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At This Hour
Alex Murdaugh Testifies in Murder Trial. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired February 23, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALEX MURDAUGH, MURDER DEFENDANT: You could not be around him and not have a good time.
JIM GRIFFIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Were you close to Paul?
MURDAUGH: You could not be any closer than Pawpaw and I and Buster and I were in all (ph). He was wonderful.
GRIFFIN: And one of the things that you enjoyed doing together was just riding the property?
MURDAUGH: I loved doing anything with Pawpaw. It was an absolute delight.
But yes, one of the things -- I mean, Paw's passion -- I mean Paw was passionate about a lot of thing but that property was really a passion of his. He loved to work the fields, the food plots and he loved to hunt.
He would work on the roads. I mean, he would work on all of it. I mean, he would work on the structures and he worked on the whole property. It was his passion.
GRIFFIN: So on the evening of the 7th -- and the jury has been inundated with data from various different sources.
GRIFFIN: But just ball park, can you, I mean, knowing, you know, what we know now after reviewing everything but roughly when you remember Paul getting there and starting around the property?
MURDAUGH: Now that I have had the benefit of seeing all of these records, Pawpaw got home, I believe a little before 7 o'clock and I got home a little bit before him. I think the details had been that I got home around 6:42 or 6:45 or something like that. And Paul got there, you know, very quickly thereafter, by 7 o'clock.
GRIFFIN: So you rode the property for a while.
Do you remember when Maggie arrived?
MURDAUGH: Yes. It was later than that. It was 8 or after 8:00. I think that it was after 8:00 in looking at the records, a little bit after 8:00.
GRIFFIN: And do you remember her arriving or where you were when she arrived?
MURDAUGH: I believe that I was at the shop when she came through, which would not be unusual for her having been away. If Blanca had gotten the mail, maybe not but if somebody had not gotten the mail, it would be perfectly normal for her to pull through there.
And I believe she did pull through there that day. And Paul and I were at the shop, I believe.
GRIFFIN: And then what did you do after Maggie arrived?
MURDAUGH: Maggie went to the house and I know that. But shortly after, however I learned that Maggie got home, I went to the house when Maggie went home and I left Paul at the shop.
GRIFFIN: So what did you do when you got to the house?
MURDAUGH: I saw Mags, talked to Mags and I took a shower.
GRIFFIN: The clothes that we saw in the Snapchat video was -- was that the clothes that you had on at work that day?
MURDAUGH: Yes, those are the clothes that I had on at work that day.
GRIFFIN: And the jury's seen you in those clothes and what's -- on June 7th, how tall were you and how much did you weigh?
MURDAUGH: On June 7th, well, I'm a hair over 6'4," right at 6'4". And on June 7th, I was about 265 pounds, 264-265.
GRIFFIN: And this was in June, June 7th.
MURDAUGH: Yes, sir.
GRIFFIN: When you are outside, riding around and doing some, do you get hot and sweaty?
MURDAUGH: Absolutely. I mean, Paul and I had done some things. We had unloaded a bulldozer, cleaned the bulldozer and we fooled around. Yes, I had sweated. I was heavy. And taking prescription pills also makes you sweat worse -- or at least taking oxycodone makes you sweat more than you normally do.
GRIFFIN: So was it unusual for you to take a shower when you got back to the house?
MURDAUGH: Not at all.
GRIFFIN: And that -- when you -- after you took a shower, what did you change into?
MURDAUGH: I changed into the clothes that you have seen in this trial, shorts and the shirt. GRIFFIN: OK.
GRIFFIN: When you got out of the shower and changed clothes, what did you do next?
MURDAUGH: I went back out where Mags and Pawpaw were and --
MURDAUGH: -- dinner.
GRIFFIN: What was going on?
MURDAUGH: Mags had -- as you have heard, Blanca had prepared dinner but it had been cooked earlier. And Mags had fixed -- I know Mags had fixed mine and her plate and because I did not fix a plate. She may have fixed Pawpaw -- Pawpaw was eating and Pawpaw was almost done eating by the time I got back out, which also wasn't unusual.
I mean, Pawpaw was always on the go. I mean, he never sat still. And you know, he would sit down to eat but then he is going on to his next item. So then Maggie and I ate.
GRIFFIN: Did y'all eat at the table, you eat in the den, what was your normal habit?
MURDAUGH: We would do both. But I mean, when we ate at the table, it was really sort of more formal or not formal but just more of a organized thing. Our normal -- what we would normally do on a regular evening is that we would eat in the den in front of the TV. And that is where we ate that day.
I ate on the couch and the table, Maggie had a little TV tray that she kept over there. And Pawpaw would usually sit in the recliner and eat off of the ottoman.
GRIFFIN: Was the TV on?
GRIFFIN: Was that normal, for the TV to be on?
MURDAUGH: Yes, that TV -- if we were in the house, the TV was on.
GRIFFIN: So what happened next, Alex?
MURDAUGH: Pawpaw moved on, doing whatever he was doing.
I don't know if he was in the gun room doing something or he was in his room doing something, he was outside doing something. I actually thought he had gone to the shed but in looking at -- the shop -- but in looking at -- the benefit of having these records that we have, I know he was still at the house or somewhere around the house doing something. But he was not in there with Maggie and I. But Maggie wanted to go to
the kennels. And I had eaten dinner. I laid back on the couch where I was sitting and Maggie wanted to go to the kennels and she asked me to go. And I didn't go at that time. I didn't want to go.
GRIFFIN: Why didn't you want to go?
MURDAUGH: It was hot. I had just had a shower. I knew that I would end up doing more work, sweating more. And the dogs is always a chaotic scene. And I just didn't want to go right then.
GRIFFIN: Well, let me ask you, what had you done the previous days, like Friday and Saturday and Sunday?
MURDAUGH: Start with Friday or go backwards?
GRIFFIN: Yes, start with Friday.
MURDAUGH: All right.
GRIFFIN: Just briefly.
MURDAUGH: So 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th. So June the 4th, my dad was in the hospital in Savannah, Georgia, at Memorial Hospital. And I went down to visit him Friday afternoon. And I stayed with him in the hospital. I spent the night there, you know. He was real sick. I mean, he was having a hard time.
GRIFFIN: Did you get much sleep Friday night?
MURDAUGH: No. I mean, I had a -- a real sweet nurse found me -- at first there was just a hard chair in there like this but the nurse found me a soft chair, sort of like a recliner. So I mean I -- I am sure I slept but I did not sleep -- I didn't get a night's sleep, no, sir.
GRIFFIN: Then Saturday and Sunday?
MURDAUGH: On Saturday, we had plans with Buster and Brooklynn -- y'all have heard about Brooklynn, who is Buster's wonderful little girlfriend. And Mags and I had plans with them, to meet them in Columbia to go to the South Carolina -- it was a regional baseball tournament and South Carolina was playing Virginia, I believe.
So when I got back from Savannah and met up with Mags, at some point, we headed to Columbia. So it was not a lot going on in between there. We headed up to Columbia and met Bus and Brooklynn.
GRIFFIN: And then did you stay in Columbia Saturday night?
MURDAUGH: We did. We went to the ball game and I remember it was an evening game. We went pretty early and tailgated.
[11:10:00] MURDAUGH: Maggie had reconnected with a college friend, who, coincidentally, had married a college friend of mine. And they had a son that played for Carolina. He was a first baseman, a really good little player.
And we met them and tailgated with them and it was a lot of fun. They had a lot of parents of the players that were playing for Carolina. And it was just, it was, it was a fun time. We tailgated and then we went -- and it was a night game.
So we went to the game and the game got over, you know, it was fairly late into the evening. And after that, Bus and Brooklynn and Mags and I, I believe we went to a restaurant in the hotel where we were staying. But we went and had dinner and then Bus and Brooklynn went home and, of course, Maggie and I went to our room.
GRIFFIN: And then you get up the next day and another game?
MURDAUGH: Another game the next day, that is right. And ...
GRIFFIN: And then you -- after that you, headed back to Moselle with Maggie?
MURDAUGH: Yes, we went to the game. That's right. Mags and I go back to --
MURDAUGH: -- to Moselle.
GRIFFIN: And the jury has heard about I think Ms. Rast, talking about you bringing Krispy Kreme doughnuts to your dad?
MURDAUGH: Maggie loved to -- she spoiled my dad and always taking him something. My dad loved sweets. And she and I picked up doughnuts and took Krispy Kreme doughnuts to him.
GRIFFIN: And then, y'all both spent the night together at Moselle on Sunday night?
(OFF MIKE COMMENTS)
GRIFFIN: Did you both spend the night at Moselle on Sunday night?
GRIFFIN: And then the 7th was a workday?
(OFF MIKE COMMENTS)
MURDAUGH: Yes, that is right. Monday, June 7th.
GRIFFIN: Hang on, I'll rephrase it.
MURDAUGH: Oh, I'm sorry.
GRIFFIN: Was Monday the 7th a workday for you?
GRIFFIN: OK. And I just wanted to get the background and so moving forward to when you testified previously about Maggie asking you to go to the kennels, were you tired?
MURDAUGH: Oh, yes, I was tired.
GRIFFIN: And you had just had a shower?
MURDAUGH: Just had a shower.
GRIFFIN: And you said that, well, did you go with Maggie to the kennels immediately?
MURDAUGH: No. No, I did not.
GRIFFIN: What did you do -- or did she leave?
MURDAUGH: Yes, she did. She left and Pawpaw was gone.
GRIFFIN: Do you know how she got to the kennels?
MURDAUGH: At the time I didn't but now, looking at these condensed records and understanding the timeline, it is clear to me that she rode with Pawpaw.
And did you stay in the house?
GRIFFIN: For how long?
MURDAUGH: Not long. I laid back on the couch and, put my feet up and, like many times when Maggie asked me to do something that I did not want to do or didn't start out doing, I changed my mind and decided, I am going to ride up there. And I did.
GRIFFIN: And how did you get to the kennels?
MURDAUGH: I went on the golf cart.
GRIFFIN: Was the golf cart at the house, the main house?
MURDAUGH: Yes. It was -- and it was there most of the time.
GRIFFIN: And when you got down to the kennels, what was happening?
MURDAUGH: It was just what I thought it was. It was a little bit of chaos. I mean, it was clear to me that Mags had just let the dogs out. The two dogs that were out were really her pet dogs. One is Grady -- you have heard about a black Lab and that is Grady. That is Buster's dog. And the other is the yellow Lab and that you have heard about. That is
Bubba. Bubba was mine and Maggie's dog but it was really mine, Maggie's Bus and Pawpaw's dog. It's a family dog. But Bubba's the dog I hunted.
I mean, Maggie loved Bubba. She loved Grady, too, but I mean she had a special place for Bubba.
But anyway, when the dogs first were let out, the first thing they would do is they would run. You -- if you look at that overhead picture that you've seen, there were planted pines right behind the kennels.
So you got the kennels and the chicken coop sort of form a L shape. In that L was the planted pines.
MURDAUGH: First thing the dogs would do is to go out in that kennel and, you know, Bubba -- and Grady I think learned this from Bubba -- Grady would do it, too, but Bubba had to mark every tree. I mean, he would go and he'd do a little number on this tree and that tree.
You know how dogs do it. And this marking his territory. And so that was the first thing those dogs did when they came out. And when I got there, those dogs were in that area. So that is why I believe that it had not been long before they had been let out. Grady was chasing guineas, which was a normal thing to do.
What are guineas?
A guinea fowl is like a chicken. It is a domestic bird that, you know, we had them. They make a lot of racket. It is like --- I know this sounds silly but it is like a guard bird, because anytime, you know, they just make a lot of racket anytime anything unusual is going on.
And if anything disturbs them -- it could be a person or somebody driving up, whatever, they are going to make a lot of racket. So Grady is chasing the guineas. You know, Paul is fooling with Rogan's dog, Cash. Maggie is just kind of standing there, watching the dogs, which is normal. And they were in that place.
As the dogs are out longer, they branch out more. But at that point in time, they were right there. So that told me they hadn't been out a long time. Bubba catches a chicken. I am talking to Maggie for just a short time before Bubba catches the chicken.
I take the chicken, I put it -- when Bubba -- Bubba didn't chase -- these dogs didn't chase the chickens to kill them. And they did not normally kill them. They did kill them sometimes but it was about the chase with those dogs. And they were proud when they caught one. And you could just tell by the way Bubba would prance to you when he brought the chicken to you. He was proud that he had caught it but he was not trying to kill it.
And so most times, the chicken wasn't dead and that chicken was not dead. But a lot of times they would be stunned and they would be just real lethargic.
So you had to take the chicken and you had to put it up somewhere, where, you know, the chicken could be by itself for a minute and it would eventually, usually, you know, come back to normal and go on about its, you know, whatever a chicken does.
GRIFFIN: Did you get the chicken out of Bubba's mouth?
MURDAUGH: I did. I took the chicken from Bubba and I put it on top of that --
GRIFFIN: Now we have seen this video of Paul with Cash, Rogan's dog.
Did you know -- did you know that was going on?
What do you remember about that, about ... ?
MURDAUGH: Yes, I knew Paul was -- I knew Paul was fooling with -- when I pulled up on the golf cart, Maggie was standing back sort of where the driveway would be. It sort of runs out at the feed room. The storage room is what we call it. It has been called the feed room.
But it sort of ran out; Maggie was a little bit further up where she could see back in that angle, where the dogs were. Paul was fooling with Rogan's dog back toward the kennel.
If I remember, when I first got there, Paul was more in the driveway. But then I knew Paul was in the kennel fooling with Cash, yes.
But did I know what he was doing?
I didn't know exactly what he was doing.
GRIFFIN: Did a dog -- you --
MURDAUGH: I knew he was fooling with his -- I knew he was fooling with his tail.
GRIFFIN: Was Cash in the kennel when you pulled up, do you think?
MURDAUGH: Not when I first got there.
Did Bubba or Grady have any collars on?
GRIFFIN: Both dogs, one dog, do you remember?
MURDAUGH: I don't know about Grady but I know Bubba had on his, what we call a tracking collar. Paul, for his hunting dogs, Paul had a system, a series of tracking collars. And I think there were five; it might have been six. But it is a tracking collar that had a device that would tell you where that collar was.
So that -- because Bubba was bad about, you know, he would stay close for a minute but then he would take off and he'd especially do that on Maggie. He would take off and run. And so he had on the tracking collar, that, if he did that, you could, you know.
MURDAUGH: You could know, OK, he's, you know, a half a mile down here. It is not going to follow him but so far. But it would follow a good long distance so you could go get the dog if he ran off, which Bubba frequently would do, especially when it was just Mags and Bubba. And so Paul probably would have been the one to put that on Bubba.
GRIFFIN: So you have got us where you have gotten the chicken out of Bubba's mouth and put it up on a doghouse or something?
MURDAUGH: I believe what I put it on -- and I don't remember this but I have seen pictures in all of this and I saw the chicken sitting on top of the -- what looks to me like a portable dog crate -- whatever, wherever it is sitting on there is where I would have put it up there.
No reason to believe anybody else moved that chicken and it ultimately, that chicken did die.
GRIFFIN: And what did you do after you got the chicken out of Bubba's mouth?
MURDAUGH: I got out of there. I left. I went back to the house.
GRIFFIN: All right. Well, before we do that, we've seen the dog kennel video with Cash and Mr. Davis. And we slowed it down for him.
Did you see the water hose in that video on the ground?
Do you remember seeing that?
MURDAUGH: Yes, I do.
GRIFFIN: Was the water hose out?
MURDAUGH: Obviously, in the video. But I don't specifically remember that. But I can look in that video and see it.
MURDAUGH: But that is not something that I noticed.
GRIFFIN: So but you've seen it in the video here?
MURDAUGH: Yes, sir.
And then the two dogs were out?
MURDAUGH: Absolutely, Bubba and Grady.
And then you -- how did you get back to the house?
MURDAUGH: The same route I had come on. I came down the driveway and made a left on -- you saw my route in the car and I drove that same route.
GRIFFIN: My question was -- obviously wasn't clear enough.
Were you in a vehicle, you walk?
What mode of transportation did you use to get back to the house?
MURDAUGH: Same way I came, I went back in the golf cart. It was the golf cart, if you remember, that Mark Ball (ph) testified that he saw. Where we normally would park it, you pull up and pull along the front entrance.
And either you'd come in from the left and you'd go just past it and it would be on the right and you'd come in from the right and you would be just past it on the left. And that is where I got in it and that is where I put it back.
GRIFFIN: Did you do anything else before leaving after you took the chicken out of Bubba's mouth?
GRIFFIN: We have heard about Bubba being stubborn.
How long did it take you to get the chicken out of Bubba's mouth?
MURDAUGH: Well, Bubba could be stubborn but Bubba would listen to me. And another thing, when Bubba had on that collar, one of the other features of that collar was --
GRIFFIN: Did Bubba have on the collar or was it Grady?
MURDAUGH: Bubba had on the collar.
GRIFFIN: Bubba had the collar?
MURDAUGH: I know Bubba had a collar on. And I am not sure about Grady.
GRIFFIN: OK. Go ahead.
MURDAUGH: If I misspoke on that, there is no question about it, Bubba had on the collar. I assume that Grady did, too. But I didn't -- I didn't -- when I saw Grady, I did not notice for a fact that Grady had on a collar.
MURDAUGH: But he probably did. It would make since to me that he did.
GRIFFIN: How long did it take the chicken out of Bubba's mouth?
MURDAUGH: It didn't take -- it didn't take long.
Number one, Bubba is coming there to show me, hey, I caught this chicken. So he's not running from me. He's proud of that fact that he caught this chicken. So I mean, he comes right up to me.
Bubba was really strong. But you just take your thumb, when the dog's clenched, and his mouth is a little bit open, all you do is you take your thumb and you push his gum in really tight against those sharp teeth and his mouth open's right up.
Took the chicken out, put it on, I believe the portable dog kennel.
GRIFFIN: And then left.
MURDAUGH: And then I left.
GRIFFIN: And then leave.
And did you go back to the house?
MURDAUGH: I went straight back to the House, to the air conditioner.
GRIFFIN: And what did you do when you got back to the house?
MURDAUGH: I laid down on the couch.
GRIFFIN: And then what?
Well, I mean, was the TV on when you went back?
MURDAUGH: Yes, I mean, the TV never got cut off.
GRIFFIN: So you went back to the house, you laid down on the couch and then what happened next?
MURDAUGH: I am not positive. I dozed off for a minute -- or didn't doze off for a minute -- but I got up off of the couch and I was -- I made up my mind I was going to visit my mom.
GRIFFIN: Had you spoken to Barbara Mixson earlier in the day?
MURDAUGH: I did. I talk to Barbara most days. If I did not see her, I talked to her.
GRIFFIN: And what was your understanding of your mother's condition on -- late on the afternoon of the 7th?
MURDAUGH: She was agitated, which she got agitated when my dad -- I mean, we were putting my dad in the hospital. And he had a lot -- over the 18 months, two years, I mean, my dad was in the hospital. He was in the hospital a lot.
And my mom, I believe my mom knew when my dad was not there, because, I mean, she would get agitated. I mean, that's just the only term you can think of. She would get agitated. She'd cry a lot. She'd be fussy when she normally wouldn't be fussy.
I mean, she was -- I know Alzheimer's patients are unpredictable. But I am convinced she knew, because it happened frequently. And Barbara Ann told me, your mom is agitated. You need to check on her. I gave her medicine. She is resting. So it was not anything urgent. But she is resting.
So what Barbara would do -- and Barbara could handle her. Barbara could handle her better than -- I mean, my mama -- we all love Barbara. My mama loved Barbara. My mama could get -- I mean, Barbara could get my mom to do things that nobody else -- when she would fuss for anybody else, including me or my brothers or my sisters, Barbara could get her, you know, in order.
And -- but Barbara had given her medicine and -- to settle her down and calm her down. And that would sometimes make her go to sleep for a little while. But then she'd be agitated when she woke up.
GRIFFIN: The -- so did you go check on your mom?
MURDAUGH: I did.
GRIFFIN: Did -- where did you park when you got there?
MURDAUGH: In the -- you saw the pictures. There's two exits off of that deck, one of them to the right and one of them straight out that back door. I would have parked to the left. If you are coming down these steps, if these are the steps, it would be to the left and back over there.
GRIFFIN: All right.
MURDAUGH: Which is where I always parked or where we always parked anytime you were going in that entrance.
GRIFFIN: All right. I want to stop there and ask.
Doug, if you don't mind pulling up state's exhibit 524, which is the GM Onstar (ph) data and slide 538, which is in evidence.
Can you see this slide with those dots, Alex?
MURDAUGH: Yes, sir. I can. I can.
GRIFFIN: And the red dots here at the -- that seem to be joined, where is that in relation to your parents' house?
MURDAUGH: Where the arrow is?
GRIFFIN: Yes, sir. MURDAUGH: All right. That is back in the area where I am talking
about. All right. So if you are look in this picture, all right. You see -- you see the open area where the green grass, that's the front door. OK. Yes, right where that circle is, that is the front door.
If you look closely at the house, you can see a big dormer right in the middle of the roof. That is right over the front door. The white thing to the left of the house, that's like a parking pad, where the driveway ends. And there's a parking pad. So you go -- if you follow the driveway all the way to the house, you're going to run straight into a carport, all right, by the carport door.
Just to the left, before you get to the carport, is this area that you can see here. That is part driveway, mainly parking pad.
GRIFFIN: All right, I'm going to --
If you will pull up defendant's exhibit 130, which is in evidence, please, sir?
And from this photo, can you point out roughly where you normally -- where you parked that evening?
MURDAUGH: All right.