SLED questions Alex Murdaugh on night of wife’s, son’s murders
Alex Murdaugh is interviewed by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on June 8, 2021, after his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, were shot to death.
WALTERBORO, S.C. – Disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh suggested in an interview with investigators hours after his wife and son were murdered that a caretaker might be to blame.
David Owen, an agent with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, asked Murdaugh if there was anyone he suspected of the crime.
“This is such a stupid thing, I'm embarrassed to say it,” Murdaugh answered before naming C.B. Rowe, a man he’d hired about eight weeks earlier.
Video of the 34-minute interview was played Thursday at Murdaugh’s trial in Colleton County on charges he gunned down his 22-year-old son Paul and his wife, Maggie, 52, June 7, 2021.
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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, South Carolina, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP)
“He told Paul a story the other day about how when he was in high school he got into a fight with some Black guys and FBI undercover team observed him fighting those guys and put him on an undercover team with three Navy SEALs,” Murdaugh told the investigators. “Their job was to kill radical Black Panthers and they did that from Myrtle Beach to Savannah.”
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The footage was recorded about four hours after state prosecutors allege the mother and son were brutally killed near the dog kennels on the family’s sprawling hunting estate known as Moselle.
Alex Murdaugh sobs in an interview with investigators four hours after his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, were shot to death June 7, 2021. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)
Murdaugh was sitting in the front passenger seat of a car next to Owen, who was behind the wheel. A Colleton County detective and his lawyer, Danny Henderson, were seated in the backseat.
After Murdaugh implicated Rowe, he backtracked. “Now I really don't think this guy, you know, is probably the person,” he said.
Murdaugh paused at least three times during the interview to open the passenger door and spit on the ground.
Trial evidenc showing Alex Murdaugh's Chevy Suburban parked near the dog kennels where his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, were murdered June 7, 2021. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)
Earlier in the footage, Owen asked whether the family was having problems with anyone.
The once powerful attorney mentioned the deadly 2019 boat wreck, which triggered his spectacular downfall from scion of a respected legal dynasty to accused killer and thief.
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Paul drunkenly crashed his father’s boat into a bridge, killing his friend Mallory Beach and injuring four others.
He was criminally charged, and his family was sued.
From left to right, Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh in an undated photo.
Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh blew off his son's head with a shotgun and executed Maggie with a rifle to prevent his expansive financial crimes from coming to light during the boat crash litigation.
“There's been a lot of negative publicity about that, and there's been a lot of people online just really vile stuff,” Murdaugh said of the accident.
Diagram of the section of Alex Murdaugh’s property where his wife, Maggie, and his son, Paul, were murdered. (Fox News )
He later praised his slain son.
“We've never been prouder of him than the way he's handled the pressures and adversity in that situation,” gushed Murdaugh, wearing a white T-shirt without a visible speck of blood.
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Although Murdaugh said he had touched his wife and son’s body, which were lying in pools of blood and brain matter, his clothing and hands were completely clean, according to testimony.
Buster Murdaugh, son of Alex Murdaugh, and girlfriend, Brooklynn White, arrive at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, Jan. 26, 2023. (Mark Sims for Fox News Digital)
In the interview, he provided investigators with an alibi.
He said he had taken a nap at the main house, then texted and called his wife, who didn’t respond. A little after 9 p.m., he headed out to visit his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and lives 20 minutes away.
Murdaugh returned to the house and still couldn't reach Maggie or Paul so drove down to the dog kennels, where he said he came upon the gruesome scene and called 911 at 10:07 p.m.
An evidence photo showing the feedroom where Paul Murdaugh was fatally shot, June 7, 2021. Witnesses at his father Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial, described the blood and brain matter that splattered on the walls and door. (South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.)
In his detailed account of the evening, he doesn’t mention going to the dog kennels that night before finding their bodies.
But lead prosecutor Creighton Waters told jurors in opening statements that cellphone video places Murdaugh at the kennels five minutes before Maggie and Paul's phones go dark at about 8:50 p.m.
Prosecutor Creighton Waters delivers his opening statement in Alex Murdaugh's trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)
“He told anyone who would listen, he wasn’t there,” said Waters.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty and says he isn’t responsible for the heinous killings.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case before Judge Clifton Newman. The trial resumes Monday.
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In unrelated indictments, the fallen family patriarch is accused of more than 90 financial crimes for stealing from his clients and law firm.
Rebecca Rosenberg is a veteran journalist and book author with a focus on crime and criminal justice. Email tips to [email protected] and @ReRosenberg.
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