COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Judge Clifton Newman has ordered representatives of Snapchat and Google to appear as material witnesses in the murder trial for disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh, who is accused of fatally shooting his wife Margaret and youngest son Paul.
State prosecutors petitioned for the appearances, saying the companies provided evidence pertinent to the case against Murdaugh.
Snapchat provided a video Paul sent to several friends at 7:56 p.m. the evening of June 7, 2021. Autopsy reports put Paul and Margaret’s times of death just over an hour later between 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
Google provided “records indicating no devices with google location data being stored by google were present at the time of a double murder,” according to the filing.
Prosecutors argued that representative testimony is necessary to prove the records are “true and accurate.”
Judge Newman approved both petitions, saying the representatives are “necessary and material” witnesses.
He asked that if the representatives refuse to appear willingly, “the [witnesses] be taken into immediate custody and be delivered to the custody of any law enforcement officer for the State of South Carolina, who is directed by this Court to take whatever measures necessary to ensure the attendance” of the witnesses.
The trial is set to begin January 23 and is currently scheduled to last three weeks.