Alex Murdaugh back on stand in double murder trial

Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is back on the witness stand in his double murder trial

Jeffrey Collins
Friday 24 February 2023 14:37 GMT

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

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Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is back on the witness stand Friday in his double murder trial, facing cross-examination from a prosecutor determined to make him recount every time he lied to a client.

Murdaugh, 54, is on trial in the deaths of his wife and son near kennels at their Colleton County home in June 2021. But in two hours of cross-examination Thursday, prosecutor Creighton Waters didn't mention those killings.

Instead, he focused on how Murdaugh liked to flash the badge he got as a volunteer prosecutor helping out on cases with his father and the millions of dollars Murdaugh stole from his law firm and clients.

Prosecutors have said Murdaugh killed his wife and son to gain sympathy to buy time because his financial misdeeds were about to be discovered. Murdaugh stanchly denied killing them in questioning Thursday from his attorneys.

But over and over again, he admitted he stole money and lied, including telling police he was not at the kennels the night his wife and son were killed. A video found more than a year after the deaths when state agents hacked his son's iPhone proved otherwise, and Murdaugh admitted he lied to police and his family from the beginning, blaming paranoia from his pain killed addiction.

“The things that I did wrong hurt a lot of the people that I care about the most. I did a lot of damage and I wreaked a lot of havoc," Murdaugh said.

Murdaugh is charged with murder in the deaths of his wife, Maggie, 52, shot multiple times with a rifle, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, shot twice with a shotgun. He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

On the stand, tears ran down Murdaugh's cheeks when his lawyer asked if he blew his son's brains out or shot his wife several times.

“I would never intentionally do anything to hurt either one of them,” Murdaugh said.

Murdaugh is charged with about 100 other crimes, ranging from stealing from clients to tax evasion. He is being held without bail on those charges, so even if he is found not guilty of the killings, he will not walk out of court a free man. If convicted of most or all of those financial crimes, Murdaugh would likely spend decades in prison.

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