WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCBD) – Alex Murdaugh’s defense team is expected to file an appeal after a jury delivered a guilty verdict in the deaths of his wife and youngest son this week.
After weeks of witness testimony and hundreds of evidence exhibits were presented in a Colleton County Courtroom, disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was found guilty in the killings of Margaret and Paul Murdaugh at their family’s Colleton County property the night of June 7, 2021.
Not long after Judge Clifton Newman handed down a double life sentence for Murdaugh, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian announced to a pool of reporters that he planned to file an appeal in 10 days.
Attorney Jim Griffin said the admission of the financial crime evidence is grounds for an appeal.
“That was offered up as evidence, a motive, that because he was confronted about one financial transaction involving attorney’s fees by the chief accountant of the law firm, and that was being offered as motive for why he would go home and kill his wife and son which we thought was illogical and ludicrous,” he said.
Griffin believes there was no evidence linking the two; he also noted the door opening for a myriad of other financial crime allegations and misdeeds during the murder trial.
“We strongly objected; we respect the judge’s decision, but we believe that was an erroneous decision,” said Griffin.
The defense team also felt the judge was misled at the end of the trial when during the state’s rebuttal, prosecutors told the jury that they should forget about the motive evidence, “we don’t have to prove motive, we just have to prove malice.”
Griffin admitted the prosecutor’s statement was correct but questioned why they went through the effort to prove motive when they instead told jurors they didn’t have to believe the motive theory.
“But by then they had cast Alex as a despicable human being,” he said. “That was the reason they offered it in the first place.”
Griffin said they believed appellate courts would take a strong look at their reasoning. “We feel that is a very solid ground for an appeal and we’re going to pursue that,” he said.