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Murdaugh murder trial: Jurors shown video of lodge search

(NewsNation) — Jurors in the murder trial of South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh 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.

Outside the property, investigators are seen collecting bullet casings from the ground and placing some inside a glove to prevent them from touching each other. One officer identifies them as casings from a .22 long rifle.

Later in the video, another investigator is heard discussing an autopsy and when the bodies would be able to be returned to the family.

The video ends as the officer wearing the camera leaves to call and find out more information on the autopsy timeline.

Alex 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.

Senior Special Agent Jeff Croft testified Monday about guns, ammunition, and fired casings gathered from the Murdaugh home after the killings, showing at least four different shotguns and rifles to the jury and testifying that the Murdaughs kept the weapons loaded in their gun room.

State Law Enforcement Division Special Agent Melinda Worley testified for hours Friday for the prosecution about evidence collected, including photographs of the bodies, shotgun pellets and DNA swabs from the scene, clothes and fingernail clippings from the autopsies and other items.

In Monday’s cross-examination, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian honed in on several items, including identifying footprints, one of Worley’s specialties. She told him one of the footprints in blood near where Murdaugh’s son was shot came from a deputy.

“Is that the preservation of the scene that your standards require?” Harpootlian asked.

“Not exactly, no,” Worley responded.

Harpootlian also had Worley come off the stand and work on a rough diagram of the angles of the shots fired at Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, pointing out a significant disparity between the directions the shots at each victim came from.

Worley said that can happen when a shooter is moving.

“One explanation would be movement. One explanation would be two shooters,” Harpootlian said.

The defense attorney also pointed out a few mistakes in Worley’s work. For instance, Worley had examined a shotgun that Alex Murdaugh said he’d grabbed to possibly defend himself after finding his wife and son. Harpootlian said the special agent incorrectly determined that the shells inside the shotgun were the same size, when, in fact, they were different sizes. The defense attorney also noted that the angle of a gunshot was given in different degrees in Worley’s scene notes and her final report.

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

During the first day of testimony last week, jurors watched Colleton County Sgt. Daniel Greene’s body camera footage and other videos from Murdaugh’s South Carolina hunting lodge on June 7, 2021. The footage showed Greene questioning Murdaugh and protecting the crime scene.

This story is developing. Refresh for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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