Police interview played at Alex Murdaugh murder trial Day 3

(NewsNation) — The double-murder trial of Alex Murdaugh, the former lawyer accused of killing his wife and son, continued Friday in South Carolina as jurors watched a recorded interview between Murdaugh and police.

Murdaugh, 54, is standing trial on two counts of murder. His 22-year-old son Paul, investigators said, was found shot twice with a shotgun near dog kennels outside the family’s Colleton County hunting lodge.

Maggie Murdaugh, Alex’s 52-year-old wife, was shot four or five times with a rifle, and was found near Paul. Both were shot in the head after being gravely wounded, according to authorities.

Alex Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted.

Throughout witness testimony Friday, Alex Murdaugh continued to rock back and forth and run his hands through his hair while three of the responding officers shared their firsthand accounts.

Detective Laura Rutland of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office was one of the investigators who, after the shooting, questioned Alex Murdaugh in a police van fitted with a camera. A man whom Alex Murdaugh introduced as his personal attorney also was present during the interview, which was played in court Friday and was later made public.

From the passenger’s seat of a police vehicle, Alex Murdaugh told investigators he tried to call and text his wife after visiting his mother, but Maggie Murdaugh never answered. He arrived home and found his wife’s and son’s bodies.

“I pulled up and I could see ‘em,” Alex Murdaugh said in the recording. “I knew something was bad. I ran out. I knew it was really bad.”

He went on to tell investigators he checked both Paul and Maggie Murdaugh’s pulses and called 911.

Although Alex Murdaugh said he didn’t know who might be responsible for the shootings, he gave investigators the names of a groundskeeper who was off that day, though he told officers he didn’t think he was the culprit.

Murdaugh also said Paul Murdaugh had received threats stemming from his alleged involvement in a boat crash from which a 19-year-old female passenger went missing.

“He’s been punched and hit and just attacked a lot, but nothing like this,” Alex Murdaugh told investigators.

Earlier this week, jurors heard from Colleton County Sgt. Daniel Greene, the first officer to arrive at the crime scene on June 7, 2021. Body camera footage showed Greene questioning Alex Murdaugh and protecting the crime scene.

Greene testified that when he arrived at the scene about 20 minutes after the 911 call, he saw Alex Murdaugh talking on the phone near where the bodies were found, with a shotgun resting against his truck, which Alex Murdaugh said was for protection. Though Greene said the man was upset, the officer didn’t see him shed “any visible tears.”

That bodycam video is expected to be released to the public soon.

Since the killings, Murdaugh’s life has seen a stunningly fast downfall.

In neighboring Hampton County, his family of prosecutors and private lawyers dominated the legal system for generations.

But even before being charged with murder, Murdaugh had been held in jail without bail on about 100 charges related to crimes such as money laundering, stealing millions from clients and the family law firm, and tax evasion. He’s also accused of trying to get a man to fatally shoot him so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

The trial will pick back up Monday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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