(Reuters) – Closing arguments will begin Wednesday in Richard “Alex” Murdaugh’s trial in South Carolina. He is charged with shooting his son and wife to death in a grisly and complex case that has attracted international attention.
After hearing more than a year of testimony, jurors will visit Murdaugh’s family estate on Wednesday morning to get a “jury-view” of the crime scene. They will then return to court to hear the defense’s final remarks.
“After the jury review, you will return for closing argument, then I’ll instruct you as to what law you are required to apply, then, you will deliberate in order to reach an agreement,” Judge Clifton Newman said to jurors, before adjourning on Tuesday.
Newman stated that he believed the jury would return to court for closing arguments at 11 a.m. ET.
Murdaugh, a 54-year-old scion from an influential legal family in an area West of Charleston, was charged with murdering his wife Maggie (52), and their youngest son Paul (22) at dog kennels on their Moselle estate. This happened on the night of June 7, 2021.
Prosecutors claim Murdaugh was trying to get sympathy for his failing health. They also allege that Murdaugh had stolen large amounts from his clients and his legal partners partly to support a drug habit. They accused him of being a serial liar throughout his trial.
Murdaugh has claimed he did not have anything to do with the murders and faces 30 years or more in prison if found guilty.
Because of the family’s vast judicial power and political influence in Colleton County, where this trial is taking place, intense media coverage has been given to the case. From the 1970s until 2006, Murdaugh and family members were the most prominent in-the-region prosecutor.
Murdaugh was also charged with murders and financial crimes. He allegedly plotted to kill himself so that Buster, his older son could receive a $10 million payout from his insurance company. Murdaugh admitted during the trial that he had swindled clients and his law office.
Murdaugh’s lawyers tried to portray him as a loving husband and father who, despite his financial difficulties and years of addiction to opioids, would never harm his child or wife.
Murdaugh claimed that he had lied to investigators about whereabouts the night of the murders. He changed his story after video evidence was presented to the jury.
Murdaugh claimed that he lied about his alibi to investigators because of paranoid thoughts related to his drug addiction and because he didn’t trust the police.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne, Wilton, Connecticut; Editing By Leslie Adler