Law enforcement ‘destroyed’ evidence that could clear Alex Murdaugh, and relied on the ‘expert’ opinion of a retired police officer with no scientific credentials to tie him to the murders of his wife and son, the disgraced legal scion’s lawyers claim.
The claims were made in a filing by Murdaugh’s attorneys in Collecton County Court on Wednesday, and obtained by DailyMail.com. It asserts that South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) destroyed the white T-shirt that Murdaugh was wearing on the night he claims he found the bodies of Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, by dog kennels on the family’s hunting estate.
In addition to the murders, the disgraced former attorney faces nearly 100 additional criminal charges, ranging from a botched ‘suicide for hire plot’ to several alleged instances of money laundering and embezzlement.
He is currently awaiting trial for the brutal slayings, which is set to begin early next year.
Police ‘destroyed’ evidence that could clear embattled legal scion Richard ‘Alex’ Murdaugh, including blood spattered shirt he wore night he ‘brutally killed’ wife and son last June at the family’s home. He denies the killings
Maggie and Paul were found shot dead on the family’s property in June 2021. Alex called 911 at around 10pm claiming he’d just found them. Prosecutors say that’s a lie
Law enforcement have claimed that the shirt bore evidence of ‘high velocity impact spatter’ that definitively placed Murdaugh, 54, at the scene at the time of the murders.
His attorneys hotly dispute this and say the claim flies in the face of the state’s own expert’s initial report and that the ‘impact spatter’ finding was only included in a revised version of the document.
As such they have argued that the jury should not hear testimony regarding those findings in court.
According to the lengthy motion, ‘On June 7, 2021, Alex Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were brutally murdered near the dog kennels at a family home on Moselle Road in Colleton County.
Maggie and Paul were found shot dead near these dog kennels on the family’s home in Islandton, South Carolina
Paul’s body was found partially inside one of the kennels, while his mother was several feet away, leading investigators to believe that she ran from her killer before being felled, sources claim
‘As Mr Murdaugh has noted in previous motions, the State immediately decided that Alex was guilty, before anyone collected, investigated, or reviewed any evidence and, unable to build a solid case against [him] to present in court, instead engaged in a campaign of selective and deceptive leaks to news media to convince the public that Murdaugh is guilty before he is tried.’
Key among those ‘leaks’ was, they state, the suggestion that ‘high velocity impact spatter’ had been found on Murdaugh’s clothing along with the assertion of a law enforcement ‘expert’ that ‘this could only have come from one thing.’
Murdaugh (pictured in his mugshot) waited one hour before calling 911 to report his wife and son dead, prosecutors say
In fact, according to Murdaugh’s attorney, that ‘expert’ was retired Oklahoma police officer Tom Bevel – an officer with a degree in administration of criminal justice but no academic credentials in any scientific discipline.
The motion states, ‘The state retained Mr Bevel to opine that the white cotton T-shirt Mr Murdaugh wore the night Maggie and Paul were murdered is stained with high-velocity blood spatter, most likely from shooting Paul.
However, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division’s confirmatory blood testing results were negative for human blood in the areas of the shirt where Mr Bevel opines blood spatter is present.’
According to Murdaugh’s lawyers Bevel initially concluded that there was no evidence of blood spatter and only revised his opinion after a meeting with lead SLED investigator David Owen.
They state, ‘Mr Bevel’s first report to the State emphatically said the shirt contained no stains consistent with back spatter resulting from a gunshot.
The disgraced former attorney is facing a total of 98 criminal charges – four related to the double murders and others for a botched suicide for hire plot
Yet for some reason, without any addition evidence he changed his opinion entirely after an in-person visit from lead SLED investigator David Owen, and now opines that the shirt has over 100 stains consistent with back spatter from a gunshot.’
The claims cannot be challenged by independent defense experts because the T-shirt in question was cut up and then irretrievably damaged by the chemical tests deployed to determine whether it showed signs of human blood.
The new motion has also provided new details of the scene of the crimes itself.
According to the filing, ‘the murder scene was gruesome; there was a large amount of blood on and around the bodies which transferred onto Mr Murdaugh’s hands and clothing when he frantically checked them for signs of life.’
Pieces of ‘brain matter’ were found on the ground near Maggie and Paul was shot in the confined area of the dogs’ feed room producing a gory scene that would inevitably have resulted in considerable blood spatter on any perpetrator.
According to the suit, ‘Paul Murdaugh, although a minor, would often drink to the point of intoxication and was known to operate family vehicles, including boats, while under the influence of alcohol’. The Murdaugh’s are pictured
But according to Murdaugh’s attorneys the suggestion that such evidence was found on their client is ‘risible’ and should not be presented in court.
Last week DailyMail.com spoke with Murdaugh’s sole surviving heir, Richard ‘Buster’ Alexander, 26, at the home he shares with his girlfriend in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Giving the first insight into his mindset Buster angrily rejected the suggestion that he was ‘supporting his father.’ Saying he did not want to see that written anywhere.
The disgraced former attorney is facing a total of 98 criminal charges. Four are related to the murders of his wife and son. Some to a botched ‘suicide for hire plot,’ staged in a bid to see Buster claim is $10million life insurance policy.
The rest are for money laundering, fraud and embezzlement as he allegedly syphoned off $8.5million in unpaid civil settlements as a partner in the family’s Hampton based law firm.
Murdaugh’s trial is due to being on January 23.