South Carolina lawyer’s voice on a video recorded by his son — minutes before 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh and his mother were shot dead — was a key piece of evidence that led the jurors to find him guilty in less than three hours.
Murdaugh was sentenced to consecutive life sentences the day after the jury convicted him.
“I think it’s incredible timing on Paul’s part. I don’t think anyone would have ever known [Alex] was down there if it wasn’t for that video,” the juror, James — a construction manager who asked this his last name not be used — told Law and Crime.
Alex Murdaugh told investigators he was never at the kennels, where the murders took place, and didn’t know his wife Maggie and son had been killed until he returned from a visit with his Alzheimer’s patient mother, as CrimeOnline previously reported. But after prosecutors played the video, and multiple witnesses identified the voice as belonging to the defendant, Alex Murdaugh took the stand and admitted he lied, putting himself at the scene of the crimes just before they took place.
James, 22 — the same age as Paul Murdaugh when he was gunned down — said that testimony was also critical to the jury’s deliberations.
“I think that he’s good at being able to talk to people, and I think part of the way that he’s able to be so good at talking to people is that he’s convincing,” James said of the defendant. “And I think whenever he’s convincing, he’s convincing himself as well. And I think he’s able to do that because he often meshes the truth with a lie.”
James said the jurors took an anonymous poll when they first began deliberations, as juror Craig Moyer said earlier. That vote had nine for guilty, two not guilty, and one unsure. After that, James said, the group began discussing questions they had during the course of the trial that hadn’t been ansewred.
“We did have a few that were not on the same page, so we did like an anonymous vote, in the beginning, to see where everybody was at and make sure everybody was on the same page,” James said. “Once we found that out, we kind of just opened the floor for anybody, whoever had questions, and then we would talk through those. We had the evidence in the other room.”
One particular point, he said, was that some jurors were unclear about how investigators could determine that shell casings from the 300 Blackout rifle that Paul Murdaugh was known to have used that spring and shell casings found at the crime scene were used in the same gun. That rifle, used to kill Maggie Murdaugh, was never found. Investigators said they could say for certain if a shotgun Alex Murdaugh had with him when deputies got to the crime scene was the one used to kill Paul.
James said the jurors prayed every day before court and prayed before they began their deliberations. Aside from any divine guidance, he said that the group was “very good at looking at all of the evidence and not jumping to conclusions, but rather taking all of the evidence and seeing where it led us.”
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[Featured image: Alex Murdaugh is led through the courtroom for his sentencing at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., on Friday, March 3, 2023, the day after he was found guilty in the murder of his wife and son. Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)]
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