Alex Murdaugh to take the stand in defense in double murder trial

The video at the top of this story will show a live stream of the Thursday, Feb. 23 proceedings in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial or a replay upon completion.

Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh says he will take the stand in his own defense at his double murder trial Thursday to present his version of events.

Murdaugh, 54, is charged with fatally shooting his wife, Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, who were killed near kennels on their property on June 7, 2021. He faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted. Murdaugh, whose family dominated the legal system in tiny Hampton County for generations, has denied any role in the killings.

In court Thursday, Murdaugh told the judge, “I am going to testify. I want to testify.”

Alex Murdaugh’s decision to testify could be a gamble. Prosecutors can question him about not only his wife and son’s death but also the roughly 100 other charges he faces — from stealing from clients to arranging his own shooting on the side of a highway.

Alex Murdaugh trial: Who are Richard Harpootlian and Jim Griffin? Attorneys in the spotlight.

But over five weeks of trial, questions have emerged that only Murdaugh can answer.

For example, the once-prominent attorney told police that he was visiting his ailing mother in another town and not near his Colleton County home in the hours before the killings. But several witnesses have testified that they believe they hear Murdaugh’s voice along with his son and wife on a cellphone video taken at the kennels about five minutes before the shootings.

That’s a key piece of evidence in a case lacking the weapons used to kill the victims, bloody clothing, a confession or surveillance video.

Several witnesses, including Maggie Murdaugh’s sister, have testified that Alex Murdaugh didn’t appear scared for the safety of himself or his surviving son in the weeks after the killings despite the brutality of the shootings and no apparent leads from police.

Murdaugh is being held without bail on the financial and other crimes, so even if he is found not guilty, 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.

– Check back for updates.

– Jeffrey Collins, Associated Press

Alex Murdaugh’s demeanor during the trial

At times during the first 20 days of this trial and as the State presented it’s case, Murdaugh appeared angry and yet at other times he’d sneer at the prosecution.

As the testimony of how his wife’s pancreas, kidney, and other organs were annihilated by 300 Blackout rounds designed to take down wild boar or how his son’s brain landed at the victim’s feet, Murdaugh rocks, hangs his head and weeps.

Yet in other moments, files in hand, Murdaugh strategizes like the lawyer in the case, then laughs with his defense team and appears jovial, as if he has forgotten that he is accused of the unthinkable.

When Murdaugh’s defense team started with their witnesses, Murdaugh peered at them, sometimes over the bridge of glasses perched at the end of his nose, seeming to analyze every word that came out.

Witness list in the Alex Murdaugh trial

Murdaugh is now one of the dozens of people to take the witness stand in this case.

The parade of witnesses that have already taken the stand and could still potentially take it ranges from investigators with different South Carolina police departments to Alex Murdaugh’s still-living son, Buster. Testimony from those witnesses was on hold Friday morning as Judge Clifton Newman heard arguments and debated whether to allow evidence of the former South Carolina attorney’s alleged financial crimes and other “bad acts” as motive in the deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Alex Murdaugh trial updates, live stream: Murdaugh to take stand

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