A video that could undermine Alex Murdoch’s claim that he was not at the scene of the murder is expected to be played in court as early as today, a source says


Two witnesses in Alex Murdo’s murder trial told a court Wednesday they were “100 percent” sure Murdo’s voice was on the recording, prosecutors said, undermining the disgraced former South Carolina attorney’s claim that he was not on the scene of the murders when his wife Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul were fatally shot.

The video, just under a minute long, was captured on Paul’s phone at 8:44 p.m. on the night of the 2021 murders, according to Lt. David Britton Dove, supervisor of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s Computer Crimes Center. , who extracted forensic data from the phones of Murdo, his son and his wife.

Three different voices could be heard in the footage, Dove testified Wednesday, saying the video appeared to have been recorded in the area of ​​the Murdoughs’ kennels. And while Dove didn’t know the voices personally, he said, “You can tell they’re different voices.”

Prosecutors believe one of those voices — the only one on the video other than that of the victims — belongs to Alex Murdo, placing him at the crime scene at the time of the murders. And while Murdo has maintained in interviews with law enforcement that he wasn’t there, two witnesses on Wednesday backed up prosecutors’ claim.

Rogan Gibson, who said he was a close friend of Paul’s and the Murdos were like a second family to him, told investigators shortly after the murders that he was 99 percent sure he heard Alex Murdo’s voice in the background of a phone conversation. which he had with Paul at 8:40 tonight. When he was shown the video last November, he told investigators he was 100 percent sure it was Murdough’s voice in the background, a claim he repeated in court Wednesday.

Asked by State’s Attorney Creighton Waters if he recognized Alex’s voice, Gibson said, “Yes, sir.”

“100%?” Waters asked. “Yes, sir,” replied Gibson.

Will Loving, another witness who was a friend of Paul’s, also testified that he was “100%” sure it was Alex’s voice in the video.

Prosecutors said cellphone evidence was key in their case against Murdaugh, who has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in the murders of his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and his 22-year-old son Paul on June 7, 2021.

Murdo called 911 the night of the murders to report that he had found his wife and son shot to death at the family’s home in Islandton, South Carolina — a property known as Moselle.

But prosecutors accuse Murdo of committing the murders to distract from a series of alleged illegal schemes he ran to avoid “personal legal and financial ruin,” according to court documents. Separate from the murder charges, Murdaugh also faces 99 charges stemming from alleged financial crimes, according to the state attorney general.

The evidence will show, the state argued, that Murdo’s alleged financial crimes were “about to come to light” when his wife and son were killed.

Gibson has known Murdough virtually his entire life, he said. He testified that in the video, Alex Murdo’s voice can be heard urging the family’s yellow lab, Bubba, to release a chicken from his mouth.

Paul Murdo called Gibson the night of the shooting, at 8:40 p.m., to ask if something was wrong with Gibson’s dog, Cash, who was in a kennel on Murdo’s property. The two tried to video call so Gibson could see the dog, but the reception wasn’t good enough, Gibson testified.

Paul told him he would take a video of the dog and send it to him if the FaceTime call didn’t work, Gibson said, but he never received the recording. Gibson tried to call and text Paul after the failed video call, he said, but his friend never answered.

Prosecutor Waters of the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office — who is prosecuting the case because of the Murdo family’s decades-long ties to the local law firm — teased the video in his opening statement last week, saying that while Alex told investigators he was dozing off in the house, video evidence would show that he was present at the family’s kennels where the bodies of his son and his wife were found.

“You’re going to see this video and you’re going to hear from witnesses who identify Paul’s voice, Maggie’s voice and Alex’s voice,” Waters said, telling the court Paul filmed a dog that belonged to a friend because they were concerned about the dog’s tail. the animal. Murdo “told anyone who would listen that he was never there… The evidence will show that he was. He was at the scene of the murder with the two victims” minutes before Paul’s phone “locked forever”.

In his own opening statement, defense attorney Dick Harpoutlian said the audio from the video obtained by the prosecution would simply show Murdo and his wife having a “normal discussion” with “no hostility.” Paul is “very happy,” Harputlian claims. “No one threatens him down there. Dad isn’t going to pull out a gun and kill him.

Under cross-examination by the defense on Wednesday, Gibson said Alex and Paul Murdo had a great relationship and spoke of Alex as an affectionate and loving father who was involved with his sons. Alex was like a second father to him, Gibson said.

Murdo cried a lot and “was really upset, sad, just torn up” about the death, Gibson testified.

“Can you think of any conceivable circumstance, knowing them as you do, in which Alex would have brutally killed Paul and Maggie?” defense attorney Jim Griffin asked.

“I can’t think of it,” Gibson replied.

The defense attorney also questioned Gibson about the sheds, workshops and vehicles that were often left unlocked on Murdo’s property, and guns were often left unsecured or just lying around. Gibson acknowledged that it would be easy for someone to sneak onto the property and steal something. On redirect from the prosecution, Gibson admitted he had never heard Paul complain about people doing that.

In testimony Tuesday, Dove, the 15th witness called by the prosecution, detailed communications from Maggie’s phone on the night of the murders, including a message from Alex at 9:47 p.m. that read: “Call me honey.” It has never been read.

In his opening statement last week, Waters told jurors that Murdo called his wife repeatedly that evening before texting her that he was going to visit his mother and drive to Alameda, South Carolina.

“It’s up to you,” Waters said, “to decide whether he’s trying to make up an alibi or not.”

According to Dove’s testimony Tuesday, on the night she was killed, Maggie read two text messages — at 8:31 p.m. and 8:49 p.m. — in a group chat with the family about Murdo’s father, who was in ill health, seconds before her phone locked for the last time.

The display on Maggie’s phone turned off minutes later, at 8:53 p.m. At 8:54 p.m., the orientation changed to landscape and the camera activated — an indication, Dove said, that the phone had been moved and the camera tried to locates Maggie’s face in a failed unlock attempt.

Maggie’s phone showed repeated missed calls from her husband over the next hour, Dove testified, along with evidence that he had switched to portrait mode. The expert said this is another indication that the phone was probably held in someone’s hand. The last call from Murdaugh was missed shortly before 10:04 p.m

But those calls appear to be missing from Murdo’s phone, Dove said Wednesday, testifying that call logs show a gap in calls between June 4 and 10:25 p.m. on the night of June 7.

“A gap like that would mean” that the calls were “actually removed from there,” Dove said, adding that the only way to remove calls from the log is to do it manually.

Asked specifically if the calls were deleted from the log, Dove said, “it would appear that way,” noting there was no way of knowing when they were deleted or who was responsible.

Murdow also was in the same group chat as his wife when relatives sent messages about his dying father, Dove said Wednesday. And while evidence showed Magee read both messages, Murdough didn’t read them until the next day, Dove said, even though he told state investigators about his concern for his father’s health.

That behavior seemed outside of Murdough’s typical texting habits, Dove testified, saying Murdough usually had a habit of checking text messages within 5 minutes or sometimes 30 to 40 minutes.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name Murdaugh. The story also misstated some of Rogan Gibson’s testimony. He told investigators shortly after the murders that he was 99 percent sure he heard Alex Murdo’s voice in the background of a phone conversation he had with Paul at 8:40 that night.

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