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At This Hour

Alex Murdaugh Takes The Stand In His Trial. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired February 23, 2023 - 11:30   ET




JIM GRIFFIN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Can you point out roughly where you normally -- where you parked that evening?

ALEX MURDAUGH, MURDER DEFENDANT: All right. This is the -- this is the entrance to the right that I'm talking about. There's a exit and an entrance right in front of that door that you see there. So, if you came down those steps, walk to your left, would be -- down there would be where I park.

GRIFFIN: Well, would you -- would you park on the grass?

MURDAUGH: You get on the edge of the grass back there. There's some grass there for sure but it's not -- it's not the area up here by the house where it's sited. And --


MURDAUGH: -- this grass that you can really see in this picture. So, it may be on the edge of the grass, yes.

GRIFFIN: In relation to the satellite dish, are you -- looking at this photo, are you to the right of that?

MURDAUGH: Yes, you'd be to the right of that satellite dish.



GRIFFIN: And when --

MURDAUGH: The way that satellite dishes right on the edge of the -- you know, there's a -- there's a hedge in like, you see the -- I don't know what you call it, a border. Like a border where the grass ends and flowerbed or whatever it starts.


MURDAUGH: I think -- you can't see it but I think that satellite is probably close to that border.

GRIFFIN: All right, well, let's --

MURDAUGH: So, it'd be to the --

GRIFFIN: Let's put another --

MURDAUGH: -- right of that in this picture.

GRIFFIN: Doug, we pull up the defendant's exhibit 134 to see if this is a --


GRIFFIN: So, is the door that you're talking about --

MURDAUGH: That's it.

GRIFFIN: The stairs that -- are those the ones where you would enter?

MURDAUGH: Right. These are the steps that I use that night that we always used. And one of the reasons being is my dad, this door goes into what we call the breakfast room. The breakfast room leads right into the kitchen. And so straight through this door, all the breakfast room is kind of to the left, that door goes straight through another doorway. There's no door there but it's like a just opening, it goes into the kitchen.

Immediately to your right of that entrance into the kitchen is the entrance into where my mom and dad's rooms where it's you -- if you went through that door, you were in a little area that had my mom's closet, my dad's closet. A little bit further, you'd go into my mom's bedroom. If you went to the right, you would go -- my dad and my mom didn't sleep in the same room at this point but the bedrooms were -- you know, they were back-to-back. There was a door going from one to the other it was blocked that was there. And then there was a bathroom.

So, this is really -- this is really the part of the house that at their age was getting used, so that's why you went in this entrance because my mom and whoever was caring for her was always in her bedroom, which would be just on the other side of the room that has these windows that you see to the right. Those would be the windows for the room where my dad slept.


MURDAUGH: And then my mom's right on the other side. The kitchens are right there. This is the part of the house they were always in.

GRIFFIN: And are you the only one that would pull up in the back like that?


GRIFFIN: Is it like common for your brothers and your sisters to do the same? MURDAUGH: We all did it. I mean, we all -- we all park in the -- in the same way. If you knew you were going to the front of the house or if you knew there was a crowd there or for whatever -- you may park on the driveway, but if you knew under normal circumstances, my dad always stayed in the breakfast room where he had a recliner and a TV and that's where my dad always was.

My dad never -- you would never go catch him sitting in the den upfront or in a -- in a living room. He just wasn't up there. He was in this room watching TV or either he was on his back deck. Then my mom was either in her room which was just off of that or she might be in the kitchen -- or the breakfast room.

GRIFFIN: And when you got to the house who was there? Your mother's house on the night of June 7.

MURDAUGH: My mom was there and Shelly Smith was there.

GRIFFIN: And what did you do when you got there?

MURDAUGH: The first thing I did was I tried to -- I tried to knock on the door. The door was locked. I knocked on the door. Shelly didn't hear me.

GRIFFIN: And then what do you do next?


GRIFFIN: Called what?

MURDAUGH: I called my mom's house to let Shelly know I was there. Please come let me in.

GRIFFIN: OK. And is that the house phone has been referred to you?



GRIFFIN: OK. And then she let you in?


GRIFFIN: And then what happened next?

MURDAUGH: I went in and I visited with my mom. And then -- do you want me to go into detail on that?

GRIFFIN: What? Just briefly, yes. What did you do?

MURDAUGH: I went into the house. In my mom's bedroom, my mom had a bed that was where she slept in normal times. It is like, you know, a bed with -- you know, the pole was coming out of the corner -- a poster bed that coming out of the corners. And she had a bed like that, that where she slept, but she didn't sleep there anymore but it was in the room. It was a hospital bed so when you -- when you walk into a room, her bed was to the right.

Against the wall to the left was a hospital bed, like a single bed, but a hospital bed and a TV. And then there was a recliner where whoever was helping her would usually sit. So, I went in and I sat down on my mom's hospital bed. And I just talked to her for a minute. My mom was awake. And I held her hand. And --

GRIFFIN: What kind of condition was she in?

MURDAUGH: She was -- and her condition was not good at any time. But given her overall condition, she seemed to be doing pretty well. I mean, she wasn't agitated like I thought she would be or like I was worried she would be or like Barbara had described her at that point. So, she wasn't agitated.

And, you know, I just talked to her. Anytime we talked to my mom, we always tried to be real positive, and you know, upbeat, and just -- and I just talked to her you know. I just talked to her to make sure she was OK.

GRIFFIN: Did you stay seated on the side of her hospital-style bed or did you move around?

MURDAUGH: I mean, I stayed there for a few minutes you know. I stayed there and I talked to her for more than just a few seconds.

GRIFFIN: All right.

MURDAUGH: And then -- but I didn't stay there. She was -- she did look tired so I got up and I went and I think I sat on my mom's bed for a minute to start with and then I lay down on my mom's bed, which is, you know, that's what I normally did when I went in there, when like a lot of chairs to sit in and I just lay back on the bed.

GRIFFIN: And then when you talk --

MURDAUGH: I talked to Shelly and we watch TV.

GRIFFIN: And when you're talking about your mom's bed, are you referring to her regular bed?

MURDAUGH: That's right. Not her hospital bed. Not the bed she was in but her bed when I was talking about with like post.

GRIFFIN: All right. The -- let me skip something. Was Maggie planning to go over to your mother's with you that night?

MURDAUGH: No, she wasn't planning to go with me that night.


MURDAUGH: In fact, Maggie didn't really like to visit my mom. It was -- she loved to visit my dad and she loved to spend time with my dad. And she spent a lot of time with my mom when my mom was healthy but you know -- I mean by this point, my mom, she was a shell -- she was a shell of her old self and -- GRIFFIN: OK.

MURDAUGH: I mean it was kind of -- I mean it was kind of sad to go and visit her anytime. I mean she just -- she wasn't healthy. And Maggie didn't like to go and just visit my mom.

GRIFFIN: When you -- when you left Moselle to head to Alameda the evening after you come back to the house in Moselle, what --

MURDAUGH: Can you say that again?

GRIFFIN: What exit did you use of the Moselle property when you're going to Alameda on the evening of June 7?

MURDAUGH: I went out of the main gates, which would be straight ahead. The - you've heard of two gates, there's the sharp entrance. There's actually several entrances but the main one we use, there was by the Dove Field, there was an entrance further down by Sawtooth Oaks, but the main ones we used were the shop entrance and what we call the main entrance where the brick gates were.

GRIFFIN: All right. Did you go -- why didn't you go by the kennels on your way in?


MURDAUGH: There wasn't a reason to go by the kennels at that point. And I was going to Alameda, which -- that the main gate would be the gates that were closer.

GRIFFIN: Did you notify Maggie in some form that you were leaving to go to see your mom?

MURDAUGH: I tried to call her.

GRIFFIN: And did she answer?


GRIFFIN: And what do you do after that?

MURDAUGH: I think I tried to call her again.

GRIFFIN: And did she answer?

MURDAUGH: No, she didn't answer. And at some point, I texted her after that.

GRIFFIN: Well, the fact that she didn't answer two times, does that concern you?

MURDAUGH: At that time?


MURDAUGH: It didn't concern me at all. Number one, she was with Paul so, no -- I mean -- number two. I mean, it's not unusual to not be able to give somebody all the time when they're at the house or they're on a property. I mean, you've heard all the testimony about how spotty cell service was, so no. At the time, it didn't strike me as anything unusual.

GRIFFIN: OK. Now, moving back to Alameda. You spend time with your mother and then then you'll have to head back to Moselle. Is that correct?

MURDAUGH: That's correct.

GRIFFIN: She dropped -- you straight back to Moselle?


GRIFFIN: Now, Alex, there's some information from the telemetry data of your Suburban and perhaps some of this OnStar GPS data that indicates that at some point in time in your mother's driveway, you stopped for about a minute. Do you recall seeing that data?


GRIFFIN: What were you doing when you stop?

MURDAUGH: I was getting --

GRIFFIN: Do you recall?

MURDAUGH: I was getting my phone that I had -- my phone had gotten -- there was a console in the middle of my car and my phone had gotten down in the console between the console and the seat where you couldn't get to it.

GRIFFIN: OK. Were you -- during that minute or however long it was, were you disposing of murder weapons, Alex?


GRIFFIN: Were you disposing of bloody clothes?


GRIFFIN: And you're -- you ride back to Moselle, was it -- were you driving faster than normal, normal?

MURDAUGH: I was driving however I drive. The normal way that I drive.

GRIFFIN: OK. When you got back to the Moselle property, how did you enter the property? What entrance did you use?

MURDAUGH: I came right back to the main gate.

GRIFFIN: And what did you do there?

MURDAUGH: I went straight to the house.

GRIFFIN: And when you got to the house, what do you do? MURDAUGH: I went inside.

GRIFFIN: Were lights on when you pulled up or --

MURDAUGH: The lights were on in the house for sure. I can't remember if there were floodlights on or not. I don't believe there were any floodlights on but there were definitely lights. All the auto lights in the house were on. Yes.

GRIFFIN: And when you -- how long do you stay inside the house, roughly?

MURDAUGH: Now, that I've seen the benefit of these records, I was in there several minutes.

GRIFFIN: Obviously. I mean, where are you surprised that Paul and Maggie did not make it back to the house?

MURDAUGH: You know, I don't know if surprise is the right word. But I mean, I would -- I thought they would have been back by then.

GRIFFIN: All right.

MURDAUGH: You know. But -- I mean, did it cause me to go into any -- it wasn't like I was shocked. But I mean, I thought it would be there. I mean, I distinctly remember -- you know, I went and look -- sometimes I was very hot-natured. Number one, I was hot. That was heavy. And I was taking pills so I was always hot.

Maggie was always cold. Sometimes she would watch TV. We had a TV in the hunting room. You see it on the wall there. Sometimes Maggie would be in there watching TV where she could have the thermostat different than we always get cold in the -- in the main part of the house so I know -- I know, I went in there and looked in there for her.


It's not unusual for Maggie to be taking a bath and be not able to hear me so I went back there. And I know I did those two things and looked in those two places. And they weren't there. And so, you know, I knew they had been at the kennels and I assumed they were still up there.

GRIFFIN: So, what did you do?

MURDAUGH: I went to the kennels. I may have tried to call them. In fact, I probably did try to call them. We -- I would think I called them. But as I sit here right now I'm not positive but I would think I did. I would think I tried to call them to see.

GRIFFIN: And, Alex, when you -- did you drop down to the kennels in your Suburban?


GRIFFIN: And what do you see? MURDAUGH: I saw what you all have seen pictures of. It was so bad. Can I have some water? Yes, I went to --

GRIFFIN: Did you see them on the ground when you were pulling up in your Suburban?


GRIFFIN: And what do you do when you came to a stop, Alex?

MURDAUGH: I think I jumped out of my car. I'm exactly sure what I did. But I know I got out of my car. I know ran back to my car and called 911. I was -- I called 911. I was on the phone with 911 and I was trying to tend to Paupaul. I was trying to tend to Maggie. I just went back and forth between them.

GRIFFIN: Were you go into Paul and Maggie while you were on the phone with the 911 operators?




GRIFFIN: And in a -- in a little bit, I'm going to play the 911 tape and I just want to ask you -- and you've told law enforcement has been played here in the court. Did you -- what did you do when you went up to Paul at some point in time?

MURDAUGH: Paul was so -- he was so bad at some point. I mean, I know I tried to check him for a pulse. I know I tried to turn him over.

GRIFFIN: When you say you tried to turn him over, what -- why were you trying to turn him over?

MURDAUGH: I don't know. I don't know. I don't know why I try to turn him over. I mean my boy is laying face down and he's -- I've done the ways done.


The head was in the ways -- it was -- I could see his -- I could see his brain laying on the sidewalk. I didn't know what to do. I mean that's just -- just trying to turn him over. I grabbed him by the belt loop to try to turn him over. And when I did, his phone pop out. It was -- I mean his phone popped out. And I just pick it up and I'll put it right back there.

GRIFFIN: Do you have any idea how it popped up?

MURDAUGH: I mean, I know it came out of his pocket when I pulled on his belt loop when I -- when I put him to turn him over and it just popped out. And I mean it popped right beside him. It sat right beside him.

GRIFFIN: Were you at -- were you able to turn Paul at all?

MURDAUGH: I mean I did it. I don't know if I was able to. I did it -- I turn him over now. You know.

GRIFFIN: What side of the -- what side of Paul were you when you were doing this?

MURDAUGH: I was on -- I was on the side that was away from -- I was on the side it was away from where my car was.

GRIFFIN: OK. What do you do with the phone?

MURDAUGH: I put it back on top of him.

GRIFFIN: You know if you could -- do you know which way was pouring upside down downside and anyway?

MURDAUGH: I couldn't tell you anything about it. I know his phone popped out, I picked it up and I'll put it back on him.

GRIFFIN: Did you see any messages on Paul's phone?


GRIFFIN: Did you go to Maggie?


GRIFFIN: Did you touch her?


GRIFFIN: Where did you touch Maggie?

MURDAUGH: I think I touched her down. It was around like -- I don't know -- I don't know. If you -- if you ask me exactly, I think I touched her down around her waist but I don't know. You know it was so bad. I know I went back and forth -- I mean I went back and forth between them. I know. I know I do.

GRIFFIN: I'd like to play, Doug, the Colleton County portion of the 911 call that -- which is in evidence as defendant's exhibit number nine and this is the long version of the first clip and stop it when I say stop it, please.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 2021, 22 hours, seven minutes nine seconds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm still here, OK?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Colleton County communication.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have an Alex Murdock on a line call us from 4147 Moselle Road (INAUDIBLE) that his wife and son were shot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. and, sir, give me the address again.

MURDAUGH: We're at 4147 Moselle Road. I've been up to it now. It's bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. How do they shoot them?

GRIFFIN: Alex, when you -- when you say I've been up to it now and it's bad, what are you referring to?

MURDAUGH: I'm talking about what I saw was what y'all saw pictures of. I mean it was bad. It was terrible. And when I first got there, I know I got out of the car. And I know I got out of the car -- I mean I knew.


I got out of the car but right at first, I don't -- I don't -- I didn't go -- I don't think I went all the way to them. I think I ran back in and that's when I called 911. And so, I call 911. And while I was doing that, then is when I went to Maggie, and I went to Paul. And so, that's what I think I'm talking about.

GRIFFIN: OK. Doug, Keep going, please.

MURDAUGH: Oh, no. can you do it now fast?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. How do they shoot? Did they shoot themselves?

MURDAUGH: Oh, no. hell, no.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And are they breathing?

MURDAUGH: No, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And you said it's your wife and your son?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you in a vehicle?

MURDAUGH: No, ma'am. They're on the ground out of my kennels.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And did you see anyone?

MURDAUGH: My son was shot in the head and he was shot really bad.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Where is he -- where is he shot at?

MURDAUGH: Ma'am, I don't know but it has blood everywhere. (INAUDIBLE) my son is down a little bit. (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. Is he breathing at all?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. do you see anything -- do you see anyone in the area? MURDAUGH: No, ma'am.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is there any guns near them at all?

MURDAUGH: No. I just came here.


MURDAUGH: Is that what you're asking? Why did they shoot themselves, ma'am?

GRIFFIN: Alex, right in there, you say the word here. What -- are you calling anybody or anything?

MURDAUGH: No, I'm talking to that dispatcher.

GRIFFIN: And what did you mean when you said here?

MURDAUGH: If you listen to that call, one of the first things she asked me -- one of the first things she asked me was did they shoot themselves. And I knew -- I knew, there's no way. I knew -- I knew they didn't shoot themselves. That -- there wasn't a gun. It didn't shoot themselves.

And she'd asked me that. And then she asked me another question something about that. And you hear me say here, and then you hear things talking, I'm telling her here. And then I say something. And then you hear me say if that's what you're asking, and I'm letting her know they didn't shoot themselves.

I'm saying here, and then I give her an explanation which you can't hear on that phone, but it's obvious to me what I'm doing. And I say if that's what you're asking me.

So, like David Owen asked me on August 11, did I call a dog or was I talking to somebody? There was no dog that was out and there was nobody there.

GRIFFIN: Well, let's talk about that briefly. Well, when you got there and you saw Maggie and Paul, what -- where were the dogs?

MURDAUGH: The dogs were in the kennels. They were -- yes, the dogs were in the kennels. They were wherever -- they were when law enforcement got there.

GRIFFIN: And you've seen pictures and they call Dale Davis to stand and talking about the hose rolled up a bit. Did you roll the hose up?


GRIFFIN: Did you -- did you do anything down there at the kennels when you got there other than call 911 and attend to Maggie and Paul?

MURDAUGH: No. I do know that I was trying to find a flashlight. I was trying to find a gun. Other than those things, no, I didn't do -- I didn't do anything at the kennel. I didn't do anything with any hose. I didn't do anything with any dogs.

GRIFFIN: Was there anybody with you?


Griffin: All right, keep going, please.

MURDAUGH: All right, watch. You just can't see it from the road.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. is it a house or a mobile home?

MURDAUGH: It's a house.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. And what is your name?

MURDAUGH: My name is Alex Murdaugh.