John Marvin Murdaugh, Alex’s younger brother, told the jury that cleaning up the crime scene after his nephew’s death was “the toughest thing” he had ever done.
“I saw blood, I saw brains, I saw parts of the skull, I saw tissue,” he said in court on Monday in Colleton County. And by “brains,” I mean tissue as well. What I witnessed was horrible, and I have no idea what it was.
John Marvin testified as the defense’s last witness in the double murder trial against his brother.
Alex Murdaugh, 54, has been arrested and charged with two counts of murder and two counts of weapons charges in connection with the shooting deaths of his wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and son Paul Murdaugh, 22. The shootings took place on June 7, 2021, on the property of the family’s hunting lodge.
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John Marvin claimed that the crime scene was cleared just hours after the terrible killings, after police had collected evidence from the areas where Maggie and Paul were shot, including the small feed room at the end of the dog kennel building where Paul Murdaugh was killed.
Just 30 feet from where Paul Murdaugh’s body was discovered, Maggie Murdaugh’s body was discovered in the grass.
John Marvin stated that he and others were at the main home the morning after the murders, but that they walked to the dog kennels to witness “what had gone on and just kind of take it in.”
He said that a law enforcement colleague had given him clearance to inspect the site.
Maggie Murdaugh’s body had been buried in the earth, and he had seen the location. “So there was really nothing to do,” he remarked.
The feed room, he said, “was not cleaned up,” and there were blood and skull and brain fragments everywhere.
He claimed he tidied up the scene in remembrance of his nephew.
A sobbing, “That felt like the correct thing to do,” was all he could manage to say. No mother, father, aunt, or uncle should ever have to see and do what I did that day, but I felt like I owed him, so I just started cleaning. “This is the most difficult experience of my life.”
He did the unimaginable and swore to track down his nephew’s murderer.
I told Paul I loved him, and I promised him I’d find out who did this,” he stated.
When questioned by defense counsel Jim Griffin if he had located the murderer, he responded, “I have not.”
When asked how his brother’s marriage to Maggie Murdaugh and the birth of their two children, Paul and Buster Murdaugh, was, he answered, “All marriages, I’m sure, have bumps here and there, but I’m telling you it was a good marriage.
Alex was always eager to join in on whatever his male peers were up to.
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What Happened to Maggie Murdaugh’s Cell Phone
Also, John Marvin testified that he recovered Maggie Murdaugh’s missing phone following her murder.
After being informed that “Maggie’s phone was not there and that law enforcement had not discovered it,” he claimed, “it came to my attention.”
According to him, “it pings Maggie’s phone immediately out front of the property” when he activates the “Find My iPhone” program on Buster Murdaugh’s device.
A shed on the property is where he reported finding the phone and where he told the police it might be retrieved.
When he asked if police at the site could help him locate the phone, they allegedly assured him, “No need,” explaining that they planned to employ special equipment to do so later that day.
John Marvin expressed bewilderment at this, claiming that the phone was “just out here.”
When asked why they hadn’t followed him to get Maggie’s phone, he stated, “It really blew me away that I’m sitting here pointing them where it is.
He then spoke with the 14th Circuit Solicitor at the time, Duffie Stone, who advised that they go grab it before the battery died.
Expert witness Tim Palmbach testified to the jury that he believed many assailants were responsible for the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh based on evidence of blood spatter.
Griffin also probed him on whether or not he suspected a double murder plot.
“The data points more toward a two-shooter scenario,” he said.
Judge Clifton Newman allowed jurors to examine the Moselle crime scene as requested by the defense side on Monday.
Alex Murdaugh’s other defense attorney, Dick Harpootlian, argued that it would be helpful for the jury to see Moselle, both the area of the kennels and the house, to obtain some grasp of the spatial relationships.
After six weeks, the trial has yet to provide any concrete results. If all goes according to plan, at least four prosecution witnesses will cross-examine defense witnesses on Tuesday afternoon, and then the prosecution will rest its case.
Potentially starting on Wednesday, closing arguments will be presented to the jury.