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Shirt worn by Alex Murdaugh the night his wife and son were “destroyed” murdered: defense

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South Carolina officials destroyed the T-shirt worn by Alex Murdaugh the night his wife and son were shot.

The legal team of the disgraced 54-year-old legal scion claimed in a 96-page filing Wednesday that contradictory claims about the shirt are at the heart of a “campaign of selective and misleading leaks to convince the public that Murdaugh is guilty before he is being tried’. .”

Prosecutors hired an unqualified expert, ex-cop Tom Bevel, “to believe that the white cotton T-shirt Mr. Murdaugh wore the night Maggie and Paul were killed is stained with high-velocity blood spatter, most likely due to the shooting of Paul,” the filing states.

But Bevel’s initial report “emphatically stated that the shirt contained no stains consistent with back spatter from a gunshot wound,” attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin wrote.

The T-shirt worn by Alex Murdaugh the night his wife and son were murdered has been “destroyed,” his lawyers said.
via REUTERS

“But for some reason, without any additional evidence, he changed his mind completely after a personal visit from the leader [South Carolina Law Enforcement Division] SLED researcher David Owen,” they wrote.

After that, Bevel suddenly “claimed that the shirt has more than 100 stains consistent with back spatter from a gunshot,” according to the filing.

Murdaugh’s lawyers requested the shirt for further testing in “an outside lab” earlier this month — only to be told 13 days later that it had been “destroyed,” the filing said.

Photos of the T-shirt showed that it was now almost completely blue, with parts cut out as well.

“SLED chose to conduct its tests in a manner that would prevent anyone else from conducting subsequent tests,” they stressed – which “may have been done in bad faith, but it could also be mere gross negligence.”

Anyway, “neither the defense nor Mr. Bevel have been able to run any tests on the shirt because the state destroyed it.”

Alex Murdaugh in court.
Murdaugh’s lawyers say the shirt is at the heart of a “campaign of selective and misleading leaks to convince the public that Murdaugh is guilty before he goes to trial.”
TNS

Murdaugh’s legal team also noted that the disgraced attorney was the one who found his wife and son murdered near a dog kennel outside one of their homes on June 7 last year.

“The murder scene was gruesome; there was a large amount of blood on and around their bodies which transferred to Mr. Murdaugh’s hands and clothing as he frantically checked them for signs of life,” they wrote of the high likelihood that he might have blood or DNA on him.

“But the state needs evidence of blood spatter because it is extremely difficult to explain how Mr. Murdaugh was able to kill Paul with multiple 12-gauge shotgun blasts at point-blank range in a small closet without at least some blood on his shirt splattered.

“After all, the blood spattered all over the cupboard door, walls and ceiling. So instead of accepting an honest exculpatory report, the state turned it into a false incriminating report,” the filing said.

SLED chief Mark Keel told The Post and Courier that his troops were “reviewing the motion and will respond at the appropriate time.”

Gates outside Murdaugh's home where Maggie and Paul were found murdered last June.
“The murder witnessed was horrific,” the indictment said of the night last June when Alex’s wife and son were found murdered in front of one of their homes.
AP

South Carolina Attorney General spokesman Robert Kittle told the outlet that prosecutors would respond in a lawsuit next week.

Murdaugh – a fourth-generation attorney from a powerful Southern legal family – has pleaded not guilty to the murders. His trial begins on January 23.

In addition to the double murders, he faces nearly 100 other charges ranging from money laundering to drug offenses to stealing from customers and trying to arrange his own death to provide his surviving son with a $10 million life insurance payout.

Focus on the case soon led to his shocking demise, with him admitting years of drug addiction and stealing from his family law firm.

On Tuesday, a banker charged with helping Murdaugh take money from clients’ legal settlements was found guilty of bank fraud and bank fraud charges in South Carolina.

Former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte was allowed to remain free on bail pending sentencing at a later date. Each of the six charges he was convicted of in federal court carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

“None of this would have happened without Alex Murdaugh,” prosecutor Emily Limehouse had said in her closing statement.

Sleigh chief Mark Keel told The Post and Courier that his force was “reviewing the motion and will respond at the appropriate time.”

South Carolina Attorney General spokesman Robert Kittle told the outlet that prosecutors would respond in a lawsuit next week.

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