A bombshell hit Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial when he was accused of lying on the witness stand – about why he lied about his alibi on the night of the murders.
At the end of an intense and lengthy cross-examination on Friday, the disgraced legal successor was confronted with what prosecutor Creighton Waters described as his last lies in court.
“All those reasons you just gave this jury about the most important part of your testimony were also a lie, weren’t they?” the prosecutor said.
Mr Murdaugh was confronted with his “new story” on the night of June 7, 2021 after he made the dramatic admission on the witness stand on Thursday to having lied to law enforcement, his friends and law firm partners and even his own for the past 20 months Family.
The 54-year-old admitted he was in the doghouse with his wife Maggie and son Paul minutes before their murders – only after jurors were shown bombshell cellphone video placing him at the scene and after more than half a Dozens of witnesses had been identified using his voice in footage.
During a lengthy and combative cross-examination, the prosecutor spent hours figuring out Mr Murdaugh’s lies about his alibi for the night of the murders, his decades of stealing from law firm clients, the roadside shooting – and allegedly about the killing of his wife and Son.
The jury was shown how the accused killer repeatedly maintained his alibi for the night of the murders – he saw footage of his police interviews on the night of the murders as well as three days later where he lied about when he last saw her alive.
Mr Murdaugh testified that he had lied for the past 20 months about being “paranoid” about his suspicion of SLED, warnings from his law firm partners that a lawyer should always be present when they speak to police and investigators, who wiped his hands for gunshot residue.
But in a dramatic moment, Mr Waters threw cold water on that statement as he played a clip of the first officer’s bodycam footage to react to the scene.
In the video, Colleton County Sheriff’s Sgt. Daniel Greene asked Mr. Murdaugh when he last saw Maggie and Paul.
It was then – minutes after he claimed to have found the bodies of his wife and son – that Mr Murdaugh relayed his false version of events for the first time.
“It was earlier tonight. I don’t know when exactly,” he said.
“I probably went to my mom’s for about an hour and a half and saw her about 45 minutes before.”
Vehicle data, witness testimonies – and now Mr Murdaugh’s own testimony – have proven this to be false.
Instead, Mr Murdaugh spent just 20 minutes at his mother’s house (about 50 minutes including the round trip) and took off at 9.06pm.
Based on cell phone video that Paul took inside the kennel, Mr Murdaugh was with his wife and son until at least 8.44pm – just around 20 minutes before he left for his mother’s home.
In the video, Mr Murdaugh does not mention whether he was at the kennel with them or where he last saw them.
Mr Waters pointed out that none of the factors that Mr Murdaugh claimed triggered his “paranoid” lies were present at the time.
The officer did not work for SLED.
He arrived at the scene before clients from Mr Murdaugh’s law firm arrived at the property and requested he have a lawyer present.
And Sgt. Greene was the first and only officer on the scene, and the sheriff’s office didn’t swab him – or ask for a swab – until a while later.
“But you still told the same lie,” Mr. Waters confronted him.
“And all those reasons you just gave this jury about the most important part of your testimony were also a lie. Isn’t that so, Mr. Murdaugh?”
Mr Murdaugh replied: “I do not agree with that.”
The prosecutor said he had “nothing more” to say about Mr Murdaugh, who looked somewhat dejected and defeated by what had just happened.
In two days of testimony, Mr Murdaugh has confessed that he lied about not being in the dog houses that night, lied to law firm clients and colleagues to steal millions of dollars in money and that he lied that he orchestrated the botched killer conspiracy.
But Mr Murdaugh has continued to deny killing Maggie and Paul.
“Mr. Murdaugh, are you a family killer?” Mr. Waters confronted him.
Mr Murdaugh replied and said: ‘Did I shoot my wife and son? NO.”
During an irritated exchange, Mr Waters confronted the accused killer about his “new story” about his stay in the doghouse – claiming he had been backed into a corner and had no choice but to change his story.
“You had to, as you have done so many times in your life, step back and write a new story that fits the facts of your life,” Mr. Waters said.
Mr Murdaugh denied this and instead sought to blame prosecutors for his lies, which continued to rumble until he testified in court, claiming he had tried to tell the truth – but the state would not speak to him.
In a dramatic moment – riddled with defense objections – Mr Waters pointed out that Mr Murdaugh’s own lawyers also appeared unaware of his change in history.
The jury heard his lawyers – at a time when Mr Murdaugh was claiming he wanted to get in – conduct a national television interview about his alibi last November in which they “repeated their own lies”.
Mr Murdaugh admitted Thursday marked the first time since the June 7, 2021 killings that law enforcement, prosecutors, friends, colleagues – and his own brother Randy – had heard he had changed his story.
“Law enforcement, my partners and my friends heard me say that for the first time. Yes, I agree,” he said.
The jury saw Mr Murdaugh consistently deny ever being in the kennel that night during 911 calls, several police interviews, conversations with friends, family members and colleagues.
Mr Waters grilled Mr Murdaugh about why – given his extensive experience in the justice system as a solicitor from a long line of lawyers – he “didn’t think the last time you saw your wife and child was important” to the investigation notify law enforcement of their murders.
“I think it’s important,” he insisted.
Later in the Cross, Mr Murdaugh was asked to identify the precise moment in his first interview with law enforcement on the night of the murders that he “consciously chose” to lie about his movements.
Mr Murdaugh insisted it wasn’t a conscious decision to lie, saying: “When I was thinking in a paranoid way … it didn’t go away within seconds and I decided to lie.”
Part of his explanation was that he distrusted SLED — specifically SLED agent David Owen, who responded at the crime scene.
Mr Murdaugh claimed he mistook the agent for another SLED agent who he believed had falsified evidence in a case against Murdaugh family friend Yemassee, Police Chief Greg Alexander.
The testy exchange came after Mr Murdaugh shocked the court during direct testimony when he first admitted he lied about his alibi on the night of the murders.
At the beginning of the testimony, the disgraced attorney admitted he lied about not going to the doghouse with Maggie and Paul on the night of June 7, 2021.
He accused his opioid addiction of giving him “paranoid thinking” and his distrust of SLED, which combined led him to lie to law enforcement officials, family members and friends on multiple occasions and over the past 20 months.
“On June 7, I couldn’t think straight. I don’t think I was able to reason. And I lied about being down there. And I’m so sorry I did it,” he said, his eyes filling with tears.
“Oh, what a tangled web we weave. When I told the lie and told my family about it, I had to keep lying,” he testified.
This was the first time Mr Murdaugh has ever admitted publicly or to law enforcement that he lied.
This confession comes after jurors saw Paul’s damning cellphone video, which placed him at the scene of the murders with his wife and son at 8:44 p.m. Several witnesses had identified his voice in the footage.
Prosecutors say Maggie and Paul were killed minutes later at 8:50 p.m. The data suggests they last used their phones at 8:49 p.m.
Mr Murdaugh’s intense cross-examination began Thursday afternoon after he made the final decision to take a stand at his high-stakes murder trial.