Alex Murdaugh's Conviction Was Clinched Thanks To A Cell Phone Video

Fallen lawyer Alex Murdaugh, of the prominent South Carolina Murdaugh family, was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the 2021 shooting deaths of his wife and son, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh. The AP reports that those shootings took place on the Murdaugh family's rural property near Charleston. Though convicted, the Murdaugh trial lacked direct evidence the disbarred lawyer was guilty. As a result, the prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, such as cell phone data and digital video, to successfully prove its case.

After that guilty verdict was reached, one Murdaugh juror spoke with ABC News. In that interview, the juror, Craig Moyer, said there was one piece of evidence in particular presented by the prosecution that, in his mind, sealed the disbarred lawyer's fate. Murdaugh also received convictions on two counts of possession of a weapon in the commission of a violent crime (per CNN). The disgraced former lawyer will now also stand trial for 99 counts of financial crimes, including defrauding millions from the Murdaugh family legal firm (via CNN). As of this report, that court date has not been set.

Murdaugh's alibi fell apart

Though lacking direct evidence to implicate Alex Murdaugh in the murder of his wife and son, Murdaugh's initial alibi, that he had left the rural Murdaugh property before his wife and son died, swiftly fell apart. On the stand, Murdaugh also admitted to a long history of substance use issues, and heavy opiate use in particular. Adding to that was Murdaugh's admission to a long-running fraud and embezzlement scheme from the Murdaugh family law firm and its clients.

Through the investigation of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh's shooting deaths, additional mysterious deaths were uncovered related to Murdaugh and his family dating back decades. Based on Murdaugh's testimony, he lied about his whereabouts when his wife and son died. He blamed substance use for his behavior. On Murdaugh's guilty verdict, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said (via CNN), "Maggie and Paul Murdaugh deserved justice, and they certainly did not deserve to brutally die at the hands of someone who was supposed to love and protect them."

Murdaugh's voice was heard on cell phone video

In light of no direct evidence linking Alex Murdaugh directly to the shooting deaths of his wife and son, one bit of evidence presented by the prosecution was more than enough for one juror to make up his mind, according to ABC News. Murdaugh's defense claimed there were two shooters and that inconsistencies in the angle of the shotgun blasts and projected blood splatter patterns proved Murdaugh was innocent. In police body cam footage taken after Murdaugh reported his wife and son dead, no blood stains were seen on Murdaugh's clothing.

Those theories aside, the piece of evidence that led one Murdaugh juror, Craig Moyer, to vote guilty was cell phone footage from Paul Murdaugh's phone in which his father's voice could be heard. That footage was taken only moments before Paul and Maggie Murdaugh died and when Murdaugh initially said he wasn't there. Speaking with ABC News, Moyer said, "I was certain it was [Murdaugh's] voice [in the cell phone footage] ... Everybody else could hear [Murdaugh's voice] too." According to Moyer, when the footage was played in court, with Murdaugh present, it was clear in the mind of one juror at least: "[Murdaugh] knew what was coming," Moyer said.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).