WALTERBORO, SC (WSPA) – The City of Walterboro is known for its historic homes and as a great place to find antiques and Spanish moss.
Monday, there was plenty of activity in downtown Walterboro.
Media from across the state and region gathered outside the Colleton County Courthouse. Possible jurors filed into the courthouse. Dismissed jurors walked out.
Everyone was there for the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial. City officials expect hundreds of people to come to Walterboro.
Scott Grooms is the Director of Tourism and Downtown Development for the city. He said, “This is a classic small town. You walk down main street and you feel like you’re in a Hallmark movie.”
Walterboro is known as the ‘Front Porch of the Lowcountry’. A little less than 6,000 people call it home. Officials say a lot of planning has gone into preparing the city for the trial.
Grooms worked in media and has experience covering big cases in small towns. He said the city has used that experience to get ready.
A media parking lot was created. The city transformed its Wildlife Center into a media work site. Food trucks are stationed near the courthouse. One of those food trucks is owned by a local Italian restaurant.
Giuseppe and Nicole Vitale say they just got their new food truck recently. Their restaurant, Carmine’s Italian Restaurant, and Trattoria have been around for 15 years in downtown Walterboro.
“For a small town like Walterboro, this is huge,” Giuseppe said. He said the media attention for this case may be comparable to the OJ Simpson trial.
While everyone came to town because of a bad situation he’s hopeful the city will make an impression on others.
Giuseppe said he hopes people leave Walterboro thinking fondly of the nice people and maybe even the great Italian food, he said with a smile.
Grooms echoed that sentiment. “When people leave here, we want them to come back. Not for the trial but to go antiquing and have a good time,” he said.
Jury selection is expected to continue for the next few days.