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Alex Murdaugh Says 'There Was Nobody Around The Dogs Didn’t Know' In Moments Before Wife, Son Killed Near Kennels

Alex Murdaugh said during cross-examination that the dogs at the kennels on his property didn't seem to detect any strangers in the moments leading up to his wife Maggie and son Paul being killed nearby, as prosecutors sought to undermine his timeline of events.

By Gina Salamone
The Alex Murdaugh Case, Explained

The cross-examination of Alex Murdaugh continued Friday, with the disbarred South Carolina lawyer admitting on the stand that the dogs at the kennels on his property didn't seem to detect any strangers in the moments leading up to his wife and son being killed nearby.

Murdaugh's remarks were in response to lead prosecutor Creighton Waters asking him if the dogs were "barking and carrying on" or "acting like they sensed somebody was around they didn't know."

Murdaugh, who's charged with the murders of wife, Maggie, and their son Paul, responded, "No. There was nobody around that the dogs didn't know," later adding, "There was nobody else around for them to sense."

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The line of questioning appeared to challenge Murdaugh's defense team's theory that another person murdered Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, soon after Murdaugh left them at the kennels on the family's Colleton County, South Carolina property on the evening of June 7, 2021. 

Prosecutors also focused heavily on another fact: that Murdaugh lied about his whereabouts that night. Murdaugh told authorities that he hadn't been with the pair at the kennels earlier — a falsehood he maintained for the next 20 months. 

Alex Murdaugh prepares for jury selection

He admitted on the stand Thursday that he lied about being near the kennels with his wife and son the night they were murdered, blaming the lie on his opioid addiction, which he said fogged up his mind and made him paranoid of authorities. 

The change of course only happened after jurors were shown video from Paul's phone from the night of his death in court earlier this month, footage that that prosecutors claimed proved Murdaugh was with the pair near the dog kennels just minutes before they were killed.

Before Thursday, Murdaugh had told authorities he was napping at the property's main house while Maggie and Paul were at the kennels, saying he then went to visit his sick mom in another town. But two friends of Paul testified that they were "100 percent" sure that Murdaugh could be heard speaking in the video.

Murdaugh added on the stand Thursday he felt he needed to keep up the lie after initially telling police he wasn't at the kennels with his wife and son.

The disgraced lawyer offered more details on keeping up the lie Friday, saying that he didn't tell police the truth about where he was that night, in part because he didn't trust the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, according to the New York Times.

Murdaugh explained that one of the reasons he distrusted that state investigative agency was because they were looking into a 2019 fatal boat crash his son Paul was involved in, in which Paul was accused of being drunk while crashing the boat, resulting in the death of passenger Mallory Beach, who was 19. Paul was facing charges in that crash at the time of his death.

On Friday, Murdaugh said he believes that his son was a target because of the boat incident, according to the Times. "I can tell you for a fact that the person or people who did what I saw on June 7, they hated Paul Murdaugh and they had anger in their heart,” Murdaugh said.

Waters also attempted to show a pattern of lying Friday, bringing up a lengthly list of family and friends that Murdaugh allegedly lied to over the years, including his wife, brothers, friends and law partners, according to the Times.

The lead prosecutor also showed the court body camera footage of the first deputy showing up at the scene of the murders, pointing out that Murdaugh told the deputy that he hadn't seen his wife and son for a while before leaving their property, the Times reports. 

Cross-examination of Murdaugh wrapped up Friday afternoon, after a total of about six hours on the stand. Murdaugh later returned to the stand to be questioned by one of his lawyers during a redirect examination.

Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted on the double-murder charges. He's also charged with nearly 100 other crimes, including tax evasion and stealing from clients, and is being held without bail for those charges, according to the Associated Press.