By JEFFREY COLLINS
A crime scene expert testified about where the shots were fired at the wife and son of Alex Murdaugh and in what order during Thursday’s testimony at the disgraced South Carolina attorney’s double murder trial.
Kenny Kinsey also told jurors that a mark on 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh’s thigh appeared to be a a tread from a golf cart tire that she fell on after she was shot near dog kennels on the family’s property. Defense lawyers had asked several witnesses about the blemish and whether it could be a mark from a shoe.
Murdaugh, 54, has been standing trial for the past month in the shooting deaths of Maggie Murdaugh and their 22-year-old son Paul Murdaugh. Their bodies were found June 7, 2021, at their Colleton County home. Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murder.
In all, Kinsey’s testimony matched evidence presented by several other witnesses about the brutality of that night.
Maggie Murdaugh was shot four or five times with an automatic rifle just outside the kennels, while her son was shot twice with a shotgun inside a long closet where dog food and other supplies were kept.
Much of the focus of the questioning was on the wounds to Paul Murdaugh, especially the second fatal wound that traveled at a steeper, upward angle from just above his waist and through his head.
Defense attorney Dick Harpootlian got a ruler, a protector and easel to draw the position of the shot and then moved on to a personal demonstration with a shotgun that wasn’t the weapon used in the killings.
His point was to show jurors the shooter would have either been squatting or holding the shotgun with its powerful kickback at an odd angle.
Or, “the shooter was a very short person?” asked Harpootlian, who represents the 6-foot-4 (1.93-meter) Murdaugh.
Prosecutors also tried to bring two-dimensional sketches to life as Kinsey testified about the wounds to Maggie Murdaugh.
Kinsey said the first two shots hit her as she was standing or running, but she appeared to be on her hands and knees when the third, fatal shot was fired that went through her chest and into her head.
Lead prosecutor Creighton Waters illustrated this by getting on the courtroom floor as Kinsey used a wooden rod to show the direction of the shots.
Prosecutors have said they will be ending their case soon, but Judge Clifton Newman has ruled they can present evidence about Alex Murdaugh being shot on the side of a lonely road near his home in September 2021.
Murdaugh originally said he was shot changing a flat tire, but later said he had asked a friend to kill him so his surviving son could get a $10 million life insurance policy. The gunman’s shot only grazed his head.
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