Murdaugh trial recap: Both sides battle over evidence as second week starts

Week Two of Trial Begins
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 12:17 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 31, 2023 at 2:40 AM EST
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WALTERBORO, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The second week of Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial began today as more officials from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) testified.


The trial resumed at 9:30 a.m., and Melissa Worley, a criminalist from SLED, returned to the stand for cross-examination.

Dick Harpootlian from the defense began his questioning by asking Worley about a bloody footprint reportedly left in the feed room by an officer. Harpootlian argued that evidence could have been disturbed at the scene. However, Worley explained that evidence was marked before she arrived.

While investigating the crime scene, SLED reportedly used a piece of equipment called FARO, a 3D laser scanner. Worley explained that the FARO laser records anything it touches and uses a 360-degree camera to record crime scenes in detail.

Harpootlian then moved on to ask Worley if there were possibly two shooters involved in Maggie and Paul’s deaths. Worley said it is possible but added that it is not the only explanation for the evidence at the scene.

Next, Harpootlian focused on a possible shoe impression left on Maggie’s calf. Worley said she wasn’t sure if it was a shoe, which led Harpootlian to question the quality of the photos taken at the property. Harpootlian continued by asking Worley what other evidence was possibly destroyed at the scene, and Worley admitted that she doesn’t know.

Following some back and forth on whether or not blood could have been found in other areas of the crime scene, Worley ended her testimony, and the court took a short break.


After the break, SLED agent Jeff Croft took the stand.

Croft said he was called to the Moselle Property at around 5:30 a.m. on June 8, but he was rerouted to the office before he got there.

During the beginning of his testimony, Croft mentioned that .300 Blackout shells were found in a flower bed outside what he called a “gun room” on the property.

According to Croft, he interviewed Rogan Gibson, a friend of Paul’s, the day after the murders and took snapshots of his phone. The snapshots show that Gibson texted and talked to Paul at around 8:40 p.m., right before the shooting.

According to the snapshots, Gibson continued to text and call Paul multiple times throughout the night and texted Maggie at 9:34 p.m., asking her to “tell Paul to call me.”

Murdaugh later tried to call Gibson multiple times from 10:20 to 10:30 p.m., but the two never talked.

Special agent testifies that Rogan Gibson, a friend of Paul Murdaugh's, had 5 missed calls from Alex Murdaugh on his phone the night of the double murders.

After going through these messages and calls, the prosecution moved on.

The prosecution then brought out a .300 Blackout rifle taken from the scene, and Croft testified that a magazine removed from the gun had cartridges with headstamps that matched the casings found near Maggie. The prosecution asked for the rifle to be admitted as evidence, but the defense objected, arguing that there is no evidence that it was used in the murders. Following this, the defense objected to another gun the State wanted to admit as evidence. However, the judge overruled the defense this time.

Body camera footage is then played in court, showing Croft securing a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun from Murdaugh’s property. Croft then held up the same gun in court, and the State introduced it as evidence. The defense once again objected, but the judge overruled.

Body camera video from a SLED special agent during a search of the gun room on the Moselle Road property owned by the Murdaugh family.

Lastly, the prosecution introduced a Benelli shotgun as evidence, and Croft testified that two 12-gauge shells were loaded in it when he secured it from the property. He added that shell casings similar to the ones the shotguns used were found at the crime scene near Paul’s body.

Soon after this exchange, the court took a break for lunch.

After lunch, Croft stated that following the shooting, they found Maggie’s phone on the side of the road around a quarter of a mile from the crime scene.

The State then asked Croft about SC DNR officer John Beddingfield, who has a side business building and selling firearms. Croft said Beddingfield reportedly built multiple .300 Blackout rifles for Murdaugh.

Lastly, the prosecution showed an interview between Croft and Murdaugh that took place on June 10, 2021.

During the interview, Murdaugh told investigators he thought he heard “something” on the property the night of the murders. Adding that he believed it was possibly a “wild cat” that lived on the property.

Murdaugh also gave his phone to investigators during the interview so they could download cell phone data from it.

When investigators asked about the threats that Paul got after the 2019 boat crash, Murdaugh said he knew about the in-person confrontations Paul had, but his friends might have known about other incidents. “I can’t think of anybody who would want to go to that extreme,” Murdaugh added about the threats. Murdaugh also mentioned that he couldn’t remember who was on the boat with Paul during the crash.

While walking investigators through the events leading up to the shooting, Murdaugh said dinner was the last time he saw Maggie and Paul alive.

The interview concluded with investigators taking a DNA swab from Murdaugh. The swab was then shown to the court and admitted as evidence.

Following this, the judge adjourned until 9:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.