A pretrial hearing in the murder of Alex Murd descended into chaos Monday as the defense accused the prosecution of tampering with evidence.
Murd’s attorney, Dick Harputlian, accused prosecutors of “hijacking” the hearing by withholding evidence.
“I don’t believe that the state follows the rules! At the moment they haven’t,” he said. “I’m sorry if I’m upset, but every time we turn around they’re trying to hide something.
Khapatlyan also previously accused the prosecutor’s office of leaking information to the press, which Deputy State Attorney General Creighton Waters strongly denied on Monday.
“I don’t play fast and loose!” Waters shouted, denying both charges against him.
Waters asked for an order to suppress evidence gathered during the 13-month murder investigation of the Murdoch family, saying that “probably cost over a million dollars” and that the case involved corruption “unprecedented” in South Carolina.
Judge Clifton Newman agreed with the gag, saying the court had a responsibility to prevent a “carnival-type atmosphere” around the case. He also ordered that the search warrants be sealed and turned over to the defense.
“In this case, we have gone from the parties seeking a gag agreement a few weeks ago to being in extreme disagreement at this time,” the judge said.
Murdoch’s trial is not expected to begin until next year.
Murdoch’s defense attorney Dick Harputlian (left) and Deputy State Attorney General Creighton Waters (right)
Alex Murdo, 54, is in court Monday for a preliminary hearing in the murder case. In July, he was charged with murdering his wife and son
Murdoch, 54, was charged in July with the murders of his wife Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son Paul, who were killed on June 7, 2021, at the family’s home. He categorically denied killing them.
If convicted of murder, Murdo faces 30 years to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors could also seek the death penalty under state law because more than one person was killed.
Drama surrounding the evidence erupted earlier this month when Murd’s defense accused prosecutors of withholding information, saying at a press conference that “this is an ambush trial.”
“Give us the stuff. I don’t have a piece of paper. I don’t have an email. I don’t have an exhibit. I don’t have any evidence, – said Harputlyan.
If convicted of murder, Murdo faces 30 years to life in prison without parole. Prosecutors could also seek the death penalty under state law because more than one person was killed
Murdoch in shackles outside the Colleton County Courthouse in South Carolina earlier this year
The defense said it is awaiting evidence so it can hire experts to examine GPS data that authorities believe links Murdo to the shooting scene, or physical evidence such as blood spatter and DNA that investigators could use to say that he fired one of two pistols. they said they were used in murders.
“We are ready to work. Ready to hire investigators, ready to hire experts, – said Harpulyan, – I only know what I read in some blog. I never saw any evidence of blood spatter.
“I’ve never seen phone downloads. I have never seen any witness statements. Thirty-two days after we made the request, we still have nothing.”
The state called the motion “a blatant attempt to create drama where there was none, saying the state has no desire to prevent the defense from any discovery and they will file it if the court gives it the green light.”
“This fabricated drama is just a well-known part of the lawyers’ playbook,” the state attorney general’s office said.
Thirteen months ago, Murdo told police he “found” the bodies of his youngest son and his wife near the doghouses on the family’s hunting property around 10 p.m.
In an audio recording of the 911 call he made at 10:07 p.m. that night, he could be heard shrillly screeching at the dispatcher: “I need the police and an ambulance immediately. My wife and child were just badly shot.”
People reported that Maggie was shot shortly after she arrived at the property, claiming she had left her car running while walking to the kennel where Paul was parked. He was taking pictures of a friend’s dog that he was watching.
Paul was shot twice with a gun – in the head and in the chest. Maggie was shot several times with a machine gun. Their gunshot wounds are believed to be consistent with “punishment” style killings.
According to multiple sources, Paul’s body was found partially inside one of the shacks, while his mother’s body was found a few feet away, leading investigators to believe she ran from her killer before she was shot.
She is believed to have suffered at least two gunshot wounds while lying on the ground.
Murdo, 54, with wife Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son Paul. In July, he was charged with their murders
Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were found dead in the family home on June 7, 2021. Maggie was killed with an assault rifle and Paul was killed with a shotgun
In the immediate aftermath of the gruesome revelations, Murd’s family and lawyers vigorously defended the man and his marriage.
According to Harputalian, Murdo had an “iron-clad alibi” and his marriage to Maggie was “full of love.” But in recent months, a completely different picture has emerged, casting doubt on both statements.
It remains unconfirmed what his possible motive was for killing his wife and son, but at the time of their deaths, Murdo – a lawyer – was drowning in debt due to a crippling opioid addiction.
Murd was charged with murder in July, a day after the South Carolina Supreme Court revoked his rights
His furious wife consulted divorce lawyers after she was left red-faced at charity dinners where her donation checks bounced.
Paul also led the family into legal trouble. In 2019, he was piloting a boat when it crashed, throwing 19-year-old Mallory Beach overboard. She died in an accident, and later it turned out that Pavel was drunk.
Months after the murders of Maggie and Paul, Murdo was ousted from his law firm amid claims that he had embezzled millions of dollars over several years.
Murd’s July murder charges came a day after the South Carolina Supreme Court finally stripped him of his rights.
“Today is another step in the long process of getting justice for Maggie and Paul,” Mark Keel, South Carolina’s chief of law enforcement, said in a statement.
Murdo, who has already been charged with insurance fraud, theft, lying to the police and numerous other crimes.
He is also accused of paying a man to shoot him last September so his surviving son Buster could collect a $10 million insurance policy.
Curtis Smith, the hitman Murdo allegedly hired, foiled the job by firing a bullet that only grazed him.