After Murders, Murdaugh Kept Mentioning Boat Crash

First witness, a sheriff's deputy, says he saw no 'visible tears' from the accused
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2023 7:57 AM CST
After Murders, Murdaugh Kept Mentioning Boat Crash
Alex Murdaugh cries as the murder of his wife and son is described by Colleton County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Daniel Greene during testimony in Murdaugh's double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, SC, on Thursday.   (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP)

The first officer to respond to Alex Murdaugh's report that he'd found his wife and son shot to death on the family's property says he cried no tears. Instead, the South Carolina attorney immediately provided a motive for why the killer acted against his loved ones on June 7, 2021. "My son was in a boat wreck months back, he's been getting threats, most of them benign stuff we didn't take serious," Murdaugh said in body camera footage played Thursday during his murder trial, per CNN. "I know that’s what it is." Sgt. Daniel Greene of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, the first witness to take the stand, said Murdaugh offered up the information without any prompting. He'd also mentioned the boat crash in his 911 call, per the New York Times.

Paul Murdaugh, 22, had pleaded not guilty to boating under the influence, causing great bodily harm and death, following a fatal 2019 crash. But prosecutors say it's Murdaugh who had the motive to murder. They accuse him of killing his wife and youngest son, and later attempting to kill himself, to distract from the alleged theft of millions of dollars from his clients and law firm, which was on the verge of being exposed and would've led to "personal, legal, and financial ruin." In his opening statement Wednesday, lead prosecutor Creighton Waters described "a perfect storm that was gathering" as a result of "stuff that happened that very day," per CNN. Murdaugh was apparently to explain missing funds to his law firm by June 7.

"I didn't see any visible tears," Greene testified. Capt. Jason Chapman said he saw no blood on Murdaugh, though he claimed to have checked the bloody bodies for pulses, per the Times. Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian argued that the prosecution's theory wasn't plausible. He referred to a Snapchat video from the night of the killings showing Murdaugh laughing with Paul as they plant trees. "To find Alex Murdaugh guilty of murdering his son, you're going to have to accept that within an hour" of the video, "he executes him in a brutal fashion," Harpootlian said. "Not believable." He got Greene to admit that tire tracks at the scene were not secured and may have been obliterated. Another deputy admitted to walking near a body without covering his shoes, per the Times. (More Alex Murdaugh stories.)

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