Prosecutors on Monday played audio of an interview between disgraced former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh and investigators, claiming he slipped up his otherwise consistent claim that he did not murder his wife or son.
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters was questioning Jeff Croft, a senior special agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), when he asked about the interview with Murdaugh and a “traumatic” picture the defendant was shown of his family’s injuries.
“When you asked the defendant about a traumatic picture that he saw of Paul and Maggie, what did he say?” Waters asked Croft.
“It’s just so bad. I did him so bad,” Croft replied, according to Buzzfeed News.
“’I did him so bad’?” Waters followed up.
“Yes, sir,” Croft said in response.
During the exchange, Murdaugh appeared to shake his head and mouth the words, “that’s not what I said.”
Listening to the playback of the interview, however, it is unclear whether Murdaugh said “I did him so bad” or “they did him so bad.” Cathy Russon, an executive producer at Law & Crime, noted that it was “hard to tell” what Murdaugh told investigators. Avery Wilks, chief investigative reporter for the Post and Courier, said he heard “they did” and not “I did.”
My two cents, it’s hard to tell if he says “I” did him so bad or “they” did him so bad #AlexMurdaugh
— Cathy Russon (@cathyrusson) January 30, 2023
Murdaugh’s defense attorneys are expected to cross-examine Croft on Tuesday.
Opening statements began last Thursday, with Murdaugh accused of murdering his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul, to build sympathy for himself as his embezzlement of millions of dollars from his law firm and clients was about to be revealed.
“Listen to that gathering storm that all came to a head,” Waters said in his opening statements, according to The New York Times. “The evidence is going to be such that you are going to reach the inescapable conclusion that Alex murdered Maggie and Paul, that he was the storm, that the storm was coming for them, and the storm arrived on June 7, 2021.”
Waters said that Murdaugh texted and called his dead wife’s phone after allegedly committing the murders to create an alibi, but that evidence shows Murdaugh was at the dog kennels on his family’s estate when the murders occurred. The prosecutor pointed to bullet casings matching those found around Maggie’s body in other places on the property, which Waters suggested meant she was killed with “a family weapon.”
He added that Murdaugh didn’t have an explanation for where two of the three rifles he had purchased over the past couple of years had gone. Waters also mentioned that empty boxes of ammunition with the same brand and type of bullets as those in the bodies were found on the property.
Even more damning was a raincoat with gunshot residue found at Murdaugh’s mother’s home, where he went after his wife and son were murdered.
Waters also pointed to cell phone evidence taken from Paul’s phone less than five minutes before he was killed. Paul had filmed one of the dogs to send to a friend, and prosecutors allege Murdaugh’s voice can be heard in the background of the recording. Murdaugh has said he wasn’t at the kennels that night. Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh murdered his wife and son around 8:49 p.m., just a few minutes after the video was taken.
In the defense’s opening statements, Murdaugh’s attorney Dick Harpootlian argued that the brutal nature of the murders was one reason Murdaugh couldn’t be the killer since he was described as a loving father and husband.
“He didn’t kill — butcher — his son and his wife,” Harpootlian said in his opening statement. “And you need to put from your mind any suggestion that he did.”
The defense also argued that the prosecution’s timeline was wrong and that Maggie and Paul were killed at some point after Murdaugh had left to visit his mother, People Magazine reported. Murdaugh has said he left his estate around 9 p.m., returning an hour later and calling 911 to say he had found his wife and son dead.