WALTERBORO, SC (WSPA) — Some of the first people to interact with Alex Murdaugh about an hour after his wife and son were brutally murdered said he did not appear to be crying.
Murdaugh, a former South Carolina attorney, is accused of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul in June 2021. Accusations he and his attorneys have denied.
Testimony in the double-murder trial began Thursday morning in Walterboro.
Sergeant Daniel Greene with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office was the first witness to testify. He was also the first law enforcement officer to speak with Murdaugh the night of the murders.
Greene described in court what he saw when he arrived on scene. He testified Murdaugh was upset but he didn’t see any visible tears when speaking with him.
In the courtroom, Murdaugh was seen wiping away tears many times while jurors were shown law enforcement body cam footage of the gruesome murder scene.
According to Greene, Murdaugh brought up a possible motive for Paul’s killing, unsolicited. Sgt. Greene’s body cam footage was played for jurors and attorneys.
In that video Murdaugh tells Sgt. Greene, “This is a long story but my son was in a boat wreck a few months back. He’s been getting threats. Most of it has been benign stuff we didn’t take serious.”
Murdaugh hinted at the killing being retaliation for a 2019 deadly boat crash where Paul was charged.
In the courtroom, the full 911 call between Murdaugh and dispatchers was played in court. During that call, Murdaugh told dispatchers the boat crash could be linked to this.
He said, “He’s been threatened. My son had a boating accident and he’s been threatened for months and months and months. He’s been hit several times.”
During cross examination, Attorney Dick Harpootlian honed in on crime scene preservation while speaking with first responders. He brought up concerns about tire tracks and bloody footprints found at the scene.
He hinted the crime scene could have been contaminated or not properly documented before a storm arrived the morning after the murders.
A total of six witnesses testified Thursday. Judge Clifton Newman asked the jury to return to the courthouse at 9:30 a.m. Friday.