By Nathan Layne
(Reuters) – 4 last protection witnesses are set to take the stand on Monday in the double murder trial of disbarred South Carolina lawyer Richard “Alex” Murdaugh earlier than his attorneys relaxation their case, with jury deliberations on monitor to start later in the week.
After 4 weeks of testimony, the high-profile trial reached a crescendo on Thursday and Friday when Murdaugh, 54, took the witnesses stand in his personal protection, testifying that he lied about his whereabouts on the night time his spouse and son have been murdered however that he was not concerned in their deaths.
His spouse Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, have been gunned down at shut vary at canine kennels on the household’s property on the night of June 7, 2021.
Prosecutors have referred to as 61 witnesses, in contrast to 11 for the protection. Murdaugh’s attorneys mentioned they deliberate to query 4 further witnesses earlier than resting their case in the early afternoon on Monday. State prosecutor Creighton Waters mentioned he then deliberate to name “a pair” of reply witnesses supposed to rebut protection proof, indicating their testimony wouldn’t take a very long time.
That might be adopted by closing arguments and the decide instructing the jury, which might occur on Tuesday or Wednesday, Murdaugh protection lawyer Dick Harpootlian mentioned in court docket on Friday. The decide didn’t set a strict schedule.
Murdaugh in the course of the trial has floated his personal concept of who dedicated the murders, testifying on Friday that he believed somebody indignant over a lethal boating accident involving Paul had performed so. He acknowledged that he lacked proof to assist that concept.
Throughout his testimony, he additionally mentioned he had deceived legislation companions and purchasers out of giant sums of cash to feed his drug behavior, doubtlessly undercutting his credibility with the jury. Throughout seven hours of cross examination, Waters sought to painting Murdaugh as a serial liar who was underneath strain due to mounting monetary troubles in the months main up to the killings.
Murdaugh admitted to mendacity to investigators in the aftermath of the murders by telling them he was not on the kennels on the night time of the murders. He modified his account after the jury noticed cellphone video that contained audio of Murdaugh’s voice that positioned him on the scene minutes earlier than investigators have mentioned his spouse and son have been killed.
Murdaugh, the scion of an influential South Carolina authorized household, was indicted by a grand jury in July and pleaded not responsible to two counts of murder and two counts of possession of a weapon. The case has drawn intense media protection given the political affect of the Murdaugh household in South Carolina.
(Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut; Modifying by Will Dunham)