The jury has been seated for Alex Murdaugh's trial on charges that he murdered his wife and son, and in opening statements Wednesday, prosecutors warned that things would be getting intense. They painted a picture of Murdaugh's wife, Margaret, and son, Paul, having no idea what was about to happen, NBC News reports: Their lack of defensive wounds, prosecutors said, make it seem "as if they didn't see a threat coming from their attacker." The shotgun that was used to kill Paul did "devastating damage," and Margaret's rifle injuries were "catastrophic," prosecutors said, per the Greenville News. "It's going to get gruesome," the lead prosecutor warned jurors of the trial, which is expected to last three weeks.
The defense, meanwhile, insisted Murdaugh is a "loving father" who is being subjected to the attorney general's "conjectures" about what happened to his family, CNN reports. But the defense team got just as graphic as the prosecution, possibly more so, and Murdaugh sobbed during descriptions of his wife and son's fatal injuries. The New York Times calls it a "dramatic start" to the trial, and notes that new evidence against Murdaugh was revealed: bullet casings and other evidence that suggests "a family weapon" was used to kill Murdaugh's wife; a raincoat covered in gunshot residue found at the home of Murdaugh's mother, where he went the night of the murders; and cellphone evidence allegedly proving Murdaugh was at the scene of the killings just before they took place, despite his insistence he was elsewhere.
To build an alibi, prosecutors said, Murdaugh called his wife's phone twice immediately after the murders, then texted her to say he was going to check on his mom, who has Alzheimer's disease. He then made five more phone calls as he made the 20-minute drive to, and later from, his mother's house, all of which prosecutors say were intended to build his alibi. But the defense refuted the prosecution's claims, insisting that the same cellphone evidence would also seem to indicate Murdaugh didn't have enough time to carry out the killings and then get to his mom's house. Also: "Where are the bloody clothes?" the lead defense lawyer asked, claiming that there was no blood on the shirt Murdaugh was wearing that night. The prosecution disagrees on that, and one of their potential witnesses says there was microscopic blood spatter on the shirt. (Read more Alex Murdaugh stories.)