Alex Murdaugh trial shown crime scene photos of bloody dog kennels after murders
Photos of the bloody crime scene where Alex Murdaugh’s son Paul and wife Maggie were brutally shot to death have been revealed at the legal scion’s murder trial.
The photos were introduced into evidence on Friday as SLED forensic analyst Melinda Worley testified during the third day at Colleton County Court in Walterboro, South Carolina.
The images show blood on the ground and a bullet hole in a window of the dog kennel area where defendant Mr Murdaugh’s 22-year-old son Paul was shot at the family’s estate in Islandton.
Ms Worley said arrived at Murdaugh property at 12.07am on 8 June 2021 after driving from Columbia, having been notified of the case at 10.30pm.
The body of Mr Murdaugh’s wife Maggie had been covered by a tent by the time she arrived.
She was briefed by Agent Dave Owen and walked the crime scene noting that evidence had already been marked out by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office.
Agent Worley then took custody of the 12 gauge shotgun that had been retrieved from Mr Murdaugh, finding a 16 gauge shotgun cartridge in the magazine when she unloaded the weapon.
When asked about Paul’s body, she noted that his cell phone was laying on the back of his shorts where he lay facedown. He lay outside of the feed room and they processed it as part of the crime scene.
She found a shotshell wad on the floor as well as blood and tissues in addition to a piece of a skull. There was damage to a window and blood and hair were found near the top of the door as well as behind it.
There were two 12-gauge shotshells behind the door and pellets on the floor. All were photographed and collected as evidence. There were many shoeprints in the feed room, as Agent Worley testified that the unknown shoeprints in the room were consistent with the shoes worn by Paul when he died and that the shoeprints were facing the window.
Agent Worley said much of the blood and hair on the door was on the outside of it as it had opened inwards into the room. The window had six “defects” — holes in the glass caused by impact from inside the feed room.
The analyst’s tesimony came after the prosecution presented stills from bodycam footage that showed Mr Murdaugh dressed in a “clean” white shirt after he claimed he touched his wife and son’s bloodied bodies upon finding them shot dead.
Mr Murdaugh is dressed in a white t-shirt and dark shorts in the images. The stills are grainy but there are no obvious signs of blood on his shirt.
During courtroom testimony on Thursday and Friday, multiple law enforcement officials described how Mr Murdaugh was “clean” and did not appear to have any blood on him when they arrived on the scene of the murders on the night of 7 June 2021.
Yet, according to the 911 call made by Mr Murdaugh and footage of his first police interview played in court, Mr Murdaugh claims he touched his wife and son’s bodies when he found them by the kennels.
Other evidence was also released by the court, including photos of Maggie’s sandals and some shoe prints in the sand at the hangar near the victims’ bodies.
Drone footage was also released by the court, showing the family home in relation to the dog kennels where the victims were killed. The Murdaugh estate sits on 1,700 acres of land.
NEW EXHIBIT: #AlexMurdaughTrial drone video of Moselle property shown to jury yesterday… it shows the residence in relation to the sheds and dog kennels where Paul and Maggie were shot @courttv pic.twitter.com/CSsjKU2vFU
— Chanley Shá Painter (@ChanleyCourtTV) January 27, 2023
The release of the evidence comes during the second day of testimony at the murder trial in Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, where jurors were shown footage from the disgraced legal scion’s first police interview in the aftermath of the murders.
In the footage, a sobbing Mr Murdaugh was heard telling law enforcement twice that he “tried to turn over” his son’s bloodied body and that he had checked him and his wife for pulses.
“I could see his brain ... I ran over to Maggie, actually I think I tried to turn Paul over first... um... you know, I tried to turn him over, I dunno, I figured it out,” he is heard saying.
Mr Murdaugh said that his son’s cell phone fell from his pocket when he tried to move him and that he handled it briefly.
“His cell phone popped out of his pocket, I started trying to do something with it but I put it back down really quickly, and then I went to my wife,” he says.
In dramatic testimony, Detective Laura Rutland of Colleton County Sheriff’s Office contradicted his version of events as she said that Mr Murdaugh was “clean from head to toe” with no signs of blood on his body, shirt, shorts or shoes.
Det Rutland was in charge of securing the search warrant of the Murdaugh property that night before she then travelled to the scene and was assigned as the chief liaison with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) – the state authority leading the investigation.
When she arrived on the scene, she testified that she noticed brain, blood, hair, and skull matter from Paul in the ceiling of the kennels. She also saw “fresh shoe impressions” on the left side of the hanger building. She said the shoe impressions – flat sandal, flip flop type shoes – appeared to match the shoes Maggie was wearing.