Alex Murdaugh's Brother Sheds Tears While Recounting Cleaning Up Nephew's Remains After Murders

John Marvin Murdaugh testified that he did the unthinkable when he cleaned up Paul Murdaugh's remains, vowing to "find out who did this," he tearfully said on the stand

John Marvin Murdaugh the younger brother of Alex Murdaugh, wipes a tear while giving his testimony by defense attorney Jim Griffin during Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C
John Marvin Murdaugh. Photo: Andrew J Whitaker/AP/Shutterstock

Alex Murdaugh's younger brother John Marvin Murdaugh tearfully told jurors how he took it upon himself to clean up the remains of his nephew's body at the crime scene, saying it was "the hardest thing" he had ever done.

'I saw blood, I saw brains, I saw pieces of skull, I saw tissue," he testified Monday in Colleton County Court. "And when I say brains it could just be tissue. I don't know what I saw, it was just terrible."

John Marvin took the stand in his brother's double-murder trial as the defense team's final witness before it rested its case.

Alex Murdaugh, 54, is charged with two counts of murder and two weapons charges in the deaths of his wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and son Paul Murdaugh, 22, who were gunned down on the property of their hunting lodge on June 7, 2021.

Just hours after the brutal murders, John Marvin said investigators released the crime scene after collecting evidence from where Maggie and Paul were shot, including the small feed room at the end of the dog kennel building where Paul Murdaugh was killed.

murdaugh family
Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh.

Maggie Murdaugh's body was found in the grass about 30 feet from where Paul Murdaugh's body was found.

John Marvin testified that on the morning after the murders, he was at the main house with other people but went to the dog kennels to see "what had gone on and just kind of take it in."

He said he got permission from a friend in law enforcement to visit the scene.

He saw the spot where Maggie Murdaugh's body was found, which was covered with dirt "so there was really nothing to do," he said.

Maggie Murdaugh , 52, and her son Paul Murdaugh, 22, were shot several times and their bodies were found near a dog kennel
Murdaugh property. Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP

He said he was shocked when he got to the feed room, which "was not cleaned up" and covered with blood and skull and brain fragments.

He said he cleaned up the remains to honor his nephew's memory.

"It felt like it was the right thing to do," he said, breaking down in tears. "I felt like I owed him, and I just started cleaning, and I promise you, no mother, father, aunt, or uncle should ever have to see and do what I did that day. It's the hardest thing I've ever been through in my life."

While he took on the unthinkable task, he also vowed to find his nephew's killer.

"I told Paul I loved him, and I promised him I'd find out who did this," he testified.

murdaugh family
The Murdaugh Family.

When defense attorney Jim Griffin asked him if he had found the killer, he replied, "I have not."

Asked about his brother's relationships with Maggie Murdaugh and their two sons, Paul and Buster Murdaugh, he said, "All marriages, I'm sure, have hiccups here and there, but I'm telling you it was a good marriage.

"Anything that the boys were doing, Alex wanted to do."

Maggie Murdaugh's Missing Phone

John Marvin also testified that he helped track down Maggie Murdaugh's phone after he learned it had gone missing after she had been shot and killed.

He said, "it was brought to my attention that Maggie's phone was not there and that law enforcement had not found it."

He said when he turned on the "Find My iPhone" app on Buster Murdaugh's phone, "it pings Maggie's phone just out front of the property."

He said he went to the shed on the property and told law enforcement that he had located the phone and that they could go get it.

But he said he was told, "No need," because the law enforcement at the scene had technology that it was going to use to find the phone later that day.

John Marvin said he was perplexed by that because the phone was "right out here."

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"It just blew me away that I'm sitting here showing them where Maggie's phone is but they won't take the time to walk with me … to go find it," he said.

He then approached Duffie Stone, who was the 14th Circuit Solicitor at the time, who said they should go get it before the battery died, which they did, he testified.

Jurors also heard from blood-spatter expert Tim Palmbach who said he thought that more than one gunman shot and killed Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

Griffin also asked him if he thought two people committed the murders.

"My opinion is the totality of the evidence is more suggestive of a two-shooter scenario," he said.

On Monday, Judge Clifton Newman also granted the defense team's request to allow jurors to visit the scene of the crime at Moselle.

"We believe it would be useful for the jury to visit Moselle, both the area of the kennels and the house, just to get some understanding of the spatial relationships," Alex Murdaugh's other defense attorney, Dick Harpootlian, told the judge.

The trial is now in its sixth week. The prosecution said it would wrap up its case on Tuesday afternoon after at least four rebuttal witnesses take the stand.

Closing arguments could begin on Wednesday.

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