In Alex Murdog’s murder trial on Wednesday, two witnesses testified they were “100%” sure Murdog’s voice was on the footage, as prosecutors said he was at the scene of the murder with Maggie, the wife of the disgraced former South Carolina attorney. undermines his claim that he did not. 22-year-old son Paul was shot dead.
According to Lt. David Britton Dove, supervisor of the South Carolina law enforcement computer crime center, the video, which is less than a minute long, was recorded on Paul’s phone at 8:44 p.m. the night of the 2021 murder. The department obtained forensic data from the phones of Murdaugh, his son and his wife.
Three different voices could be heard in the footage, Dove said Wednesday, and the video appears to have been recorded in the Murdaugh family’s kennel area. Although the pigeon did not know the voices personally, he said, “You can tell they are different voices.”
Prosecutors believe one of those voices — the only voice in the video besides the victims — belongs to Alex Murdo, who placed him at the scene of the murder. Although Murdog has insisted he wasn’t there in interviews with law enforcement, two witnesses on Wednesday backed up the prosecutor’s claim.
Rogan Gibson, who described himself as a close friend of Paul’s and the Murdogs were like a second family to him, told investigators shortly after the murder that he was 99% sure he heard Alex Murdo’s voice in the background of a phone call he had with Paul. said at 8:40 that night. When he was shown the video last November, he told detectives he was 100% sure it was Murdog’s voice in the background of the footage – something he repeated in court on Wednesday.
Asked by State’s Attorney Creighton Waters if he recognized Alex’s voice, Gibson said, “Yes, sir.”
“100%?” Waters asked. “Yes, sir,” replied Gibson.
Another witness, Will Loving, a friend of Paul’s, also said he was “100%” sure it was Alex’s voice in the video.
Prosecutors said cellphone evidence was critical in their case against Murdaugh, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the killing of his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh. and his 22-year-old son Paul on June 7, 2021.
Murdo called 911 the night of the murder to report that he had found his wife and son shot to death at the family’s home, known as Moselle, in Islandton, South Carolina.
But prosecutors accuse Murdog of carrying out the killings to distract from a series of illegal schemes he was working to avoid “personal legal and financial ruin,” according to court documents. In addition to the murder charges, Murdog faces 99 counts of alleged financial crimes, according to the state attorney general.
Evidence shows that Murdaugh’s financial crimes, the state claims, were “about to come to light” when his wife and son were killed.
Gibson has known the Murdaughs almost all of his life, he said. He testified that Alex Murdo’s voice could be heard in the video calling Bubba, the family’s yellow lab, to throw a chicken out of his mouth.
Paul Murdaugh called Gibson at 8:40 p.m. the night of the shooting to ask if something was wrong with Gibson’s dog, Cash, who was kenneled on the Murdaugh property. The two tried to make a video call so Gibson could see the dog, but the reception wasn’t good enough, Gibson testified.
Paul told her that if the FaceTime call didn’t work, he would videotape the dog and send it over, Gibson said, but she never received the footage. Gibson tried to call and text Paul after the failed video call, she said, but her friend never answered.
Waters, the South Carolina attorney general’s attorney who is prosecuting the case because of the Murdog family’s decades-long relationship with a local law firm, mocked the video in opening statements last week, saying Alex claimed to investigators that he was sleeping. at home, video evidence shows he was at the family’s nursery where the bodies of his son and wife were found.
“You’ll see this video and you’ll hear from witnesses who identify Paul’s voice, Maggie’s voice and Alex’s voice,” Waters said in court, saying Paul was filming a friend’s dog because they were concerned about the animal’s tail. . Murdo “told anyone who would listen that he was never there … The evidence shows he was there. He was with the two victims at the scene of the murder.” Moments before Paul’s phone “locked forever.”
In his opening statement, defense attorney Dick Harputlian said audio from the prosecution’s video simply showed Murdo and his wife having a “normal discussion” with “no animosity.” Paul is “very happy,” Harputlian noted. “No one is threatening him there. “Dad’s not pulling out a gun and killing him.”
During cross-examination by defense counsel on Wednesday, Gibson said Alex and Paul Murdo had a good relationship and spoke of Alex as a kind and loving father who was involved with his sons. Alex was like a second father to her, Gibson said.
Gibson testified that Murdo cried a lot and was “really upset, sad, just torn up” about the death.
“Can you imagine any situation in which Alex could have brutally killed Paul and Maggie?” asked defender Jim Griffin.
“I can’t think,” Gibson replied.
The defense also asked Gibson about sheds, workshops and vehicles that were often left unlocked on the Murdaugh property, and that guns were often left unsecured or just lying around. Gibson acknowledged that it would be easy for someone to sneak onto the property and steal something. When redirected from the accusation, Gibson admitted that he had never heard Paul complain about what he was doing.
Dove, the 15th witness called by prosecutors in her testimony Tuesday, detailed communications on Maggie’s phone the night of the murder, including a text from Alex at 9:47 p.m. “Call me baby.” Never been read.
In his opening statement last week, Waters told jurors that Murdo repeatedly called his wife that evening to visit his mother and drive to Almeda, South Carolina.
“It’s up to you,” Waters said, “to decide whether he’s going to produce an alibi or not.”
According to Dow’s testimony, Murdaugh’s father, who was in poor health, spoke to Maggie’s family on a group chat with her family at 8:31 p.m. and 8:49 p.m., just seconds before her phone was locked on Tuesday the night she was killed. read two SMS about for the last time.
Maggie’s phone’s display turned off a few minutes later, at 8:53 p.m. At 8:54 p.m., the orientation changed to landscape and the camera activated—an indication, according to Dove, that the phone was in motion. arrived and the camera tried to identify Maggie’s face. failed attempt to unlock.
Maggie’s phone showed repeated missed calls from her husband over the next hour, with evidence that Dove had switched to portrait mode, Dove testified. According to the expert, this is another sign that the phone was in someone’s hands. The last call from Murdaugh was missed just before 10:04 p.m
But those calls appear to have been lost on Murdaugh’s phone, Dove said Wednesday, with call logs showing calls between June 4 and June 7 at 10:25 p.m. is indicated.
“Such a gap indicates that the calls were ‘actually removed from there,'” Dove said, adding that the only way to remove calls from the log is to do so manually.
When asked if the calls were deleted from the magazine, Dove said it “appears to be,” adding that there was no way to know when they were deleted or who was responsible.
Murdaugh was in a group chat with his wife on Wednesday as relatives were texting about his dying father. While evidence shows Maggie read both messages, Murdo didn’t read them until the next day, Dove said, despite telling state investigators he was worried about his father’s health.
This behavior seemed outside of Murdaugh’s normal texting habits, with Dove testifying that Murdaugh usually had a habit of checking texts every 5 minutes or sometimes 30 to 40 minutes.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Murdaugh’s last name. The story also misrepresented part of Rogan Gibson’s testimony. He told investigators shortly after the murders that he was 99% sure he heard Alex Murdo’s voice in the background of a phone call he had with Paul at 8:40 that night.