Day 8 live updates: Calls deleted from Alex Murdaugh's phone during 3-day gap, witness says

  • In US
  • 2023-02-01 14:23:38Z
  • By The State

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 last week with jury selection, opening arguments and the initial round of witness testimony. It is expected, for now, to run through Feb. 10 in Walterboro.

How to watch the Murdaugh double murder trial, who to follow from The State, Island Packet

9:55 a.m. - Calls deleted from Alex Murdaugh's phone

Although Maggie Murdaugh's cellphone shows five missed calls from Alex Murdaugh on the night of June 7, 2021, data pulled from Alex Murdaugh's cellphone shows calls made around that time were deleted.

Dove testified that when data was pulled from Alex Murdaugh's phone in September 2021, the extraction showed Alex Murdaugh placed outgoing, unanswered Facetime calls on June 4, 2021 at 3:31:44 p.m. and 4:35:56 p.m.

The report showed a gap until June 7, 2021, at 10:25:49 p.m., - after the murders took place - when Alex Murdaugh placed an outgoing call to Maggie Murdaugh.

However, Maggie Murdaugh's phone recorded several missed calls from Alex Murdaugh placed at 9:04, 9:06, 9:06, 9:45 and 10:03 p.m. the night of her death.

"Are those calls on Alex Murdaugh's phone?" a prosecutor asked.

"No sir, they are not," Dove answered.

"How could those calls be removed to create such a gap?" the prosecutor continued.

"A gap like that would indicate that it was actually removed from there. You can go in and very easily go into the call log. If you chose ... to delete that call, you could do that," Dove confirmed.

9:45 a.m. - State presents data from Alex Murdaugh's cellphone

Prosecutors presented Alex Murdaugh's cellphone early on Day 8 in the disbarred lawyer's double murder trial.

Dove confirmed some data from the phone was redacted by a SLED attorney due to information subject to client-attorney privilege. No call records were deleted, Dove testified.

Prosecutors have said GPS data and a snapchat video taken by Paul Murdaugh minutes before his death will be key components in placing Alex Murdaugh at the murder scene around the time of the killings.

9:30 a.m. - Judge to resume court with forensics expert

Lt. Britt Dove, an agent with the State Law Enforcement Division who specializes in internet and computer crimes analysis, will be back on the stand at 9:30 a.m. after the state wrapped up their questioning late Tuesday. Dove will be cross-examined by the defense.

Dove, the 15th witness to be called by the state, is one of numerous names listed in the chain of custody for Paul Murdaugh's cellphone. The locations of Paul and Maggie's phones - particularly Maggie Murdaugh's, which one SLED witness testified was found hundreds of meters from her body - have been long-standing mysteries surrounding the killings.

Texts on Maggie Murdaugh’s cellphone is show as evidence during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan.
Texts on Maggie Murdaugh’s cellphone is show as evidence during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan.  

On Tuesday, prosecutors presented a report pulled from Maggie's phone detailing the final text messages and phone calls she received before her death, using the data to support prosecution's timeline of Maggie and Paul's murders.

Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters claimed in his opening statements that Maggie's phone "went silent forever" at 8:49 p.m. on June 7, 2021, placing her time of death around then. At 8:31 p.m. the night of her death, Maggie received a text message from Alex Murdaugh's brother, John Marvin, which read, "I plan on going over to visit dad tomorrow afternoon, is anyone else planning to go?"

Maggie read the message at 8:31 p.m., Dove said Tuesday.

At 9:08 p.m., she a text message from Murdaugh that was never read.

Maggie received another text message at 9:34 p.m. from Rogan Gibson, a friend of Paul's, who was attempting to contact Paul. It was left unread.

Roughly an hour before prosecution says she was killed, Maggie had a phone call with a contact, "Barbara," that lasted nearly three minutes. That was the final phone call that Maggie answered.

She later missed five phone calls from Murdaugh that night.

Meanwhile, Dove also testified that phone activity consistent with someone picking the phone up and attempting to unlock it occurred after the last time Maggie's cellphone was unlocked. Dove said the camera activated itself at 8:54 p.m. the night of her death. It was on for one second, which Dove said is similar to a phone attempting to recognize someone's face for facial recognition unlock.

One orientation change occurred at 9:06 p.m. - the same time Murdaugh made one of several phone calls to Maggie's phone.


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