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Alex Murdaugh juror reveals what led panel to find him guilty of murder

Craig Moyer said that Murdaugh’s lack of remorse, crocodile tears and the damning cellphone video captured by Paul minutes before his murder convinced the panel of his guilt

Rachel Sharp
Friday 03 March 2023 15:46 GMT
Alex Murdaugh found guilty for murder of wife and son

A juror in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial has broken his silence to reveal what sealed the fate of the disgraced legal dynasty heir.

Craig Moyer spoke out for the first time on Thursday just hours after the jury convicted Murdaugh of the savage double murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul in Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina.

Mr Moyer told ABC News that Murdaugh’s lack of remorse, crocodile tears and the damning cellphone video captured by Paul minutes before his murder convinced the panel of his guilt.

“I didn’t see any true remorse or any compassion or anything,” he said, adding that the disgraced attorney came across like “a big liar”.

Mr Moyer said that he “was certain it was [Murdaugh’s] voice” from the very first time the kennel video was played in the courtroom.

“Everybody else could hear [Murdaugh’s voice] too,” said the carpenter from Colleton County.

Mr Moyer said that he locked eyes with Murdaugh in the courtroom as the video was played and described the killer’s demeanour as like “he knew what was coming”.

Key to the prosecution’s case was a damning cellphone video which placed Murdaugh at the scene of the murders.

The video, taken by Paul on his cellphone at 8.44pm, filmed a dog inside the kennels on the grounds of the Moselle estate.

Off-camera, three voices are heard: Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh.

During dramatic testimony, multiple witnesses identified Murdaugh’s voice in the footage.

Minutes later – at around 8.50pm – Maggie and Paul were brutally gunned down.

The bombshell video not only placed Murdaugh at the scene – but also exposed his lies about his alibi that night.

Alex Murdaugh stands in the courtroom at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, (AP)

Since the 7 June 2021 murders, he had claimed that he had never gone to the dog kennels with his wife and son that night.

He claimed that he had stayed at the family home, napped on the couch and then driven to visit his mother at his parents’ home in Almeda.

When he drove home, he claimed he went down to the kennels, placing a dramatic 911 call claiming to have discovered the bodies of the two victims.

In a dramatic two days in the courtroom, Murdaugh finally confessed that he had spent the last 20 months lying about his alibi that night.

The convicted killer took the stand in his own defence and admitted for the first time that he was there at the kennels with the two victims that night – and that he had lied to law enforcement officials investigating the case, his family members and close friends and colleagues for the best part of two years.

Despite confessing to lying, Murdaugh continued to plead his innocence in Maggie and Paul’s murders.

Yet, Murdaugh’s confession over the kennel video further cemented his guilt, Mr Moyer told ABC, saying it was that monent that he knew for definite where his vote lay.

The juror said that Murdaugh’s performance on the stand did little to help his case, describing his testimony and answers to questions coming across as too quick, rehearsed and clearly coming from someone with knowledge of how to play the legal system.

“He knew what he wanted to say. I mean he is a lawyer,” he said. “I didn’t see any true remorse or any compassion or anything.”

Murdaugh’s tears – as we sobbed throughout the trial both on the stand and at the defence table as gruesome details of Maggie and Paul’s brutal murders were revealed – were also far from convincing, he said.

Rather than being genuine, Mr Moyer said Murdaugh appeared to be more like “blowing snot” and came across like a “big liar”.

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh left to right (Maggie Murdaugh/Facebook)

The juror gave a glimpse behind the scenes of the jury room where deliberations took less than three hours before a unanimous verdict was reached.

Taking an initial poll as soon as they were handed the case, Mr Moyer said that nine jurors voted guilty, two innocent and one was on the fence.

Mr Moyer said that the holdouts had questions about the shotgun shells on the scene, after the defence had pushed the theory that there may have been two shooters responsible for the brutal murders.

But, utlimately, it took just 45 minutes to reach a unanimous verdict.

Not long into deliberations the panel asked for a monitor to view the bodycam footage from the first officer arriving on the scene.

After another vote, Mr Moyer said “the evidence was clear” and – less than three hours after they first got the case – the verdict was reached.

Murdaugh appeared stony faced as the guilty verdicts were read out in the deafeningly silent court on Thursday evening, before he was led out in handcuffs.

The disgraced legal dynasty heir – whose family once dominated the legal system in the lowcountry – will be sentenced in Colleton County Courthouse on Friday.

The sentencing will begin at 9.30am ET with victim impact statements expected to be read out in court.

He faces 30 years to life in prison on each of the murder charges and five years on each weapons charge. Sentences can be served concurrently – or consecutively.

Prosecutors are seeking the maximum penalty of life after taking the death penalty off the table.

Judge Clifton Newman has not indicated how he plans to sentence Murdaugh, but did say after the verdict was delivered that the evidence was “overwhelming”.

Mr Moyer said he will return to court on Friday to see the man he convicted of murder be sentenced for his crimes.

“I want to see it. It’s a decision I have to live with,” he said.

Back on 7 June 2021, Maggie and Paul were gunned down on the family’s 1,700-acre estate.

Paul was shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun while he stood in the feed room of the dog kennels – the second shot to his head blowing his brain almost entirely out of his skull.

After killing Paul, prosecutors said Murdaugh then grabbed a .300 Blackout semiautomatic rifle and opened fire on Maggie as she tried to flee from her husband.

Video shows Paul Murdaugh minutes before he and his mother were murdered

She was shot five times including twice in the head after she had fallen to her knees.

Buster – who has stood by his father throughout the trial and testified in his defence – gave little reaction as his father’s conviction was returned, before rubbing his eyes momentarily.

Prosecutors said that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from his string of financial crimes – at a time when his multi-million-dollar fraud scheme was on the brink of being exposed.

Jurors were told that on the day of the murders, Murdaugh was confronted by his law firm CFO about missing money that he had stolen.

Three days after the murders, a hearing was also slated to take place in a lawsuit over a fatal boat crash.

In February 2019, Paul had allegedly been drunk driving the family boat when it crashed, killing his 19-year-old friend Mallory Beach.

While Paul was facing felony charges over the crash, Murdaugh was being sued by the Beach family, and their attorney had filed a motion to compel to gain access to his finances.

Over four weeks and 61 witnesses, prosecutors laid out this alleged motive for the murders as well as presenting the bizarre hitman plot as part of his pattern of making himself a victim when accountability came knocking on his door.

On 4 September 2021 – one day after he was ousted by his law firm for stealing funds – Murdaugh claimed he was the victim of a drive-by shooting.

He kept up the story for days, with jurors being shown a police sketch of an imaginary man he claimed ambushed him.

Days later, he confessed that he had orchestrated the plot claiming he had asked his alleged drug dealer and distant cousin Curtis Eddie Smith to shoot him in the head so his surviving son Buster would get a $12m life insurance windfall.

Beyond Murdaugh’s other crimes, the state also presented jurors with a trove of circumstantial evidence tying him to the murders and revealing how he manufactured an alibi and covered his tracks in the aftermath.

Prosecutors said that he killed Maggie and Paul with “family guns”, trying to throw investigators off the scent by using two different guns.

After carrying out the attack, they believe he changed out of his bloody clothing – with jurors seeing a Snapchat video taken by Paul showing Murdaugh in one outfit just one hour before the killings. In bodycam footage when the first officer arrived on the scene, he was in a new outfit.

Alex Murdaugh is led out of court after being convicted of double murders (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

He is also believed to have taken the guns to his parents’ home to hide them.

A blue raincoat was later found in his parents’ home covered in gunshot residue. The state claims Murdaugh used the coat to move and hide the firearms used in the slayings.

Throughout the defence’s case, they sought to paint Murdaugh as a flawed character and an opioid addict – but one who loved his family and could never have carried out the murders.

While Murdaugh confessed on the witness stand about lying about his alibi, he sought to convince jurors that he was not the “family annihilator” the prosecution painted him to be.

He also admitted to stealing millions of dollars from his law firm and to orchestrating a bizarre botched hitman plot three months after the murders. He is awaiting separate trials in both of those cases.

Among the 14 witnesses called to try to convince jurors of his innocence was Murdaugh’s surviving son Buster and brother John Marvin, who said that he was left “heartbroken” by the murders.

Murdaugh’s conviction marks the latest twist in the saga of the man who was once the powerful heir to a South Carolina legal dynasty.

His family had reigned over the local justice system for almost a century, with three generations of the family all serving as the solicitor in the 14th Judicial Circuit solicitor’s office.

Murdaugh continued with the family tradition working in the local prosecutor’s office and also at the law firm PMPED, which was founded by his grandfather.

The murders of Maggie and Paul shocked the Hampton County community but also brought to light a series of scandals surrounding Murdaugh.

Prosecutors hail Alex Murdaugh guilty verdict

As well as the boat crash case, the fraud scheme and the botched hitman plot, there are at least two other unexplained deaths with some tie to Murdaugh.

Days on from the murders, an investigation was reopened into the 2015 death of Stephen Smith, who was found dead in the middle of the road in Hampton County.

The openly gay 19-year-old had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and his death was officially ruled a hit-and-run. But the victim’s family have long doubted this version of events, with the Murdaugh name cropping up in several police tips and community rumours.

An investigation was also reopened into another mystery death connected to the Murdaugh family – that of their longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.

She died in 2018 in a mystery trip and fall accident at the family home. Murdaugh then allegedly stole around $4m in a wrongful death settlement from her sons.

Murdaugh is now also facing around 100 charges over the multi-million-dollar fraud scheme and roadside shooting cases.

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