Prosecutors to grill S. Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh in double murder trial

(Reuters) – Prosecutors will cross examine Richard “Alex” Murdaugh for a second day on Friday, one day after the disbarred South Carolina attorney took the stand and denied any involvement in the murder of his wife and son but admitted to lying to investigators.

State prosecutor Creighton Waters questioned Murdaugh for two hours on Thursday before the court recessed for the day, focusing on the defendant’s financial crimes in an apparent effort to establish his dishonesty to the jury.

Waters told the judge that he stil had some financial matters to go over before tackling the “other evidence”. He said would likely need three to four hours to finish cross examination when court resumes on Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Under questioning from his lawyer, Murdaugh testified on Thursday that he did not shoot his wife, Maggie, 52, or 22-year-old son Paul, who were both gunned down outside dog kennels on the family’s estate on June 7, 2021.

But Murdaugh also admitted to lying by saying that he was not at the kennels that night, an assertion that was contradicted by cellphone video showing he was there minutes before his wife and son were fatally shot at close range.

Murdaugh, 54, testified that he lied because he was suffering from paranoia tied to a years-long addiction to opiods, and did not trust the police. He also said he stole from clients and his law partners, partly to feed his drug habit.

Murdaugh, the scion of an influential South Carolina legal family, was indicted by a grand jury in July on two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon in connection with the shootings.

The murders have been subject to intense media coverage given the political influence of the Murdaugh family in the low-lying region of South Carolina where they took place, as well as a string of scandals hanging over the defendant, once a prominent personal injury attorney in the state.

Prosecutors have said Murdaugh killed his wife and child to generate sympathy and distract from an array of financial crimes for which he is also facing criminal charges, an alleged motive that Murdaugh’s lawyers have argued does not make sense.

(reporting by Nathan Layne; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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