Alex Murdaugh’s Defense Trots Out Theory There Were Two Shooters

A security expert in Alex MurdaughMonday’s murder trial told jurors that the crime scene showed the murders of his wife and son were perpetrated by two gunmen.

Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh, in a desperate attempt to evade questions about his years-long embezzlement scheme from his former law firm, killed his colleague. 52-year-old wife Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul outside the dog kennel of their South Carolina estate on June 7, 2021.

But Tim Palmbach, a crime scene analyst and bloodstain expert, testified that his analysis of the crime scene, the use of two different weapons and the location of the wounds had brought him to a different conclusion.

“My opinion is that the whole evidence is more suggestive of a two-shooter scenario,” Palmbach said.

To support his theory, Palbach explains to Colleton County juror that he concluded that Paul was standing upright in the pantry by the kennel when he received a “angled” shot in the chest. The shooter was “definitely” outside the door, he said.

“Honestly, I think he was startled by that shot,” Palmbach said. “I believe he didn’t know it was coming. He shot him in the chest and very quickly after that in the back of the head.”

The expert said the second shot would be fired at such close range that it could cause biological material to spew across the room. Certain brain substances and other fluids will stick to the shooter—who will also be “nearly unconscious” for a short time from the impact of the bullet and other biological substances.

Palmbach told the jury he found it improbable that the same gunman could recover quickly enough to drop a shotgun, pick up a rifle, and shoot Maggie five times at close range. He added that he believes Maggie was confronting her assailant and that evidence suggests she “definitely” moved at some point during the shooting.

The handgun and .300 Blackout rifle believed to have been used in the murders have never been recovered. Palmbach noted that he believed it would be impractical for a gunner to carry two long guns.

Palmbach’s testimony speaks to one of the prominent arguments in the defense case. Throughout the trial, defense attorneys insisted that there was no clear evidence linking Murdaugh to the crime scene and no explanation as to why and how the former attorney might have used the two gun in such a short amount of time.

Prosecutors did not address that question in their case, instead presenting cell phone and ballistics data and financial crime evidence to support their argument that Murdaugh had kill his wife and son. A video of Paul shot minutes before he died in a dog kennel in which Murdaugh’s voice could be heard was also presented to the jury — this refuted his previous claims that he was not was present at the scene shortly before the murder.

Standing up in his own defense last week, Murdaugh admitted that he was in the crib until minutes before the murders occurred. He added that he was sleeping at the main house when Paul and Maggie were shot and that he was only lying to the police during his drug-induced paranoia.

“I lied to them,” Murdaugh said Thursday. “As my addiction developed over time, I would find myself in situations or circumstances where I would have paranoid thoughts.”

Murdaugh faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of murder. The defense can rest as soon as Monday afternoon. However, before the deliberations begin, the jury will make a field trip to the crime scene at the request of the defense.


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