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State prosecutors mentioned in closing arguments of Alex Murdaugh’s homicide trial Wednesday that the disgraced lawyer killed his spouse and son in June 2021 in an try to distract and delay investigations into rising monetary issues that might have uncovered him as a fraud.

“After an exhaustive investigation, there is just one one that had the motive, who had the means, who had the chance to commit these crimes, and in addition whose responsible conduct after these crimes betrays him,” prosecutor Creighton Waters mentioned.

“This defendant is the one one that was residing a lie, the defendant is the particular person on which a storm was descending, and the defendant was an individual the place his personal storm would really imply penalties for Maggie and Paul and penalties for individuals who trusted him.”

The protection’s closing arguments will comply with afterward.

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Alex Murdaugh appears in court on Wednesday.

Murdaugh, 54, is accused of fatally capturing his spouse, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh by the household’s canine kennels at their sprawling property generally known as Moselle in Islandton, South Carolina, on the night time of June 7, 2021. He has pleaded not responsible to 2 counts of homicide and two weapons costs.

Jurors heard from greater than 70 witnesses over six weeks of testimony earlier than visiting Moselle on Wednesday morning.

The protection case was highlighted by Murdaugh himself, who provided dramatic testimony over two days final week during which he flatly denied killing his spouse and son. On the similar time, he admitted that he had lied to investigators about his whereabouts the night time of the killings, and he admitted to stealing hundreds of thousands of {dollars} from his former shoppers and regulation agency and mendacity to cowl his tracks.

The closing arguments come greater than a month into the stranger-than-fiction trial of Murdaugh, the previous private damage lawyer and member of a dynastic household in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, the place his father, grandfather and great-grandfather served because the native prosecutor consecutively from 1920 to 2006.

Murdaugh was a private damage lawyer for a regulation agency along with his identify on it. However that prominence belied underlying points, and the killings of his spouse and son have been adopted by accusations of misappropriated funds, his resignation, a weird murder-for-hire and insurance coverage rip-off plot, a stint in rehab for drug dependancy, dozens of economic crimes, his disbarment and, finally, the homicide costs.

He individually faces 99 costs associated to alleged monetary crimes that shall be adjudicated at a later trial.

The household has lately been trailed by a sequence of deaths, together with these of Murdaugh’s spouse and son; the 2018 demise of their housekeeper Gloria Satterfield; the 2019 demise of 19-year-old Mallory Seaside after a ship allegedly pushed by Paul Murdaugh crashed; and the unsolved 2015 demise of 19-year-old Stephen Smith, whose case was reopened primarily based on info gathered whereas investigating the deaths of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh.

In closing arguments, Waters laid out a decade-long timeline of Murdaugh’s monetary wrongdoing that got here to a head on June 7, 2021, the night time of the killings.

He argued Murdaugh had been stealing from shoppers and his regulation agency for years and was desperately attempting to remain a step forward of debt collectors.

“The proof that you simply’ve heard exhibits that the defendant turned so addicted and so depending on the speed of cash that the hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in authorized charges that he was receiving was not sufficient and so he began to steal. He stole by billing private bills to the agency; he stole by stealing from his family,” Waters mentioned.

The strain on him turned bigger in spring 2021. For one, the chief monetary officer of his regulation agency testified she had confronted Murdaugh about lacking funds on the morning of June 7, 2021.

Second, Murdaugh was dealing with a lawsuit from the household of Seaside, the younger girl who was killed in February 2019 when a ship, owned by Murdaugh and allegedly pushed by Paul, crashed. A listening to in that civil case was scheduled for June 10, 2021, and had the potential to disclose his monetary issues, prosecutors argued.

“The pressures on this man have been insufferable and so they have been reaching a crescendo the day his spouse and son have been murdered by him,” Waters mentioned.

The killings made Murdaugh right into a sympathetic determine and took all of the strain off, a minimum of for an additional few months, Waters argued.

Waters additionally mentioned he was skeptical of Murdaugh’s declare that he had a opioid dependancy and took 1,000 mg of opiates a day – a doubtlessly deadly quantity – arguing it was a ploy to achieve sympathy.

“That’s not what these (monetary) data mirror. They mirror an insatiable need for cash and a hamster wheel that’s occurring for a very long time,” he mentioned.

The concentrate on motive underscores that prosecutors have confronted a substantial hurdle within the case – the shortage of any direct proof, corresponding to a homicide weapon, bloody clothes or eyewitnesses, that connects Murdaugh to the killings.

As an alternative, they’ve hinged their case on circumstantial proof, together with video putting Murdaugh on the crime scene shortly earlier than the murders.

Alex Murdaugh listens to his cousin John Bedingham, a gun builder and DNR agent, testify about building three AR-15 style rifles for him during Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023.  The 54-year-old attorney is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021.
(Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool)

Trial witness: ‘100% sure’ Murdaugh’s voice is on video made earlier than killings

Particulars of how the night time of the killings unfolded have been a pivotal focus of the trial, as prosecutors have advised that Murdaugh fatally shot his spouse and son after which tried to manufacture an alibi by calling and texting his spouse’s cellphone and driving to his father or mother’s dwelling in Almeda.

A cornerstone of the state’s case is video taken at or close to the kennels – filmed on Paul’s cellphone beginning at 8:44 p.m. – during which Murdaugh’s voice could be heard within the background. After a few dozen family and friends members recognized his voice on the video, Murdaugh took the stand and admitted he was there.

He mentioned he’d lied to police about his whereabouts due to “paranoid considering” stemming from his dependancy to opiate painkillers.

“I wasn’t considering clearly,” he added. “I don’t assume I used to be able to cause, and I lied about being down there, and I’m so sorry that I did.”

He testified that he went to the kennels at Maggie’s request, however insisted he returned to the home earlier than the killings after which left the property to go to his ailing mom in close by Almeda. When he returned dwelling later that night time, Murdaugh testified, he discovered Maggie and Paul lifeless and known as 911.

The protection has depicted Murdaugh as a troubled however loving household man who has been wrongly accused as the results of a shoddy investigation. Among the many protection witnesses was Murdaugh’s solely surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, who testified his father was “devastated” by the killings.

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