Alex Murdaugh, a once prominent Hampton-based attorney from a well-known politically-connected family, is on trial in the deaths of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty. He faces life in prison without parole if found guilty. The trial started Jan. 23 with jury selection, opening arguments and the initial round of witness testimony. For now, the trial is expected to stretch at least another week, through Feb. 17.
How to watch the Murdaugh double murder trial, who to follow from The State, Island Packet
9:30 a.m. - Court resumes, lawyers look at longer trial
Court is back Tuesday after a day of eyebrow raising witnesses took the stand.
The jury last heard from Jamie Hall, who in 2021 worked as a forensic technician for the State Law Enforcement Division, with training in detecting gunshot residue. She now works for the West Columbia Police Department.
The state called Hall to the stand because she did gunshot residue tests on Alex Murdaugh's T-shirt, shorts and shoes on June 8, 2021, the day after his wife, Maggie, and youngest son, Paul, were murdered on the family's vast Colleton County property.
Hall testified that the shirt smelled "freshly laundered" when she received it, and had "small, reddish-brown stains." She did not say the stains appeared to be blood, and she said she had "no knowledge" of any other tests done on the shirt.
Hall noted Murdaugh's shoes were wet and had "yard debris" on them.
The jury also heard from Mushelle "Shelly" Smith, the caregiver for Murdaugh's mother, Libby, who has Alzheimer's.
Murdaugh has contended that he was not home when the murders occurred, but was at his mother's house.
Smith said on the stand Murdaugh was only at his mother's home for about 20 minutes on June 7, 2021, though he told her later he was there around 30 to 40 minutes. Defense attorneys pressed Smith Monday on her memory, and what she had previously told SLED investigators.
There also was disagreement over a blue tarp or raincoat found at Murdaugh's home that Smith testified Murdaugh brought to the home days later, bundled up.
Meanwhile, for the first time, the jury heard from the state's first financial-related witness over defense objections after Judge Clifton Newman gave the OK for prosecutors to introduce a vast trove of testimony over Murdaugh's financial situation leading up to June 7, 2021. So far, all of the financial-related witness, who include a former friend and attorneys, have testified without the jury present.
Natasha Moodie, an employee with Bank of America, was called to the stand Monday. She testified that she reviewed Bank of America's records related to Murdaugh's alleged financial crimes, such as monthly account statements and copies of checks.
"Testimony is about to be offered that the defendant may have been involved in other criminal activity, and that evidence is not evidence or proof that he committed the offenses charged in the indictments," Newman explained to the jury. "This testimony has been allowed ... for the limited purpose of assisting the state in proving motive."
With the financial information allowed in, lawyers indicated the trial, scheduled to end Feb. 10, will stretch at least another week.