Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer who is on trial for the deaths of his wife and younger son, was “destroyed” and “heartbroken” after discovering their bodies, surviving son Buster Murdaugh testified on Tuesday, according to the New York Times.
Buster Murdaugh said that his father sounded “normal” when he spoke with him on June 7, 2021, the night of the murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and younger son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, per the report. Prosecutors allege the conversation took place 20 minutes after the killings. Murdaugh’s attorneys claim that Murdaugh had not yet found their bodies at the family’s hunting estate.
Buster Murdaugh, 26, said that his father called him that night to tell him that he was on the way to his grandmother’s house to check on her, according to The Times, but prosecutors allege it was an attempt to create an alibi and that his mother and brother were already dead by the time his father called.
Last month, prosecutors presented video footage they say compromises the former attorney’s alibi that the elder Murdaugh wasn’t at the scene of the killings. The footage was retrieved from Paul’s phone and allegedly appeared to record three different voices, including Alex Murdaugh’s, in the background. Prosecutors suggested that Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were murdered four minutes later, per the report.
When his father called him for a second time that night to tell him about the killings, Buster Murdaugh told jurors that he “just sat there for a minute” and was in “shock,” per the report. He also testified that his father rarely left his sight and expressed safety concerns after the murders; he also said that they offered $100,000 for information on the killings in a joint statement.
Alex Murdaugh, 52 — who has been embroiled in layer upon layer of scandal and criminal accusations — has pleaded not guilty to the murders of his wife and son. He is being held in jail on a $7 million bond. He is the scion of a long legal dynasty from South Carolina’s small Hampton County, in the state’s southern Lowlands. Murdaugh worked at his family’s law firm — Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (P.M.P.E.D.) — until he was ousted in September 2021 amid accusations that he’d misappropriated funds.