Why The Man In The Yellow Suit From The Murdaugh Trial Is Actually Very Important

Throughout the six-week-long double murder trial of ex-lawyer Alex Murdaugh, an older man with a mustache, glasses, and a high-and-tight military-style haircut sat behind the defendant. But it was his suits that set him apart from the rest of the people in the gallery. They were often brightly colored and paired with complimentary button-down shirts and ties. His bright lemon-yellow suit especially grabbed the attention of true-crime addicts and court watchers glued to the proceedings that ended on March 3, 2023, with Judge Clifton Newman giving Murdaugh, 54, a double life sentence without the possibility of parole.

The trial in Colleton County, South Carolina, related to Murdaugh's June 7, 2021, killing of his wife Maggie and son Paul, often included long stretches of time needed for the mundane proceedings that take place in actual trials between the riveting testimony. This gave viewers plenty of time to focus on "the Man in the Yellow Suit" as they'd dubbed him on social media.

The man in the yellow suit had a vital mission  

"Check out that yellow suit" true-crime podcaster Mandy Matney commented on Twitter on March 2, 2023, just hours before the jury convicted Alex Murdaugh of two counts of first-degree murder and related gun charges. The Tweet prompted a response from the mystery man's daughter, who revealed exactly who he was and what he was doing at the trial. "That is my dad in the yellow suit!" Shanna Ayer responded on the social media site. "He is a US Marine, Law Enforcement Officer, State Constable...he has been a Judge and a US Postal Inspector. He is working court security for the trial."

Dr. Wendell Butterfield is the "Man in the Yellow Suit" who was there to protect the judge, clerk of court, and court reporters, per The Daily Beast. The 80-year-old also has a doctorate in theology, among his other list of accomplishments. It was his long years in the military and law enforcement, including stints with the county sheriff's department and federal Homeland Security, that got him the court security job.

The attention surprised him 

Dr. Wendell Butterfield's sartorial elegance at trial, as it turns out, was the handiwork of his wife. He hadn't been thinking about the outfits when he would show up at the packed courthouse to do his job and did not know his yellow suit had become a social media sensation. "I had no idea that my suit choices were making quite a stir," he told The Daily Beast. "It's been surreal." He was very surprised his suits had become the "talk of the town on all the different social media outlets."

Butterfield's polished exterior wasn't lost on Clerk of Court Becky Hill, who hired him as an extra layer of protection during this high-profile trial. "He takes pride in his uniform and the way he looks and is always immaculately dressed with starched shirts and pants, a crisp blazer, a tie, and shoes that are shined, and a very similar likeness to a favorite and very loved actor of mine, Clint Eastwood," she told The Daily Beast.