Disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh broke down in tears after his attorney described how his son and wife were “slaughtered” on the family’s South Carolina hunting property.
Mr Murdaugh wiped tears as his defense attorney described the scene he claims his client found near kennels on the estate and denied having anything to do with it.
Dick Harpootlian told the jury that the prosecution’s explanation for the murders was only “theories” and “conjecture” and that Mr Murdaugh was a “loving” husband and father.
And he also suggested in his opening statement in the high-profile murder trial that two gunmen may have been responsible for the June 2021 killings, which he insisted Mr Murdaugh had nothing to do with.
“Alex was Paul’s loving father and Maggie’s loving husband. You won’t hear a single witness saying that Maggie and Alex had a relationship that was anything but loving,” he said.
“Paul, the apple of his eye. You will see video from the night of the murders of Paul and Alex riding around looking at trees they planted, snapchat sent to other people. They laughed and had a good time.”
Mr Harpootlian then vividly described the murders for the jury, which made Mr Murdaugh emotional when the lawyer said his son’s head had exploded “like a watermelon hit with a sledgehammer”.
“Terrible, terrible, carnage. In order to find Alex Murdaugh guilty of the murder of his son, you have to accept that within an hour of you forming an extraordinary bond with him, he would brutally execute him…not believable.”
Defense counsel then told the court that investigators had immediately ruled that Mr Murdaugh was guilty of the murders.
“They decided that night he did it without forensics and cell phones, they’ve been banging that round pin in a square hole since June 2021,” he said.
“There is no eyewitness, no forensics linking him to the murder or shooting anyone that night. Cell phone records show he had less than 10 minutes to kill her, walk to the house, get in the car and crank it and be covered in blood.”
Mr Harpootlian then suggested that there may have been more than one killer at the scene that night.
“The question is, one shooter or two? A shotgun and an AR. What was Maggie running from? Was there enough time to kill Paul and then find the AR and ambush Maggie? Much more likely it was two people,” he said.
Prosecutors have alleged in court documents ahead of the trial that Mr Murdaugh killed his wife and son to divert attention from the scandals engulfing him and that his alleged financial crimes were “about to come to light”.
Mr Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and possession of a weapon while committing a violent crime.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced last month that if Murdaugh were convicted, prosecutors would seek life in prison without parole instead of the death penalty.
In addition to the murder charges, Mr. Murdaugh faces 99 indictments arising from 19 grand jury indictments for various crimes, including allegedly defrauding clients and his former law firm of nearly $9 million.