Cop Says Alex Murdaugh Had No Visible Blood on Him After Killings, But Might Have Changed Clothes

Alex Murdaugh's trial in South Carolina is expected to last three weeks

In Alex Murdaugh's trial on Friday, new details emerged about what may have happened immediately following the shooting deaths of Murdaugh's wife Maggie and son Paul in 2021.

Murdaugh's lawyer, Jim Griffin, told the court that Murdaugh had given the authorities permission to search his entire Moselle estate in Islandton, S.C., after the double murder — implying that a guilty person would do no such thing. He also emphasized that Murdaugh had no blood on himself when cops arrived at the house.

During cross examination, Griffin asksed Det. Laura Rutland, "He didn't look like someone who had just been within feet of blowing Paul's head off, right?"

Alex Murdaugh is escorted out of the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., on July 20, 2022. Murdaugh's trial on two counts of murder in the June 2021 deaths of his wife and son is scheduled to start Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.
Alex Murdaugh. Tracy Glantz/The State via AP

Rutland said in response, "I can't say that. There are so many factors that you would have to take into account."

When Rutland was asked whether Murdaugh could have just changed his clothes after the alleged slayings, she answered in the affirmative. "He's sweating, and they're dry, so I'd say yes," she said, according to various news outlets. She testified that she saw no bloody footprints anywhere near the bodies.

Murdaugh's legal team also said he had tried to turn his son's body over and check his pulse.

The trial of Murdaugh, a once-prominent South Carolina attorney, began on Jan. 25. He's accused of fatally shooting Maggie and Paul.

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In court Wednesday, Prosecutor Creighton Waters told jurors cell phone evidence will play a crucial part in the trial — and will allegedly prove that Murdaugh, 54, was present at the scene of the murders.

Waters claimed Paul Murdaugh sent a cellphone video to a friend at 8:44:55 on the evening of June 7, 2021. That video, taken near the dog kennels on the family's 1,100-acre hunting ranch, picked up the voices of Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh. Three minutes later, Paul Murdaugh's cell phone was locked and wasn't used again that night.

According to Waters, this video clip is important because Alex Murdaugh had previously denied being near the kennels — which appears to be directly contradicted by the video.

Prosecutors say Alex Murdaugh killed his wife and son at approximately 8:49 p.m., mere minutes after the video was taken. Then, they say, he called his wife's phone after her death to try to create an alibi.

alex murdaugh
Alex Murdaugh. Orange County Department of Corrections

The defense, for their part, says the prosecution's timeline is incorrect, and that Paul and Maggie were shot sometime after Alex Murdaugh had departed the scene.

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Murdaugh claims he left his house at approximately 9 p.m. to see his mother, who was sick. When he returned to the home around 10 p.m., he called 911 and told the dispatcher that he'd discovered his wife and son's bodies.Alex Murdaugh 'Did Not Have Anything to Do with the Murders' of His Wife and Son, Attorneys Say

Paul was shot in the chest and head with a shotgun at close range. Maggie was shot multiple times, including one shot in the back and additional shots while she was on the ground. She was shot with 300 Blackout ammo from an AR-style rifle. Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

The murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh have shaken the community of Islandton, S.C., where the Murdaughs were part of a longtime legal dynasty.

Alex Murdaugh is currently facing two counts of murder and two weapons charges in this trial. He has pleaded not guilty.

Even if Murdaugh is acquitted, he faces additional legal woes, including dozens of charges for alleged financial crimes, such as misappropriating money from his law firm, defrauding clients of funds, and computer crimes. Authorities allege he also defrauded the family of his former housekeeper out of a $4.5 million insurance settlement after she died in a mysterious slip-and-fall accident at his home. A trial for those charges will be held at a later date.

During the defense opening statements, attorney Dick Harpootlian said that the prosecution was incorrect, and that Murdaugh was a "loving husband and doting father" who would never kill his family.

The trial is expected to last for at least three weeks.

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