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Prosecutors Believe Snapchat Video Paul Murdaugh Sent To Friends The Night Of His Murder Is 'Critical To The Case'
Prosecutors say a video sent by Paul Murdaugh shortly before his death is "important to proving the State’s case in chief," as the trial against the former lawyer begins.
Alex Murdaugh’s son Paul sent a Snapchat video to several friends the night of his murder that prosecutors believe is “critical to the case.”
The new details emerged as jury selection began Monday for the high-profile murder trial against Alex, who has been accused of gunning down his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, at the family’s Colleton County property on June 7, 2021.
Prosecutors say the video in question was sent by Paul to “several friends” at approximately 7:56 p.m. the night of the murder and is “critical to the case,” according to a petition filed by prosecutors last week to secure the attendance of a Snapchat witness at the trial.
“The contents of this video is important to proving the State’s case in chief,” Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General S. Creighton Waters wrote in the court documents obtained by Oxygen.com.
The video was provided by Snapchat after authorities delivered a search warrant to the company to retrieve information related to Paul Murdaugh’s activity on the social media platform.
As a result, Waters requested Judge Clifton Newman allow a representative from Snapchat to testify during the trial to prove “that the video is a true and accurate record kept in the normal course of business activity.”
A similar petition was also filed to allow for the testimony of a Google witness, who is expected to provide testimony about location data being stored by the company at the time of the murder, according to the court records.
Prosecutors provided no further details about the video.
Prosecutors believe Alex killed his wife and son the night of June, 7, 2021 in an attempt to cover up a long string of financial crimes as he feared his misdeeds were about to come to light.
“Ultimately, the murders served as Alex’s means to shift the focus away from himself and buy himself some additional time to try and prevent his financial crimes from being uncovered, which — if revealed — would have resulted in personal, legal, and financial ruin for Murdaugh,” Waters wrote in court documents previously obtained by Oxygen.com.
The bodies were discovered by Alex near some dog kennels on the sprawling 1,700 acre hunting estate known as Moselle.
Dr. Kenneth Lee Kinsey, a chief deputy with the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office who reviewed the case on behalf of the prosecution, said in court documents previously obtained by Oxygen.com that Paul was found facedown partially inside a mudroom near the kennels. He had been shot with a shotgun in the chest and head. His brain had been “severed” and “completely detached” from his head, Kinsey wrote.
His mother, Maggie, was found about 30 yards away face down with five gunshot wounds from a semi-automatic rifle, which struck the 52-year-old in the torso, upper abdomen, thigh, wrist and head. The wound to her head had had been immediately fatal, Kinsey reported.
Kinsey also offered his opinion about blood spatter allegedly discovered on a white T-shirt Alex had been wearing the night of the murder, but Alex’s defense team filed a motion Sunday asking a judge to exclude any testimony from Kinsey about the blood spatter.
They argued that Kinsey’s opinion on the blood spatter was based on findings from Tom Bevel, a former Oklahoma police officer and owner of the forensic consulting company Bevel, Garner & Associates, LLC.
Alex’s attorneys filed a motion to prohibit Bevel’s testimony last week after questioning his methods, credentials and changing opinion in the case.
Alex — who has insisted he did not kill his wife or son, and has pleaded not guilty — placed a frantic 911 call to authorities at 10:07 p.m. after he said he discovered the bodies after he had returned home from visiting his ailing father.
“It’s bad,” he said in a recording of the call previously obtained by Oxygen.com.
The Colleton County Coroner later concluded that both had died sometime between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., according to local station WJCL.
Maggie’s DNA was discovered on her husband’s T-shirt but his attorneys have argued that any blood or DNA found on the shirt was transferred when he tried to render aid to his family members.
“The murder scene was gruesome,” his attorneys wrote in the motion filed Sunday. “There was a large amount of blood on and around their bodies which transferred onto Mr. Murdaugh’s hands and clothing when he frantically checked them for signs of life.”
On Sunday afternoon, Alex’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said they would no longer be commenting on the case now that jury selection was slated to begin Monday.
“We are fully prepared to challenge the State’s allegations, and to demonstrate the weaknesses in the State’s case before a Colleton County jury,” they said in the statement obtained by Oxygen.com. “Alex looks forward to this opportunity to clear his name of these heinous charges so that the Attorney General can finally begin looking for the actual killer or killers of Alex’s beloved wife and son.”
The murder trial is expected to last about three weeks.
In addition to the murder charges, Alex is also facing around 100 other charges for allegedly stealing from his legal firm, law clients and family of his longtime housekeeper, according to The Associated Press. He’s also been accused of evading taxes, running a drug and money laundering ring and attempting to commit fraud during a botched assisted suicide attempt, meant to take his own life and leave $10 million in insurance money to his one surviving son, Buster.