The double murder case of the once powerful and wealthy S. Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who was being tried for the murder of his wife and young adult son, was in the hands of 12 jurors.

It didn’t take long for the 11 original jurors and one alternate who replaced a juror that was recently removed from the case, to make their decision.

lex Murdaugh cries while listening to testimony in his double murder trial in Walterboro, S.C. (Jeff Blake / Pool Photo)
© Provided by San Diego Union Tribune

After a six-week brutal trial that involved over 800 photos and 75 witnesses, the jury, who took less than 3 hours to deliberate, has found Alex Murdaugh “guilty” of all counts related to the murder of his 52-yr-old wife Maggie and his 22-Yr-old son Paul.

The now-deceased Paul and Maggie Murdaugh are pictured in the center.

Judge Newman, who presided over the case, has deferred the sentencing to tomorrow at 9:30 am. Murdaugh will serve a minimum sentence of 30 years.

Fox News reports- The panel’s decision will determine whether Murdaugh, 54, is sent to prison possibly for the rest of his life.

Alex Murdaugh called 911 on the evening of June 7, 2021, and said he’d found his son and wife dead when he returned home from a one-hour visit with his mother, who has dementia.

Authorities said Paul Murdaugh, 22, had been shot twice with a shotgun, each round loaded with different sizes of shot, while Maggie Murdaugh, 52, had been struck with four or five bullets from a rifle. A crime scene report suggested both victims were shot in the head after initially being wounded near the dog kennels on the Murdaughs’ sprawling rural property.

Prosecutors took over a year to charge the disgraced lawyer with murder and decided not to pursue the death penalty. Alex Murdaugh, who is also charged with about 100 counts of financial and other crimes, has adamantly denied any involvement in the killings. If convicted, he faces 30 years to life in prison.

Prosecutors have argued that he slaughtered Paul and Maggie on June 7, 2021, near the dog kennels on the family’s hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, in a desperate act of self-preservation.

The Colleton County trial has now stretched into its sixth week, with more than 70 witnesses taking the stand.

Judge Newman, who has presided over the trial, shared his concluding thoughts, agreeing that “the evidence of guilt is overwhelming.”

Alex and Maggie Murdaugh’s surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, supported his father in the courtroom.

Law and Crime reported on the surviving Murdaugh son’s appearance in the courtroom-  “Buster’s mom and brother were brutally murdered, and the State of South Carolina has accused his father of those murders,” Robert Rikard, a South Carolina-based attorney who previously worked with Dick Harpootlian, told Law&Crime. “Buster has sat in the courtroom for weeks supporting his father and has had to listen to horrific testimony regarding the way his mom and brother died. He has watched the State attempt to convince a jury that his father is guilty of those brutal murders. Regardless of what anyone believes about the guilt or innocence of Alex Murdaugh, this tragedy has a real impact on his son, and you can see that reflected in this photo of Buster as he listened to his father testify. Imagine how difficult this all is for him with his mom and brother murdered and his father sitting there accused of these horrible crimes.”

“It appears Buster is all in on his father’s testimony, but the gory details of the murders are likely starting to weigh on him,” Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney Rachel Fiset said in an email. “He has been a fervent supporter of his father throughout the case, and it was likely difficult for him to hear some of the issues being brought up through his father’s testimony – including that his father lied about his whereabouts the night of the murders. Nevertheless, it appears that he does offer his dad his full support.”

Buster Murdaugh, the son of Alex Murdaugh, listens to his father testify during his trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, February 24, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

“One can only imagine the trauma this young man is experiencing watching his father testify,” Los Angeles-based criminal defense attorney Joshua Ritter told Law&Crime. “Putting aside the brutal details of the death of his mother and brother, he is also witnessing the heroic figure that he believed his father to be, unravel before his eyes. Assuming that he believes his father is innocent of the murders, he has to be asking the same question that all of us have, why would his father lie about the most crucial details of that evening?”

Body language expert Dr. Carole Lieberman had an even more withering view of Buster Murdaugh’s reaction.

“I watched Murdaugh’s testimony,” she said in an email. “Buster’s body language says it all. Murdaugh’s testimony was not only an embarrassment to himself and the family, it is likely to result in a guilty verdict. Buster was covering his face because he didn’t want to see this train wreck. Also, Murdaugh was trying to make the point that he loved ‘Paw Paw’ (and Maggie), so he could never have murdered them. In so doing, Murdaugh made it seem like Buster didn’t exist or was an afterthought at best.”

Perhaps the bigger question remains how jurors likely reacted to the sight of the defendant’s surviving son burying his head.

Buster Murdaugh sips from a bottle of water as he leaves Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, on Wednesday. (Larry Paci for Fox News Digital)

People Magazine reports- “He’s not doing well at all,” a former college classmate tells PEOPLE in its latest issue. “He really withdrew after everything happened. Before, he’d text immediately. His phone was surgically implanted in his hand, or something like you’d send a text 24/7, and he’d respond, and he loved to chat. Now he doesn’t respond to most texts, or if he does, it’s one or two words. He has really closed off and built walls around himself.”

Buster attended the University of South Carolina School of Law from 2018 to 2019 and worked at his father’s law firm. After the murders, he began slowly closing his circle of friends.

No matter what happens to his dad, Buster Murdaugh’s life will never be the same.

 

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