Alex Murdaugh trial 2023: 5 key updates from the controversial case

Alex Murdaugh
On March 2, Alex Murdaugh was found guilty in the 2021 shooting deaths of his wife and son (Image via The State/Getty Images, CBS)

The case of debarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, now convicted in the 2021 murders of his son and wife, has made international news following his more-than-a-month-long sensational trial that concluded with the jury returning with a guilty verdict on March 2, 2023. The following day, he was handed down two life sentences to be served consecutively without parole.

Murdaugh, 54, was convicted of two counts of murder and other charges in connection with the shooting deaths of his wife, Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22, on June 7, 2021. The incident occurred at the family's vast Moselle hunting estate in South Carolina's Lowcountry.

An upcoming episode of CBS 48 Hours is slated to chronicle the recent updates on now-convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh's controversial trial. The episode, titled The Trial of Alex Murdaugh, airs on the channel this Saturday, March 4, 2023.

The official synopsis of the episode states:

"48 Hours explores the double life of a once prominent lawyer and his stunning fall from grace. Murdaugh is now an admitted drug addict, thief and convicted murderer."

Alex Murdaugh 2023 trial: Five key updates from the gripping case of the disgraced South Carolina attorney

1) Murdaugh acknowledged being present at the crime scene in June 2021


Alex Murdaugh consistently denied taking his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, to the dog kennels where they were killed. His original alibi stated that he was at home, where he claimed to have rested before leaving to visit his critically ill mother.

However, in court, witness testimonies proved otherwise, given that his voice could be heard on a video made by Paul at the kennel at approximately 8.45 pm, before the shooting occurred.

Murdaugh then made the unprecedented move to take the stand and was compelled to confess his whereabouts that night. He told the authorities that he "lied about being down there," but maintained that he did not shoot his wife and son.

The prosecution revealed that the body-cam footage captured Murdaugh telling lies from the beginning. The accused, however, highlighted his paranoia from his opioid addiction, his mistrust of state investigators, and other factors for lying to authorities.

2) The defense claimed that authorities carried out a sloppy investigation at the crime scene


In court, Alex Murdaugh's defense team successfully argued that the evidence against him was invalidated by inadequate police and forensics work at the scene of the crime. In the hours following the murders, multiple people, including Murdaugh's relatives and friends, were permitted onto the Moselle premises. Moreover, Paul and Maggie's bodies were covered with sheets instead of tarps.

First responders were moving around inside a taped-off area, and Mark Ball, Murdaugh's former law partner, noticed that there was nothing to prevent people from walking into the property. He also mentioned that it was raining outside and pouring on Paul's body directly from the kennel roof.

Ball further testified that a large group of people were told to go inside the main house, which could have been part of the crime scene. Some people even cleaned up the house. The next morning, their housekeeper Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson washed a towel and a pair of khaki pants she discovered on the floor and said there was no crime-scene tape in the house. Moreover, investigators failed to question her at the time.

Alex Murdaugh's brother, John Marvin, even recounted cleaning up the crime scene where parts of Paul's remains were still left behind.

3) Alex Murdaugh allegedly asked his wife Maggie to come to their Moselle estate


Marian Proctor, Maggie Murdaugh's sister, testified that Maggie called her in the late afternoon on the day she died. The victim, who was in nearby Edisto Beach, allegedly had no plans to see her husband that night. However, given the medical condition of Alex Murdaugh's parents, Proctor encouraged Maggie to "go be with him if he needs you," claiming it was the last time they spoke.

Proctor testified that she was shocked to hear from Murdaugh that her sister hadn't gone with Alex to see his mother because that was "the whole reason she went home that night." She further testified that even after the murders, Murdaugh was preoccupied with another case involving a deadly boating accident in which Paul was charged with a crime.

Reports state that while testifying, Marian Proctor stated:

"He said his No. 1 goal was clearing Paul's name. And, I thought that was so strange because my No. 1 goal was to find out who killed my sister and Paul."

4) One of the alleged murder weapons, a family gun, was missing along with Murdaugh's clothes


The prosecution alleged that a "family weapon" - a .300 Blackout assault-style rifle - was used to shoot Maggie Murdaugh. However, they failed to produce the weapon in court. They further alleged that Paul was gunned down using a 12-gauge shotgun.

Experts deduced that the rifle shell casings found at the crime scene matched tool markings on worn casings found near the house, suggesting that both were used for the same gun. The Murdaughs reportedly owned two custom blackout rifles, one of which was allegedly stolen in 2017 but was replaced with a newer one soon after. The replacement gun in question has yet to be found.

Additionally, in a Snapchat video recorded by Paul about an hour before the killings, Alex Murdaugh was spotted wearing a blue shirt and long khaki pants, which have not yet been located. Their housekeeper provided the confirmation, given that she fixed his collar that morning. She also admitted that Murdaugh tried to manipulate her narrative about the clothes.

5) Alex Murdaugh's movements from the day of the murders were tracked for clarity


Prosecutors used cellphone and GPS data to try and connect discrepancies in Murdaugh's narrative to the murders. It was revealed that although his phone remained stationary at the house in the early evening hours of June 7, there was a surge of activity starting at 9.02 pm shortly after the murders. As per his cellphone data, Murdaugh reportedly walked 283 steps in four minutes.

OnSTAR data from Murdaugh's Chevy Suburban further revealed that he sped the car while driving on the rural roads that night, reaching up to 80 mph. He also passed the spot on the side of the road where Maggie's phone was subsequently discovered.

48 Hours on CBS will further discuss the case against Alex Murdaugh in detail this Saturday.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar