COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The defense team for former Hampton County lawyer and accused murderer, Alex Murdaugh, is asking a judge to compel the state to produce evidence pertaining to what the defense claims are altered photos and destroyed evidence.
Murdaugh’s team previously filed a motion claiming the state destroyed the t-shirt Murduagh was wearing on the night of the murders, which the defense said was exculpatory evidence. The defense said that tests conducted by the state found no traces of human blood on the shirt, and that an expert analyst contracted by the state to examine the blood on the shirt — Tom Bevel — was pressured into changing his opinion.
According to the motion, Bevel first examined photos of the shirt and determined that the markings on the shirt were not consistent with blood spatter.
He asked to examine the actual shirt in person, so South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) agents brought it to him, despite it being destroyed by chemical tests conducted by the state.
To conduct a second analysis, Bevel once again examined the photos, but said that he was “able to filter the colors of the shirt using Photoshop focusing on red (blood) and blue (LCV) and white of the shirt.”
From that analysis, he identified “over one-hundred stains consistent with spatter” and opined “I don’t see any other mechanism to get so many misting stains onto his shirt other than the spatter created from the shotgun wounding.”
The defense is requesting “the native Photoshop Document files Mr. Bevel’s firm created and used when digitally manipulating photographs of the t-shirt,” including “an audit history showing every manipulation of the image.”
Murdaugh’s lawyers are also requesting all communications between SLED and Bevel, arguing that “how Mr. Bevel changed his mind is material to the credibility of his opinions on spatter evidence.”
Murdaugh is expected to stand trial for the murders in January of 2023.