Jury in Alex Murdaugh's double-murder trial deliberates after harrowing closing arguments

Walterboro, South Carolina - After hearing testimony in disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh's double-murder trial for 26 days, the jury has been sent to deliberate after the defense and prosecution offered two different narratives in closing arguments.

Alex Murdaugh testified during his double-murder trial, and admitted to lying to investigators.
Alex Murdaugh testified during his double-murder trial, and admitted to lying to investigators.  © IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

28 days into the trial of Murdaugh, a once-prominent lawyer in South Carolina who was accused of murdering his wife Maggie Murdaugh and son Paul Murdaugh in June 2021, the defense and prosecution made their last efforts to swing the jury in their favor.

During the lengthy and often graphic trial that kicked off on January 25, jurors and those who packed the courthouse heard compelling testimony from a wide variety of witnesses such as law enforcement agents, close friends, family members, and even Murdaugh himself.

During closing arguments, which kicked off on Wednesday and concluded on Thursday, defense attorney Jim Griffin argued that South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) "failed miserably in investigating this case."

The defense further argued that law enforcement's knowledge of Murdaugh's opioid addiction addiction made him "an easy target," even going so far as to say SLED "started fabricating evidence against Alex."

The defense relied heavily on the argument that Murdaugh initially lied to investigators about being at the dog kennels – the scene of the crime – on the night of the murders because he was an addict and "that's what addicts do."

Murdaugh's voice was heard on a Snapchat video at the dog kennels that was recorded on Paul's phone moments before the murders occurred, and numerous close friends of the family testified that they were certain the voice was that of the disgraced attorney.

However, the defense concluded that just because he was a liar didn't mean he murdered his wife and son.

But the prosecution offered up a different version of events and painted quite the picture that surely tugged at many jurors' heartstrings.

Prosecution offers eye-opening closing arguments in Alex Murdaugh's murder trial

Prosecutor Creighton Waters painted a heart-wrenching picture for the jury during closing arguments.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters painted a heart-wrenching picture for the jury during closing arguments.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

During the prosecution's closing arguments on Wednesday that followed the jury's trip to the Moselle property where the murders occurred, prosecutor Creighton Waters said, "This defendant has fooled everyone," including Maggie and Paul, "and they paid for it with their lives. Don't let him fool you, too."

Though some of the evidence throughout the trial seemed tedious and hard to follow, the state did their best to bring all the elements together to paint a harrowing picture.

Waters reiterated that neither Maggie nor Paul had defensive wounds, and suggested that Paul didn't see the person who shot him as threat before pointing towards Murdaugh and saying, "because it was him. Same with Maggie, because Maggie sees what happens when she comes running over there, running to her baby."

"There is only one person who had the motive, had the means, who had the opportunity to commit these crimes, and also whose guilty conduct after these crimes betrays him," Waters said. "The defendant is the one person who was living a lie. The defendant is the person on which a storm was descending."

The pressures he referred to included Murdaugh's numerous financial and legal woes, like being questioned about stolen money from his grandfather's law firm and trying to hide money prior to a hearing about a boating accident his son Paul was involved in.

"Those pressures mount," Waters stated, "and [then] someone becomes a family annihilator."

The jury was sent to deliberate on Thursday afternoon after receiving instructions from Judge Clifton Newman.

If convicted, Murdaugh faces life in prison.

Cover photo: IMAGO / USA TODAY Network

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