Paul Murdaugh, the deceased son of infamous South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, received new information about his fatal injuries.
Monday marks the beginning of Mr. Murdaugh’s trial after he was accused of killing his wife, Maggie, and his son, age 22, charges he denied.
Murdaugh’s legal team included graphic crime scene detail in a legal filing trying to get evidence thrown out before the once-powerful lawyer’s double murder trial starts on Monday, according to the New York Post.
Images from the dog kennels, where Mr. Murdaugh claims to have discovered his wife and son shot to death on June 7, 2021, were included in the complaint.
52-year-old Ms. Murdaugh was discovered face down with five rifle shots in her body, according to a forensics report by Chief Kenneth Kinsey of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office. He said three of the shots most likely happened while she stood.
Two shots were instantaneously lethal since they hit her in the brain. She was struck in the chest at first and then the back of the head.
One of the shots seemed to have been fired as she was “holding herself up on her knees and … her right hand with her shoulders and head down,” the report stated.
Paul Murdaugh was also found face down and shot twice with a shotgun, not the gun used to kill his mother.
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He was still standing and going towards a door when he was wounded in the neck and shoulder after being initially shot in the chest “from several feet away.” That bullet destroyed his brain.
“Brain was severed and exited through the anatomical right side of (his) head. … Brain was completely detached from (his) head,” Chief Kinsey wrote.
According to the forensic report, there was “no heartbeat (pumping blood)” and thus “no expectorated blood” because Ms. Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh both died quickly.
“The fatal shot to Paul’s shoulder, face, and head would likely produce enough back spatter, and would be within range to contaminate the shooter,” Chief Kinsey said.
While the mother’s wound was “sufficient to produce back spatter,” it was unlikely that it would contaminate the shooter, he added.
To prevent testimony about what seemed to be splatter discovered on a t-shirt Mr. Murdaugh was wearing that night from being presented in the trial, Mr. Murdaugh’s counsel shared this evidence.
The defense side asserted that the expert had revised both his findings and opinions, citing Mr. Murdaugh’s admission that he was the one who discovered Paul and Ms. Murdaugh at the crime scene.
The filing argues that the prosecutors “immediately decided Alex was guilty, before anyone collected, investigated, or reviewed any evidence”.
Mr Murdaugh’s attorneys claimed that the prosecution has been “unable to build a solid case” and that they “instead engaged in a campaign of selective and deceptive leaks,” with the blood spatter on the shirt being “perhaps the most extraordinary”.
“The only possible motive for this leak was to convince the public that Murdaugh was guilty of the murders before trial, even before he was formally charged,” the attorneys wrote in the pre-trial filing.
“This leak was an extrajudicial statement made on behalf of the state with the deliberate intention to prejudice the present judicial proceedings,” they argued. “It was also a lie.”
According to the prosecution, Mr. Murdaugh killed his wife and kid to hide financial misdeeds that netted him $9 million. He has entered a not-guilty plea and denies all accusations of wrongdoing.
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