Alex Murdaugh finally took the stand during the fifth week of his double murder trial.
The disgraced South Carolina attorney is accused of killing wife Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul, at kennels near their home on June 7, 2021.
Murdaugh, 54, has denied any role in the fatal shootings. If convicted, he faces 30 years to life imprisonment.
He is also awaiting trial on dozens of other charges, including allegations that he stole millions from clients.
Murdaugh admits he lied.
Immediately after Murdaugh took the stand at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, he was asked by his defense team whether he killed his wife or son.
“I did not kill Maggie, and I did not kill Paul,” he said. “I would never hurt Maggie, and I would never hurt Paul— ever—under any circumstances.”
But he admitted that he lied when he told police that he wasn’t at the kennels before he found the bodies of his wife and son there.
A video from his son’s phone recorded his voice shortly before when prosecutors believe the killings happened. Murdaugh cited paranoia stemming from his opioid addiction for lying, and said that after speaking with his wife and son at the kennels, he had returned to the house to lie down.
“I would never intentionally do anything to hurt either one of them,” he said.
After the killings
Murdaugh testified that he had called his brothers and one of his son’s friends after the killings because he wanted somebody to be with him at the scene.
His phone records show he also opened a group text message and did an online search for Whaley’s restaurant.
“Obviously, they’re unintentional,” he said. “I’m doing something with my phone trying to call people, but I’m not trying to call those people. I’m not doing a Google search for any Whaley’s restaurant and I’m certainly not reading any texts.”
Murdaugh admits to taking millions
During cross-examination, Murdaugh admitted that he stole from clients and his law firm. He said his addiction had drained his bank accounts and that he was desperate.
“I took money that wasn’t mine,” he said, according to The Associated Press. “And I shouldn’t have done it. I hate the fact that I did it. I am embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed for my son. I am embarrassed for my family.”
Buster Murdaugh’s testimony
Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster, defended his father during his testimony, saying that he was “broken” after his wife and other son were killed.
He said his father had called, asked if he was sitting down and then told him that his mother and brother had been killed.
“He sounded odd, and then he told me that my mom and my brother had been shot,” he said.
“He was heartbroken. I walked in the door and saw him, gave him a hug. He was destroyed.”