BLOG: Day 21: Buster Murdaugh takes stand in murder trial

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 3:00 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 21, 2023 at 5:56 PM EST
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WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC) - The fifth week of the Alex Murdaugh trial began with surviving son Buster Murdaugh taking the stand.

Jurors were off Monday because of Presidents Day. When court reconvened Tuesday morning, the defense called the younger Murdaugh to the stand to ask him about the hunting property where his mother, 52-year-old Maggie; and his younger brother, 22-year-old Paul, were gunned down on June 7, 2021.

Alex Murdaugh is charged with two counts of murder in their deaths.

The defense wasted no time calling up two witnesses Friday, but they have a long list or witnesses. Murdaugh’s lawyers haven’t given any indication publicly if the disbarred attorney will take the stand, but his doing so would allow him to explain some of the evidence prosecutors have presented.

The state rested its case Friday, wrapping up weeks of testimony with a comprehensive timeline of the night of June 7, 2021.

READ RECAP: Murdaugh trial to begin 5th week Tuesday; Here’s what jurors have heard so far

It detailed GPS data from Murdaugh’s vehicle, phone calls, text messages and orientation data, all to attempt to show the movements of Alex, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh that evening.

That testimony from a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division agent created a minute-by-minute timeline that showed apparent inconsistencies in Murdaugh’s recollection of events from that night.

For example, Murdaugh told police he wasn’t at the crime scene in the hour before the killings, but several witnesses testified they heard his voice on a video taken at the dog kennels where the murders happened just minutes before the state says his wife and son were shot.

Cell phone and GPS data line up with that testimony.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Murdaugh Cases

Meanwhile, the defense has primarily stuck to cross-examining SLED investigators, attempting to poke holes in their investigative efforts or to reveal what defense attorney Jim Griffin called “missed opportunities” in the investigation.

Attorney and legal analyst Mark Peper said Murdaugh’s family will likely take the stand in the coming weeks, including his brothers John Marvin and Randy, his sister Lynn and his surviving son, Buster.

The defense has continuously painted Murdaugh as a family man, hoping to show the jury somebody as family-oriented as Murdaugh couldn’t have possibly committed such crimes.

The trial is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.