Cellphone videos played, son’s best friends take stand in Murdaugh trial

Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 7:07 PM EST

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC ) - A pair of videos recorded by Paul Murdaugh the night he and his mother were killed was a focus of testimony as his father, Alex Murdaugh, stands trial for their deaths.

The elder Murdaugh, 54, is charged with murder in the deaths of his wife, Maggie, 52; and Paul, 22.

During Wednesday’s testimony, prosecutors played a pair of videos Paul Murdaugh recorded with his cellphone.

The first was a Snapchat video recorded at around 7 p.m. The second video was meant for one of his best friends, Rogan Gibson, who was texting and calling Paul just before the double shooting.

The video was never sent to Gibson, prosecutors said.

READ MORE: BLOG: Day 8: State argues video places Alex Murdaugh at kennels

Prosecutors said Paul Murdaugh recorded the second video of Gibson’s dog at 8:44 p.m. on the night of June 7, 2021, after noticing something seemed wrong with the dog’s tail. Three voices are heard during the video and on the stand, Gibson identified those voices as Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh.

Those new details come after the defense has previously stated that Alex was taking a nap before visiting his mother that night, never mentioning the kennels where the shooting happened.

The state says the murders happened shortly after 9 p.m. that night.

It was Murdaugh who discovered his wife and son’s bodies. He told investigators he found them after returning home from the visit to his mother.

Murdaugh has consistently maintained his innocence in the deaths.

At one point, while the video played in court, Murdaugh wept and rocked in his seat.

Judge to rule on allowing state to bring up financial crimes

From the beginning, prosecutors have argued that Murdaugh killed his wife and son as a distraction to avoid coming clean about his financial misdeeds.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Murdaugh Cases

Murdaugh is facing about 100 charges related to accusations of money laundering, stealing millions from clients and the family law firm, tax evasion and trying to get a man to fatally shoot him so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. He was being held in jail without bail on those counts before he was charged with murder.

They believe that one of the pressures was an upcoming hearing in June in a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach. Paul Murdaugh was charged in the crash for allegedly operating the boat under the influence when it crashed into a bridge. The hearing for the lawsuit, prosecutors claim, would have exposed Alex Murdaugh’s finances.

Another of Paul Murdaugh’s closest friends, Will Loving, was the first witness prosecutors asked about the boat crash, which may open the door for the state to attempt to prove its motive theory.

Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman told the defense he will rule Thursday morning whether he will allow the jury to hear details about Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes.