MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – Disbarred Attorney and accused murderer Alex Murdaugh and state prosecutors are due in court Friday morning for a pre-trial hearing leading up to Murdaugh’s scheduled murder trial next month.
In the last week, Murdaugh’s defense filed two separate motions claiming state investigators and hired consultants have made key evidence impossible to be tested as part of their defense. The attorneys are now asking Judge Newman to throw the evidence out.
The request comes as South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson denies Murdaugh was recently offered a 30-year plea deal.
“You know, this case has really broken the rule books, so to speak of how cases typically go forward,” says former South Carolina Attorney General Charlie Condon.
The two motions by Murdaugh’s defense say the state’s testing methods of Murdaugh’s shirt from the night his wife and son were murdered ruined the shirt leaving it unable to be tested by the defense. Condon says damage during testing is common and believes the evidence likely won’t be thrown out.
“The judge rules that the evidence can be produced at trial by the state, but the defense then can argue because of the testing methods, their defense is hampered,” says Condon.
Condon says the defense could argue there were alternative testing methods available that would have allowed the defense to test the shirt. They also say two initial tests showed no high-velocity spatter on the shirt, but a third test turned up more than a hundred spots. Murdaugh’s attorneys believe the independent expert was coerced, giving them a potential argument.
“The defense views this as key,” says Condon. “If they cannot attack this evidence successfully, they are looking at potentially a guilty verdict.”
The two motions serve as the latest attack on the state’s case by Murdaugh’s attorneys. It comes as Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office denies it extended a plea deal to Murdaugh before or after the motions were filed.
“But the state equally stated, very clearly without any doubt of what they are saying, no we’re not offering a plea deal,” says Condon. “That’s false information.”
The motions and latest public statements will likely play out in court on Friday, where Judge Clifton Newman will address pre-trial motions including potential jury questions ahead of the murder trial. Judge Newman will also make sure both sides will be ready to go to trial in January.
“It seems to be building here early on to both sides sort of putting some cards on the table here, and so I’m thinking by Friday, we’ll know where these cards stand,” says Condon. “I think it’s going to be important on Friday.”
Alex Murdaugh is due in court Friday morning in Walterboro at 10 am. Count on News 2 for updates.