Alex Murdaugh trial continues into day five

Alex Murdaugh cries while a witness is on the stand in the double murder trial of Murdaugh at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, S.C., Monday, Jan. 30, 2023. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP, Pool)

WALTERBORO, S.C. (NewsNation) — Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial continued Tuesday after an emotional day in the courtroom on Monday.

On Tuesday, jurors got to decide for themselves whether Murdaugh said “I did him so bad” or “they did him so bad” in reference to finding his son’s body near the kennels at the family’s Moselle estate.

The defense cross-examined State Law Enforcement Division Senior Special Agent Jeff Croft, who on Monday emphasized some of Murdaugh’s comments. The defense argued Murdaugh had said, “They did him so bad” instead of “I did him so bad,” as Croft had claimed he said on Monday.

“This was a ‘wow’ moment for the defense,” Criminal defense attorney Jonna Spilbor said about Murdaugh’s defense team slowing down an audio recording, calling into question if Murdaugh said “I did him so bad” or “They did him so bad.” 

The defense also argued that if Murdaugh did say “I” instead of “they,” it was poor police work for Croft not to ask a follow-up question about what could have been a potential admission.

NewsNation will stream the trial. You can watch it on this page when it begins at 9:30 a.m. ET.

Defense attorneys questioned the way state agents collected and analyzed evidence in the shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son.

One line of questioning involved the fact that lead investigators have not been able to specifically say which of Murdaugh’s guns was the murder weapon.

As the defense team made their case, prosecutors focused on whittling away a the defense theory that there may have been two shooters.

Murdaugh, 54, is standing trial on two counts of murder in the shootings of his wife and son at their Colleton County home and hunting lodge on June 7, 2021. His wife, Maggie, 52, was shot several times with a rifle; their son Paul, 22, was shot twice with a shotgun near kennels on the property. Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

Over the first four days of testimony, prosecutors have mostly called officers and crime scene technicians to present evidence to the jury that investigators will likely later explain in more detail. They described their case as a puzzle in last week’s opening statement.

Jurors watched video of investigators searching the hunting lodge where they believe Murdaugh killed his wife and son.

The video — dated June 8, 2021, a day after Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were killed — showed a large gun rack with several long guns stored inside as investigators searched the home.

In an interview played Monday, Murdaugh spoke to the state agent at his brother’s house for about an hour three days after the killings. Murdaugh’s lawyer was close by.

Prosecutors paused the video several times to give Croft a chance to emphasize some of Murdaugh’s comments. At one point, Murdaugh said his wife was home hours before the killings when he and his son returned from riding around the property. Later in the interview, Murdaugh could be heard saying “It’s just so bad,” before the unclear comment that Croft said sounded like Murdaugh was implying he had killed his son.

In court, Murdaugh appeared to shake his head no when Croft said what he heard.

Murdaugh also broke into sobs on the 2021 recording after mentioning a small disagreement he had with his wife over visiting her family.

“She was a wonderful girl and a wonderful wife. And she was a great mother,” Murdaugh said.

Murdaugh continued to rock and dab his eyes during more graphic testimony, including when Harpootlian showed a photo of his wife’s body to ask Worley if there could have been a shoeprint on his wife’s calf that was not formally documented as the scene was examined.

However, Murdaugh’s displays of emotion at his double murder trial have drawn scrutiny.

“If you think Alex Murdaugh did it, then everything he does is all part of the massive game that he’s playing,” Matt Harris, co-host of the “Influence: The Murdaugh Family Murders” podcast, said Monday night during an appearance on NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.” “If you think he’s innocent, then you think these are legitimate, regular tears.”

Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to the murders and, if convicted, faces life in prison. The trial is expected to last another two weeks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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