Judgment in Alex Murdaughs high-profile double murder the trial could have turned out very differently—if it hadn’t been for a juror with a dozen eggs.
The heir to the once-powerful legal dynasty was sentenced Thursday of shooting dead his wife Maggie and son Paul in a heinous crime on the family’s 1,700-acre Mosel estate in Islandton, South Carolinaback on June 7, 2021.
The 12-juror panel deliberated for less than three hours before unanimously finding him guilty of all charges — two counts of murder and two weapons charges.
But the removal of a juror just hours before deliberations began could have changed the fate of the convicted killer, according to an insider.
On Thursday morning, before the defense’s closing statement in the Colleton County Courthouse, Judge Clifton Newman announced that a female juror had been removed from the panel for discussing the case with at least three other people.
The judge said that a few days earlier he had received a complaint from a member of the public who said the juror had discussed the case with several people who were not on the jury panel.
After an investigation – which involved interviews with both the jury, who denied wrongdoing, and the people she was accused of speaking to – Judge Newman said it was established the woman had spoken to at least three people about the case. She had also given her opinion on the evidence she had seen in the case.
After telling the defense and prosecution their decision in the courtroom, Judge Newman brought the jury in and told her she would be removed.
The woman then elicited lighthearted relief in the courtroom when asked if she had left anything in the jury room.
“A dozen eggs,” she replied.
This drew laughter from Judge Newman, the defense and the prosecution – and even Murdaugh – as court staff were instructed to go get her eggs from the jury room to return to her.
Source told FITS News that this juror had already indicated that she would have found Murdaugh not guilty—and that she could not be swayed in her decision.
“She was dug in. She said he was ‘innocent’ and there was nothing anyone could do to change her mind,” a source told the local channel.
Another added that she would have “hung the jury”.
In South Carolina, the verdict in a case must be unanimous—and so juror misconduct and last-minute removal may well have changed the entire outcome of the trial.
Although it is unclear whether the defense had any idea how the juror might have voted, Murdaugh’s defense attorney Dick Harpootlian complained to the judge when she was removed from the panel.
He complained that the jury question was handled by SLED, including one of the agents who has been a witness in the case.
“It’s messy,” he said of the SLED-led investigation.
“SLED has made yet another poor judgment in this case. This is just one continuum of a disaster by mistake.”
The revelation comes as one of the 12 jurors who sealed Murdaugh’s fate spoke out for the first time.
Craig Moyer told ABC News that Murdaugh’s lack of remorse, crocodile tears and the damning cell phone video taken by Paul minutes before his murder convinced the panel of his guilt.
“I didn’t see any real remorse or any compassion or anything,” he said, adding that the disgraced lawyer came across as “a big liar”.
Mr Moyer said he “was sure it was (Murdaugh’s) voice” from the first time the kennel video was played in the courtroom.
“Everybody else could hear (Murdaugh’s voice) too,” said the Colleton County carpenter.
Mr Moyer said he locked eyes with Murdaugh in the courtroom as the video was played and described the killer’s demeanor as “he knew what was coming”.
Key to the prosecution’s case was a damning cellphone video that placed Murdaugh at the scene of the murders.
The video, taken by Paul on his mobile phone at 20.44, filmed a dog inside the kennels on the farm Mosel.
Off camera three voices are heard: Paul, Maggie and Alex Murdaugh.
During dramatic testimony, several witnesses identified Murdaugh’s voice in the film.
Minutes later – around 8.50pm – Maggie and Paul were brutally gunned down.
The bombshell video not only put Murdaugh at the scene – but also exposed his lies about his alibi that night.
Since the murders on 7 June 2021, he had claimed that he had never gone to the doghouse with his wife and son that night.
He claimed he had been staying at the family home, sleeping on the couch and then driving to visit his mother at his parents’ home in Almeda.
Driving home, he claimed he went down to the kennels and made a dramatic 911 call claiming to have discovered the bodies of the two victims.
Over two dramatic days in the courtroom, Murdaugh finally admitted that he had spent the past 20 months lying about his alibi that night.
The convicted killer took the stand in his own defense and admitted for the first time that he was there at the kennels with the two victims that night – and that he had lied to police investigating the case, his family members and close friends and colleagues for the better part of two years.
Despite admitting to lying, Murdaugh continued to profess his innocence in Maggie and Paul’s murders.
Still, Murdaugh’s confession over the kennel video further cemented his guilt, Moyer told ABC, saying that was the part he knew where his voice was.
Murdaugh appeared stony-faced as the guilty verdicts were read out in the deafeningly quiet courtroom Thursday night, before he was led out in handcuffs.
The heir to the disgraced legal dynasty — whose family once dominated the Lowcountry legal system — will be sentenced at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday.
Sentencing begins at 9:30 a.m. ET with victim impact statements expected to be read in court.
He faces 30 years to life in prison on each of the murder charges and five years on each of the weapons charges. Sentences can be served simultaneously – or consecutively.
Prosecutors are seeking the maximum sentence of life after taking the death penalty off the table.
Judge Clifton Newman has not indicated how he plans to sentence Murdaugh, but said after sentencing that the evidence was “overwhelming.”
Moyer said he will return to court Friday to see the man he was convicted of murdering be sentenced for his crimes.
Prosecutors hail Alex Murdaugh’s sentence
“I want to see it. It’s a decision I have to live with,” he says.
On June 7, 2021, Maggie and Paul were gunned down on the family’s 1,700-acre property.
Paul was shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun as he stood in the dining room of the kennels – the second shot to the head blew his brain almost completely out of his skull.
After killing Paul, prosecutors said Murdaugh then grabbed a .300 Blackout semi-automatic rifle and opened fire on Maggie as she tried to escape from her husband.
She was shot five times, two of them in the head after she had fallen to her knees.
Buster – who has stood by his father’s side throughout the trial and testified in his own defense – showed little reaction when his father’s conviction came back, before rubbing his eyes for a moment.
Prosecutors said Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from his string of financial crimes — at a time when his multimillion-dollar fraud scheme was on the verge of being exposed.
Murdaugh’s conviction marks the latest twist in the saga of the man who was once the powerful heir to a South Carolina legal dynasty.
His family had ruled the local legal system for nearly a century, with three generations of the family all serving as attorneys in the 14th Judicial Circuit’s attorney’s office.
Murdaugh continued the family tradition, working at the local prosecutor’s office and also at the law firm PMPED, which was founded by his grandfather.
The murders of Maggie and Paul shocked the Hampton County community but also uncovered a series of scandals surrounding Murdaugh, including a multi-million dollar fraud scheme, a botched hitman plot and some unexplained deaths.