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Alex Murdaugh trial: Detective explains key crime scene mystery after killer begins appeal

Murdaugh was convicted last week for murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul in June 2021

Rachel Sharp,Oliver O'Connell
Saturday 11 March 2023 14:57 GMT

Jurors in Alex Murdaugh trial speak out about what led to conviction

A lead investigator in the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh has offered an explanation for a key mystery from the trial after Alex Murdaugh took the first official step toward an appeal of his conviction.

Detective Laura Rutland, one of the first officers at the Moselle estate crime scene in South Carolina, was asked during trial testimony about hairs found in Maggie’s hand after she was killed. While she was unable to offer much of an explanation on the stand - she now has one.

Ms Rutland explained to Fox News a bullet that struck Maggie’s skull had ripped out much of her scalp, leaving hair not only in her hand but also scattered around her body.

The revelation came hours after Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian announced that his defence had filed a notice of appeal.

Meanwhile, Murdaugh has been separated from other inmates and is under round-the-clock surveillance for his own safety at the Kirkland Correctional Institution, where he is awaiting permanent placement in a high-security prison.

South Carolina’s Department of Corrections released his new mugshot on Wednesday, capturing the 54-year-old smiling softly.

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Alex Murdaugh’s attorney makes bizarre – chicken-related – Twitter return

Alex Murdaugh’s attorney has made a bizarre – and chicken-related – return to Twitter after he received a dressing down from the judge for his social media posts during the high-profile murder trial.

On Saturday, defence attorney Jim Griffin tweeted a photo of himself with his face in a wooden cut-out photo prop of a cowboy riding a chicken.

“Walterboro, you were a gracious host. Happy Trails,” he wrote.

The bizarre post marked his first since 18 February, when a tweet landed him in hot water with Judge Clifton Newman.

Read more here:

Alex Murdaugh’s attorney makes bizarre chicken-related Twitter return after trial

Jim Griffin’s choice of photo for his return to the social media platform is perhaps unusual given the role a chicken played in his client’s conviction

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 02:30
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Who is Alex Murdaugh?

The hotly-anticipated trial of Alex Murdaugh has now concluded - with the legal heir set to be sentenced to a maximum of life in prison for the murders of his wife and son.

The 54-year-old heir to a prominent legal dynasty was convicted on 2 March of gunning down wife Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22, on the grounds of the sprawling family estate in Islandton back on 7 June 2021.

He was arrested in July 2022 and charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to the charges and maintained that the person or persons responsible for killing his wife and son is still at large.

After hearing nearly six weeks of testimony, the jury returned a guilty verdict in less than three hours. He was then sentenced to life in prison.

But who is the man at the heart of the saga?

Who is Alex Murdaugh?

What happened in the Alex Murdaugh case?

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 03:00
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Buster Murdaugh files police complaint about media

Alex Murdaugh’s only surviving son Buster has filed a police report claiming that he is being harassed by members of the media.

In the police report, filed with Beaufort County Sheriff’s office on Sunday, Buster complained about photos of him and his girlfriend Brooklynne White inside his Hilton Head home which appeared in the New York Post.

He said that the couple had reviewed ring camera video and noticed a suspicious grey Dodge Challenger outside the home on Saturday evening.

They believe the occupant took the photos.

Sometime later, Ms White told police the vehicle was following her.

Officers pulled over the vehicle for speeding and making an improper lane change and found the driver had camera equipment in the car.

They received a warning about a traffic violation. Police said they would also increase patrols around Buster’s home.

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 04:00
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From million-dollar estate to a tiny cell: Where will Alex Murdaugh go to prison?

Alex Murdaugh is used to the high life.

Coming from a long line of top prosecutors, his wealthy family once dominated the legal system in the lowcountry.

As a powerful and well-known attorney himself, he earned upwards of $1m a year (not to mention the millions that he allegedly stole from legal clients and his law firm).

He lived on a huge 1,700-acre in Islandton with his family while also enjoying a second home in Edisto Beach.

Now, his lifestyle will be a little bit different, as he’s been sentenced to spend the rest of his years behind bars.

But where will Murdaugh go to prison?

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 06:00
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The story of Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Powerful South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh became the centre of the state’s “trial of the century” over the brutal double murder of his wife and son.

But this is far from the only twist in a bizarre and sprawling tale of unexplained deaths, hitman plots and multi-million-dollar fraud schemes.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp delves into the saga:

The story of Alex Murdaugh’s spectacular fall from grace

Powerful South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh became the centre of the ‘trial of the century’ over the brutal double murder of his wife and son. But this is far from the only twist in a bizarre and sprawling tale of unexplained deaths, hitman plots and multi-million-dollar fraud schemes, writes Rachel Sharp

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 06:30
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Alex Murdaugh associate Russell Laffitte is denied new trial over financial fraud charges

Alex Murdaugh’s associate Russell Laffitte has been denied a new trial on charges that he helped the convicted killer and financial fraudster steal millions from his law firm clients.

US District Judge Richard Gergel denied Laffitte’s request for a new trial on Monday – four days after Murdaugh was found guilty of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul in a brutal double murder which prosecutors said was motivated by the disgraced attorney’s efforts to cover up his string of financial crimes.

Laffitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank, was convicted in November of financial fraud charges in connection to Murdaugh’s alleged white collar fraud schemes.

His conviction came on the basis that he was Murdaugh’s co-defendant in his sprawling multi-million-dollar – and decade-long – schemes.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp has the story:

Alex Murdaugh friend Russell Laffitte is denied new trial on financial fraud charges

Russell Laffitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank, was convicted in November of financial fraud charges in connection to Murdaugh’s alleged white collar fraud schemes

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 07:00
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South Carolina AG Alan Wilson ‘proud’ of Murdaugh case

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson has said that he is “proud” of the way the state handled Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial and secured justice for Maggie and Paul.

Mr Wilson, who made a brief appearance questioning the prosecution’s final witness in the trial, also urged people to remember the victims of the saga.

“I’m back in the office after six weeks, and I keep thinking about how proud I am of our prosecution and law enforcement team for how they handled the Murdaugh trial. Your position, power, and station in life don’t matter. In South Carolina, no one is above the law,” he tweeted on Tuesday.

“Justice was served for Maggie and Paul last week. And we’re not finished. I want to remind everyone that the people Alex Murdaugh hurt are not characters in some saga. They’re real people who are dealing with the very real effects his crimes.

“This case has caught national attention, and I’ve heard documentaries and even movies are being made. In the midst of all that, I urge you to remember the victims and their voices. All of Alex’s life has been about him. Don’t let that continue.”

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 07:30
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Maggie Murdaugh’s nail technician claims she was seeking a divorce

Maggie Murdaugh’s nail technician has spoken out to reveal she was seeking a divorce from Alex before the murders.

The technician told CourtTV when she first heard Maggie had been killed she immediately suspected Alex, because Maggie had told her of plans to get a divorce.

She said that she spoke to investigators about that topic before the trial.

However, she said she believes prosecutors didn’t call her to testify at trial because there was no way to prove what she claims Maggie told her.

Watch the interview:

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 08:00
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Juror’s brother was one of first officers on scene of murders

The brother of one of the jurors who convicted Alex Murdaugh of murdering his wife and son was one of the first officers who responded to the scene of the crime.

James McDowell was one of the 12 jurors who reached a unanimous guilty verdict last week and has since spoken out about the case.

His brother is Colleton County Sheriff’s Cpl Chad McDowell – who was the second law enforcement official to arrive at Moselle on the night of the murders.

The family tie was revealed in court during jury selection and neither the defence nor the prosecution objected to James McDowell joining the panel.

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 08:30
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Alex Murdaugh’s brother Randy reveals what he really thinks happened night of murders

Alex Murdaugh’s brother Randy has broken his silence to reveal what he really thinks happened on the night that the disgraced attorney’s wife Maggie and son Paul were gunned down in a brutal crime that shocked South Carolina’s Lowcountry and captured the nation’s attention for the better part of two years.

Randy became the first family member of the disgraced attorney to speak out after the high-profile trial, where Murdaugh was convicted of all charges and sentenced to life in prison.

The 56-year-old admitted that he believes his sibling “is not telling the truth” about the 7 June 2021 killings.

“He knows more than what he’s saying,” Randy told The New York Times.

“He’s not telling the truth, in my opinion, about everything there.”

Read the full story here:

Alex Murdaugh’s brother Randy reveals what he really thinks happened night of murders

The Murdaugh family – who reigned over the Lowcountry’s legal system for almost a century – put on a united front in Colleton County Courthouse throughout Murdaugh’s trial

Rachel Sharp9 March 2023 09:00

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