Murdaugh murders: South Carolina attorney's trial starts with cellphones, bullets

The bodies of Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh, were found on the family property on June 7, 2021

ByEva Pilgrim ABCNews logo
Thursday, January 26, 2023
Alex Murdaugh murders trial
Alex Murdaugh murders trial

SOUTH CAROLINA -- There were fireworks in the courtroom as each side delivered opening arguments in the double murder trial of Alex Murdaugh.

Disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was emotional in court as he stands trial for the double murder of his wife and son.

RELATED: Jury selection set to begin in trial for double murder of Alex Murdaugh's wife, son

In opening statements, prosecutors described the evidence they say will prove he shot his youngest son Paul first before killing his wife Maggie at their home back in June 2021.

"They were shot at close range and they did not have defensive wounds," prosecutor Creighton Waters said.

Prosecutors laid out a case where cell phone data. Video sent on Snapchat will also play a major role, claiming the evidence puts Alex at the scene of the crime.

SEE ALSO | Alex Murdaugh story: Key dates in investigations into prominent South Carolina family, murders

"He was there just minutes before - with Maggie and Paul - just minutes before their cell phones go silent forever and ever, despite what he told people: "I was never at the kennels," their cell phones are going to show otherwise," waters said.

The state is also claiming Murdaugh was seen with a blue raincoat or tarp that was covered in gunshot residue days after the murder, saying gunshot residue was also allegedly found in Murdaugh's truck.

Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty.

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"He didn't do it. He didn't kill, butcher, his son and wife. There's no direct evidence. There is no eyewitness, there's no camera, there's no fingerprints, there's no forensics tying him to the crime. None," defense attorney Dick Harpootlian said.

The defense argues a man who loved his family, like Murdaugh did, could never kill them.

Alex, stand up. Alex was the loving father of Paul and the loving husband of Maggie. You're not going to hear a single witness say that their relationship was anything other than loving," Harpootlian said.

Alex's two brothers, sister and surviving son, Buster, were in the courtroom sitting behind him.

RELATED | Murdaugh murders: Alex Murdaugh's attorneys say investigators manipulated, destroyed evidence

His fate rests in the hands of 12 jurors: 4 white men, 6 white women, and 2 black women.