New details emerge about the brutal murders of the wife and son of Alex Murdaugh, a disgraced South Carolina legal scion, including how his son’s brain was blown out of his head.
Murdaugh’s legal team included graphic crime scene detail in a filing as they attempt to get evidence thrown out before the lawyer’s double murder trial starts on Monday.
The evidence included images from the dog kennels where Murdaugh said he found his wife and their 22-year-old son Paul after they were shot to death on June 2, 2021.
Maggie Murdaugh, 52, was found face down after being shot five times with a rifle, a report from forensics expert Kenneth Kinsey said, who suggested that three of the shots were taken while she was standing up. Two of the shots would have been instantly fatal, one first went through her left breast, while the other was fired into the back of her head, hitting her brain.
At least one appeared to be fired while she was “holding herself up on her knees and … her right hand with her shoulders and head down.”
The Murdaughs’ son, who had been in trouble with the law numerous times, was also found face down, having been shot twice. However, he was shot with a shotgun, not the rifle that had been used to kill his mother, Kinsey noted.
He was first hit in the chest “from several feet away,” which left him alive, and attempting to flee, before he was shot in the neck and shoulder, which blew out his brain and immediately killed him.
“Brain was severed and exited through the anatomical right side of (his) head. … Brain was completely detached from (his) head,” Kinsey added.
Because both victims died almost immediately, there would be “no heartbeat (pumping blood)” and hence “no expectorated blood,” the forensic report stated. Kinsey then added that “the fatal shot to Paul’s shoulder, face, and head would likely produce enough back spatter, and would be within range to contaminate the shooter.”
The wound to his mom would also “be sufficient to produce back spatter,” but not enough to contaminate the shooter, he concluded.
Murdaugh’s lawyers included the evidence as they attempted to throw out evidence about the apparent spatter of blood found on the T-shirt that he wore that night. They accused Kinsey of changing his opinion and findings and noting that the lawyer had always admitted to being the one to find his kin in the bloody scene.
The filing, less than a week before Murdaugh’s murder trial is set to start, accuses prosecutors of having “immediately decided Alex was guilty, before anyone collected, investigated, or reviewed any evidence.”
“Unable to build a solid case,” they “instead engaged in a campaign of selective and deceptive leaks” — with “perhaps the most extraordinary” being the information about the questionable finding of a spatter on the shirt.
“The only possible motive for this leak was to convince the public that Murdaugh was guilty of the murders before trial, even before he was formally charged,” the filing stated. “This leak was an extrajudicial statement made on behalf of the state with the deliberate intention to prejudice the present judicial proceedings. It was also a lie.”
Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh shot his wife and son to distract from his financial crimes in which he allegedly lined his pockets with nearly $9 million.
Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty and repeatedly denied any involvement in the slayings. However, he later admitted to a secret drug addiction and stealing from his family law firm. He also admitted to attempting to arrange his own murder in a scam to get life insurance for Buster, his surviving son.
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