WALTERBORO, S.C. (WSPA) — Most of the testimony in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial Thursday took place without a jury present.
The arguments were focused on whether Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes can be presented to the jury for this trial. State prosecutors said this evidence provides a ‘perfect storm’ in Murdaugh’s life and motive in the June 2021 murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.
Lead Prosecutor Creighton Waters said, “When the hounds are at the door. When Hannibal is at the gates for Alex Murdaugh. Violence happens.”
Murdaugh’s defense attorneys deny this and claim the evidence would be used to smear his character in front of the jury. Attorney Jim Griffin said the long list of alleged financial crimes will prolong the trial. “We’re going to be here until the end of February or March, because that’s adding two weeks to this trial.”
The prosecution called on witnesses Thursday to go over the evidence. Jeanne Seckinger, the CFO from Murdaugh’s former law firm, said she had begun uncovering some of Murdaugh’s financial misdeeds.
She testified she approached Murdaugh the morning of June 7, 2021 about missing funds. She said, “I told him I had reason to believe he had received those fees himself and I needed proof he did not.” Seckinger said Murdaugh assured her ‘the money was there and he could get it.’
Around the same time that conversation was happening, Seckinger said Murdaugh received word his father was being moved to hospice care. They stopped talking about the missing funds.
Later that night, prosecutors say Murdaugh killed his wife and son.
Thursday afternoon, Bamberg area attorney Chris Wilson took the stand. He said he worked with Murdaugh on some cases and was one of his best friends.
Wilson said after one case they worked on together wrapped up, Murdaugh asked to receive his share of his fees directly instead of his law firm.
He said he loaned Murdaugh money as well. When he never got his money back, he spoke with Murdaugh about it in September 2021.
Wilson testified Murdaugh confessed to him he had an opioid addiction and admitted to stealing money.
“I was so mad. I had loved the guy for so long, and I probably still loved him a little bit,” Wilson said while getting emotional on the stand.
The trial is set to resume Friday morning with another witness to discuss the alleged financial crimes evidence without the jury in the courtroom.