About a minute before Paul Murdough was fatally shot on June 7, 2021, near the kennels of his family’s South Carolina estate, the 22-year-old texted his friend about a dog’s tail.
“See if you can get a good picture of it. Marion wants to send it to a girl we know is a vet. Make him sit and stay. He shouldn’t be moving too much,” Rogan Gibson, one of Paul’s friends who had dropped off his dog at the Murdo kennel, said in a text message at 8:49 p.m.
The text came after a four-minute phone call in which Paul and Gibson discussed a problem with the dog’s tail. So when Gibson’s message went unanswered, according to cell phone activity detailed by SLED Special Agent Jeff Croft on Monday, the friend sent another message.
“Yo,” Gibson wrote at 9:58 p.m., before unsuccessfully trying to call Paul five times.
When he still hadn’t heard from Paul nearly an hour later, Gibson texted Paul’s mother, Maggie Murdo, for some help.
“Tell Paul to call me,” Gibson wrote in a message at 9:34 p.m.
But he was also met with radio silence — because, according to prosecutors, Alex Murdo had already killed his son and fatally shot his 52-year-old wife at least four times before turning off his phones.
The new details about the latest activity on Paul and Maggie’s phones came on the sixth day of testimony in Murdo’s murder trial in Colleton County Circuit Court. Croft, the prosecution’s 10th witness since the trial began last week, went into detail about several pieces of evidence collected at the scene — including the cell phones, a Gucci receipt where someone marked off a $1,021 purchase and shell casings from the two guns believed to be suggests they were used in the crime. However, none of the murder weapons have been found.
Croft told jurors Monday that he interviewed Gibson the morning after the murders, where the friend provided his last messages with Paul and Maggie. The SLED agent also testified that after the gruesome murder, Gibson said Murdow called him four times. Gibson is also notable among the 250 possible witnesses who could testify in what is being billed as the “trial of the century” in South Carolina.
Murdo, a 54-year-old former attorney, faces two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime in connection with the double murder. If convicted, he faces up to 30 years in prison.
His lawyers have argued that Murdough, who has pleaded not guilty, had no motive to kill his “lovely” wife and child – and that there is no concrete evidence linking him to the murders.
But prosecutors revealed last week that the mobile phone activity of Murdow and his family was crucial to proving their case – noting that the data proved he had been in the doghouses with his family longer than he had previously indicated . It also shows that after the murders around 8:50 p.m., Murdo took steps to try to create a cover by going to his sick mother’s house while calling several people.
Prosecutors say Murdo called among people: his deceased wife and son, his father, his brother and several friends. He also allegedly texted Magee twice. Croff added Monday that Magee’s phone was found on the side of the road at least half a mile from where she was killed.
“It’s up to you to decide whether he was trying to make up an alibi,” State’s Attorney Creighton Waters said last week at the start of Murdo’s murder trial.
Prosecutors on Monday also released another interview Murdo had with SLED agents in which he appeared to have trouble describing his whereabouts the night of the murders. In the June 10, 2021 interview, Murdo says he left the office early that day to spend time with Paul—and that the three of them were together at the house before Maggie decided to go to the kennels.
“I stayed in the house,” Murdo said in the interview released in court, although a Snapchat video taken by Paul suggests the trio were found in the kennels that night.
When asked who he thought might have killed his family, Murdoch again floated his theory that the murders were linked to threats Paul had received over the charges he was facing after he drunkenly crashed a boat and killed 19 -year-old friend Mallory Plage.
“I can’t think of anyone who would want to go to that extreme. He got a bunch of threats, mostly from, you know. I mean, I have no idea,” Murdo says in the interview, later saying that people on the street would call Paul a “piece of shit” and demand that he admit to driving the boat during the 2019 crash.
Murdo also notes that he and his wife did not fight, but occasionally had friction over common marital issues — such as visiting his in-laws.
“I’m sure some things come up here and there,” Murdo said in the interview. “She was a great mother.”