Alex Murdaugh's 'Crucial Lie' to Be Considered by Jury

A "crucial lie" Alex Murdaugh told police will be a significant factor for jury members in his trial for the murder of his son and wife, according to attorneys.

Alex Murdaugh, 54, has been accused of killing his wife and son, Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22.

The pair were found shot dead on June 7, 2021. According to police, Alex Murdaugh told them that he found their bloodied bodies near the dog kennels at their hunting estate in Colleton County, South Carolina.

Alex Murdaugh
Alex Murdaugh stands during a break in his murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, on February 24, 2023. Attorneys have spoken to Newsweek about the ongoing trial and said jury members will be focusing on the significant lie Murdaugh admitted to. JOSHUA BOUCHER/THE STATE/TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE/GETTY

In the summer of 2022, Alex Murdaugh was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. He has pleaded not guilty to these charges.

Attorney Michael Sahn of the Sahn Law Firm spoke to Newsweek about the strength of the prosecution's case against Murdaugh.

He told Newsweek: "I believe one of the strongest arguments for the prosecution is that video evidence caught Alex Murdaugh in a crucial lie – he claimed he was never at the kennels the night of the murders.

"The prosecution played a video taken by Paul at the kennel minutes before he dies, on which multiple state witnesses testified to hearing Alex Murdaugh's voice.

"Another strength in the prosecution's case is that neither Paul nor Maggie showed any defensive wounds on them, even though they were both shot at close range. This suggests they knew the shooter.

"Lastly, the evidence presented through a Snapchat video taken by Paul is that Alex changed clothes between discovering the bodies and when police showed up. The earlier set of clothes have never been found."

Criminal defense attorney Rachel Fiset, the managing partner of the Los Angeles-based law firm Zweiback, Fiset & Zalduendo, spoke to Newsweek ahead of the trial's closing arguments and also highlighted how strong the prosecution's case was.

She said: "The prosecution should also focus on the timeline of events that place Alex Murdaugh at the scene very close in time to the murders as well as his continued misrepresentations to investigators that he was not there on the night of the murders.

"Murdaugh's lie regarding his whereabouts immediately before the murders makes it look like he was covering up something and arguments to that effect should be made to help persuade the jury to convict."

The two attorneys did note, however, that during the trial Alex Murdaugh's defense had success at "poking holes" in the prosecution's arguments.

Fiset said that the defense would do their best to argue that the investigation into Murdaugh has been done "poorly" and "key evidence exonerating Murdaugh could have been lost."

She added that the defense has made the arguments repeatedly that there is reasonable doubt due to the "loving family member" image they have created of Alex Murdaugh.

Sahn agreed and added that despite the likelihood Alex Murdaugh's defense advised against him testifying, he was able to "explain" previous lies.

Sahn said: "As a former attorney, Murdaugh handled himself better than most on the witness stand and was able to 'explain' some of his lies and ultimately tell the jury in person that he did not commit the murders."

Newsweek has contacted Dick Harpootlian for comment.