Alex Murdaugh’s ongoing trial for the double murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul has been marked by a recent decision by the judge to allow jurors to visit the sprawling Moselle hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, where the murders took place. The defense team requested the visit to help the jury better understand the spatial relationships of the area, particularly the kennels and the house.
The judge granted the request but did not specify when the visit will take place. The defense team also expressed concerns about trespassers on the property over the weekend, with dozens of people reportedly going there to take selfies in front of the feed room. The team asked that the scene be secured before the jury visit.
Alex Murdaugh is accused of fatally shooting his son Paul, 22, with a shotgun and his wife Maggie, 52, with a rifle near the dog kennels at the family’s hunting estate. The trial has been live-streamed and marked by graphic testimony, including gruesome autopsy photos, that has left Murdaugh in tears.
The defense team recently called Dr. Jonathan Eisenstat, a forensic pathologist, as their 12th witness. Eisenstat testified that Paul was shot at close-range in the back of the head, disagreeing with the state’s pathologist, Dr. Ellen Riemer. She testified that Paul was shot at a dramatic upward trajectory with pellets grazing his left shoulder before entering his neck and blowing his brain from his skull, which landed near his feet.
During the trial, Murdaugh repeatedly told jurors that he had nothing to do with the slayings of his wife and son when he took the stand in his own defense. However, Assistant Attorney General Creighton Waters painted a picture of Murdaugh as a pill-addled, serial liar who was on the verge of a devastating financial reckoning. He hammered the disbarred attorney about his ever-changing account of the night of the murders – including initially claiming he was not with his wife and son in the minutes before they were fatally shot until investigators found a video that contradicted his alibi.
A video found on Paul’s phone placed Murdaugh at the scene at 8:45 p.m. Prosecutors say both victims were shot to death with family weapons at about 8:50 p.m. During a brutal nine-hour cross-examination that spanned two days, Waters challenged Murdaugh about his lies and inconsistencies.
“The second that you’re confronted with facts that you can’t deny, you immediately come up with a new lie?” Waters asked. “Isn’t that correct?”
“Mr. Waters, as we have established, I have lied many times,” Murdaugh replied.
The trial has marked the spectacular downfall of the powerful scion of a legal dynasty that was once seen as untouchable in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. The trial has entered its sixth week, with the defense team expected to call two more witnesses on Monday before resting their case. Waters said he expected to have at least four rebuttal witnesses and wrap up their case by Tuesday afternoon. Closing arguments could be as early as Wednesday.