In a groundbreaking revelation, the lead investigators in Alex Murdaugh's double murder trial have recounted the moment they knew the prominent South Carolina attorney had killed his wife and son. Speaking to Dateline NBC in an exclusive interview, investigators Brett Dove and David Owen detailed the discovery of video evidence that in their mind irrefutably refuted Murdaugh's alibi and exposed his deceit. But is evidence of Alex at the crime scene 5 minutes before their deaths really "cracking the case?"
The crux of the case hinged on placing Murdaugh at the crime scene—the kennels of his South Carolina hunting lodge—at the time of the murders in June 2021. Murdaugh had maintained that he had been inside his home and at his mother's home when the killings occurred, but a crucial piece of the State's evidence emerged that changed their minds on his innocence.
Paul Murdaugh, Alex's son, had recorded a final video on his phone on the night of the murders. This video captured a voice that investigators, as well as Paul's best friend and the video's intended recipient, Rogan Gibson, identified as Alex Murdaugh. Gibson, with unwavering certainty, testified in court that he was "99 percent sure" it was Murdaugh's voice.
The discovery of this video sent shockwaves through the investigation, because for the investigators, it dismantled Murdaugh's alibi. Investigator Dove, upon hearing the video, recounted a moment of disbelief and realization, stating, "I listened to it three to four times, to make sure I was hearing, because I was in disbelief."
Investigator Owen echoed Dove's sentiment, describing the moment as "really exciting" and adding, "I can prove Alex was lying to me." The video became their "smoking gun" that propelled their case forward. However in the new book by Crime and Cask, Defending Alex Murdaugh" Not Guilty by Reasonable Doubt, Crime and Cask shows how Alex was already well into Agent Owen's "circle". In an excerpt from the book, Crime and Cask clearly states that just days after the murders, Owen had Alex already well into his circle.
"The investigative Circle starts to constrict around Alex, with Agent Owen conveying the improbability of an unfamiliar person randomly venturing into the remote confines of Moselle for such an act. Owen’s words insinuate that the inquiry is homing in on those within the familiar realm of Moselle itself, a point he underscores while talking to Alex. An exchange unfolds, revealing Owen’s uncertainty, and prompting Alex to echo his perception of intentionality and meticulous planning.
The interaction is visually marked by the expression on Alex's face as Owen discusses the process of introspection. Owen proceeds to request Alex’s DNA, elucidating the extensive investigative efforts that have been undertaken – tracing down a multitude of individuals, with the search ongoing."
"This interview on Dateline proves that the prosecution did not have any smoking gun evidence, but rather a lie on which to prosecute Murdaugh on," said Crime and Cask.
Despite his conviction, Murdaugh has maintained his innocence and is currently appealing the verdict. His attorneys have filed a motion for a new trial, citing jury tampering allegations. They claim that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill improperly influenced jurors, swaying them against Murdaugh and pressuring them for a swift guilty verdict.
The outcome of Murdaugh's appeal and the jury tampering allegations remain uncertain. However, the revelation of the video evidence from Paul's phone stands as a pivotal moment in the case, providing a clear link between Murdaugh and the crime scene, but has never proven Alex murdered any of them.
Crime and Cask points out the inability of Murdaugh to have killed his wife Maggie in this crime scene recreation using time, speed, distance and math:
The prosecution would have you believe that Alex shot Paul twice, put down the 12 gauge, picked up the .300 Blackout, then ran 30 feet, at an angle of 41 degrees and drop to a knee and shot Maggie, or shot below the hip. However, Maggie runs out of the hangar and dies within 6 seconds, just 30 feet from the hangar door. The huge problem is that Maggie will get to her 30 feet well before Alex can make the second shot, put down the 12 gauge, pick up the .300 Blackout and run to Maggie and shoot. The prosecution has said under oath, by their crime scene investigators, that Maggie had gun stippling on her, something that only happens at around 3 feet or less. So how long would it take someone to do all this and get to the spot the prosecution says she was shot? Here is a more detailed breakdown of the timing:
- Shooting a target (Paul): 2-3 seconds
- Putting down a gun, (12 gauge) and picking up another gun, .300 Blackout): 2-3 seconds
- Running 30 feet at an angle of 41 degrees: 5-7 seconds (2nd red circle by dog house)
- Aiming and shooting another moving target: 2-3 seconds
- Total time: 12-15 seconds
Maggie got to her final resting spot in 5 to 6 seconds. Alex could not have shot Maggie using SLED’s crime scene data in sworn testimony.
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