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The Murdaugh Murder Trial with Author Michael DeWitt Jr. PT 2
Join Crime Capsule for a detailed account of the recently concluded Alex Murdaugh trial. Author Michael M. DeWitt Jr. was on hand for the trial and he will give us insights he learned throughout the case.
Hampton County was carved from Beaufort County during the turmoil of Reconstruction and named for Gov. Wade Hampton, who personally laid the cornerstone for the county courthouse in 1878. The county's rich soil, abundant rivers, and lush pine forests make it a paradise for farmers and sportsmen. Locally manufactured products from Plywoods-Plastics Corporation were used on World War II battlefields, in Navy atomic submarines, and even in NASA space missions. The Hampton County Watermelon Festival, which has been held annually since 1939, is the state's oldest continuing festival, and it boasts the longest parade: 2.4 miles that encompasses two towns. The vintage photographic collection of Hampton County captivates readers with the history, hard work, natural beauty, and Southern charm of this Lowcountry community.
Author Michael M. DeWitt Jr., an award-winning journalist, humorist, and columnist, is currently the editor of the 135-year-old Hampton County Guardian. He is the humor columnist and a contributing writer for South Carolina Wildlife magazine and has volunteered as a co-playwright for four seasons of Salkehatchie Stew, a five-county historical folk play project. With photographs from local historians, museums, and private collections, DeWitt shares the history of his colorful native county with a journalist's eye for detail and a storyteller's sense of humor.
Well, I can answer that question. Before we even step into the courtroom, if you know anything about small town festivals, Hampton County has a Watermelon Festival, and actually, a large part of it is sitting around our county courthouse. So, you have food trucks, you have tents and lights and people selling merchandise.
And so, the very first day, first morning, I arrived before daylight in Walterboro, and there's a little mini media city set up around the courthouse in the adjacent blocks. There are food trucks across the street to take care of the crowds and crowds of people.
So, when I stepped out of my vehicle and I see the lights and the tents around the courthouse, and I smell food, I'm like, "Oh my God, this is like the Hampton County Watermelon Festival. But there's no celebration going on here. This is very serious." But it just had that vibe that for a small town guy like me, from Hampton County, it had this festival vibe, this weird mini media city was sprung up almost overnight around the Colleton County Courthouse.
Well, let me start by saying this, the city of Walterboro, the Colleton County Clerk of Court, the Colleton County Sheriff's Department, everyone did a great job of planning and organizing for this event, dealing with the crowds, dealing with outside the courtroom, inside the courtroom. They just did an outstanding job. Everyone I talked to was impressed, and we can't say enough.
Those first few days, the courtroom was not packed. That was jury selection and it was primarily court personnel and media. Then when the trial started, because of the large media interest, the judge had actually created a media list, or the court did.
And certain members of the media were given a reserve seat. Of course, local media like myself and the Colleton County Walterboro Newspaper. They were given a reserve seat right up front. And then people who had been covering this story from the beginning, just like we were, The State paper Post and Courier, FITSNews, they were put on the same row with us.
So, they knew that there were going to be media from around the world, but they put the local folks up front, gave us special treatment, we had a reserve seat, and that was appreciated and needed. And it was a good thing. And then it was kind of funny to see the national media kind of stuck to the back of the courtroom, The New York Times, The Washington Post.
And so, that was kind of amusing. But once we got to know all of these reporters from around the country and around the world, they were great people, nice people doing the job, just like we were doing.
And so, in the courtroom, as we're facing the judge, the first three rows who are reserved for the Attorney General's office and SLED, then the media was right behind them. So, I think I sat on row four along with the local media networks that I mentioned a moment ago.
And so, you had several rows of media going back on the left, and then the public. And on the right side, you had court personnel, members of the Murdaugh family, attorneys, and then the general public.
So, where we were sitting, we had a pretty good view of Alex. We couldn't see him directly face on, like you could if you were watching court TV or whatever. But I could see the side of his face. I could see his emotions when he turned around. I had a really great view of the Murdaugh family, and I could see their emotions. I could throw a spitball and hit every one of them directly across the aisle if I wanted to.
And I could see the variety of emotions on their face as the trial progressed, as graphic evidence was presented, as incriminating evidence was presented. And if Alex turned around to interact with them, I could see him oftentimes telling one of them, "I love you," or, "I'll see you later," or whatever.
So, we had a front row seat to history, and it was a crowded front row seat. The courtroom was at full capacity for, I'd say just about every day. They allowed a certain number of people in and the general public.
Michael DeWitt Jr. (07:46):
And after that, there were people that didn't get in. You had people lined up at 5:00 AM in the morning to get in. And when we came out for lunch, you had more people lined up at lunchtime trying to get in and steal their spots.
Let me ask you this, did you learn much during jury selection that surprised you? Was there anything that stood out to you as the attorneys were going through interviewing candidates and issuing their strikes and so forth?
I did learn a little, but it wasn't particularly surprising. One of the questions they asked was, “Do you know the Murdaugh family? Do you have any connection to law enforcement, to the Fourteenth Circuit, or to members of the Murdaugh family?”
But I was taking note of the large number of people here, one county over, still part of the Fourteenth Circuit. And every group of jurors, they brought them in, in three or four separate groups. And every time they asked a question, "Are you in some way have some connection to the Murdaugh law firm, or the Murdaugh family?" It might be half a dozen, it might be a dozen, people would stand up.
They asked a question, "Are you familiar with this case? Have you been following this case in the media on podcasts?" Even more people stood up. So, wasn't particularly surprising, but it did reinforce the fact that this was a well publicized, highly followed case, and a well connected family.
Yeah. And I could not help but wonder, just all cards on the table, whether there were 12 men and women in the Fourteenth Circuit who did not have some sort of connection to that family, given its long reach over the years. It's sort of like everybody's connected somehow, you just got to kind of figure out how exactly that is. Right?
Well, some of the connections were BS. Like one guy stood up and said, "I do heating and air work, and me and my company went and put in the air conditioner at the Murdaugh law firm." "Well, I don't think that disqualifies you from jury duty. Sit back down, sir."
So, and a lot of people who said they had absolutely didn't know anything about the case, hadn't read about it in the paper, I think there was some BS there too. I mean, unless you're living under a rock, like you said in one of your previous podcasts, you've had to at least heard a snippet over the radio or seen a headline on social media or something.
So, I don't necessarily take every statement at face value, but surprisingly, there were some jurors that were allowed that I thought would've been stricken. One of the jurors was the brother of a Colleton County police officer who was actually took some small role in the early investigation. And I thought, for sure, "Okay, they're going to strike that guy." But they didn't. He sat on the jury the whole time, and he was the younger brother of a Colleton County police officer. So, that was interesting.
Let me ask you, there was some chatter about the lax or lax-ish treatment that Alex was given to be able to show up in a suit, not always handcuffed. Was that a display of privilege, or was that in fact not unheard of in that particular courtroom under that particular judge's jurisdiction?
When a defendant goes to court, now, I'm talking about South Carolina, I have no experience outside of the Fourteenth Circuit. I don't know what they do in Louisiana or Florida or New York. But South Carolina, when a suspect comes forward for a bond hearing or a bail hearing, he'll be in a prison jumpsuit, he'll have handcuffs on. He gets his hearing, as his constitutional right, then he's either released or set back to jail.
Well, defendants on trial, unless they are abnormally crazy violent, they have rights. And I don't know if this is just common practice or if actually it's an established law, but the thought is, if you sit before a judge, a jury, television cameras, and you're wearing a jumpsuit and you're wearing handcuffs, you automatically look guilty.
Now, Alex arrived at the courthouse with handcuffs on, and he draped his sports coat over them. But when you walk in that courtroom, you're not wearing shackles, you're not wearing ... his lawyers would've had a field day with that. You're making him look guilty. So, that's common practice in the state.
Now, one area where I think he was given special treatment as an attorney, the court allowed his attorneys to give him a special laptop and give him copies of his case files so he could help prepare his own defense. Now, how many murder defendants do you know, is allowed to have a laptop computer in the jail cell?
I'm sure you couldn't connect to the internet or contact someone and say, "Hey, come break me out," or whatever. But how many common everyday run the mill murder defendants, get a computer in their jail cells. "Okay, you sit and you plan your defense." To me, that was special treatment. But his appearance in the courtroom, absolutely not.
It did make me wonder, with respect to the sort of allowing him the dignity of his own clothes and that kind of stuff. I mean, not to put too light a point on it, but he's not really a flight risk, is he? I mean, he's sort of one of the most visible people certainly in that region, probably in the whole state at that moment. And as a result of this trial, he's not going to make it very far before he is going to get spotted. So, I could understand that to a degree.
Well, if he would've became violent and attacked a jail employee or something, then that would've been totally different. You might have seen him in handcuffs, but he was a typical defendant inside the detention center. He was treated like they do.
But you notice, once he was convicted March 2nd, he came back on March 3rd, and he was wearing the jumpsuit, he was wearing the handcuffs. He had already been convicted. So, at that point, it doesn't matter how he looked to the world, how he looked to the jury.
Well, let's take a look at a couple of moments in the trial itself. Opening arguments. You're sitting there, you're watching attorneys both for the state and for Alex himself. You're watching them present their case. In the interest of fairness, what I'd like to ask is, what did you think as you heard those opening arguments was the most plausible claim on both sides?
Well, I knew that Murdaugh's attorneys were going to come out and say he's innocent, and they were going to do everything they could to create reasonable doubt. And they did. I wasn't surprised by their opening statements, and I wasn't surprised by their closing remarks. Basically, they wanted to tell the jury that how could Murdaugh, this loving father, brutally murder his own wife and child?
Murdaugh's defense attorneys were actually more graphic when they didn't even need to be than the state prosecution was because they wanted to show how violent and graphic these murders were. And then paint a contrasting picture of Alex as this loving husband and father who could have never done these things.
They wanted to come out in opening remarks and talk about how shoddy the police work was, how they didn't gather this evidence, and this evidence and this evidence, and how this evidence isn't real scientific proof of anything. And basically create reasonable doubt. There were two shooters, let's acquit Alex so we can go find the real killers.
Now, the state's opening remarks had a few surprises that we didn't know and left a few questions that they answered as the trial went on. But I thought that Creighton Waters opening remarks were just brilliant. There were several moments of oratory brilliance I thought that he had during the trial.
I don't remember if it was in his opener. Actually, I think it was, when his opening remarks to the jury, he basically talked about this perfect storm that Alex was under of all his financial crimes looming over his head, and he used a metaphor to define what circumstantial evidence was, and he talked about the rain outside. It happened to be raining that day.
So, off the cuff, off the top of his head, he's throwing out metaphors about this perfect storm, and it starts storming outside the Colleton County Courthouse. And I said, "Man, this guy's brilliant. I could listen to him all day."
It is theater, isn't it? I mean, let no one ever say that being inside a courtroom is not like watching a play. When you get a performance like that, you just got to sit up and take notice. That is something.
Yeah, it was like six weeks. There were moments of brilliant oratory. There were gripping moments when you're on the edge of your seat waiting to hear the next piece of information. And then every now and then, they threw in the occasional boring math class and boring biology class, and we had to sit through highly technical, scientific evidence.
Well, let's take a look at just a couple of pieces of the key evidence that was presented on both sides. Crime Capsule listeners, we love evidence. That's our bread and butter over here, is looking at what we've got, comes from the scene and so forth.
I mean, big deal, of course, was made out of Alex's clothing on the night, both the clothes that he was wearing when police found him, freshly laundered and so forth. And then there's this raincoat. So, what was your take on the kind of the twists and turns regarding the clothing aspect?
Yeah, we don't know exactly what SLED and responding officers were thinking that night on the scene. As I said, when it first happened, this investigation was hush hush, and the world at large thought for a long time just had to be connected to the boat crash involving Mallory Beach.
But on the inside of this investigation, we learned details during the course of the trial. And when called the county police officers and first responders and SLED arrived on the scene, some of them were listening to the 911 call on the way to the scene. It's a long ride out there to Moselle.
And I didn't know this until the trial, but a lot of times the 911 dispatcher will play the 911 call itself. So, the officer, when he or she get to the scene, they have a background, they fully know, okay, there's a man here, his family's been killed, he's got a gun, they told him to put it down when we arrived. They know as much information as they possibly can.
So, Alex Murdaugh started putting forth this narrative from the moment of the 911 call. He's telling 911 that he checked the bodies for a pulse. He tried to roll them over. I think he mentioned the boat crash case in the 911 call. It was redacted at first, but in the full call, you hear it.
Yep. And now, I may be wrong about that, but I think once we heard the full 911 call, he touches on the boat crash case and possible suspects. And then when police arrive on the scene, that's one of the first things he tells them is, "There was a boat crash case, and my son was getting threats."
So, he's putting forth this narrative early on, but officers like Laura Rutland, they arrive on the scene and they noticed that, “Okay, well, this man said he checked the bodies for a pulse, and there's blood all around these bodies, but there's no blood on his hands. There's no blood on his shoes, on his clothes.”
So, all of that, we don't know exactly what they were thinking. We don't know if there was general suspicion that night, but in their testimony, during the weeks of the trial, they were pointing out a lot of inconsistencies in his statement.
Yeah. And there was a large enough gap between the murders themselves at — what was it, around 8:50 PM that night, and the actual time of the call. I forget exactly how many minutes transpired between the murders and the phone call. But more than enough time to go and try to change clothes or contain the damage or so forth. At least an hour, is that right?
That's right. They think they were killed around 8:49, 8:50 based on cell phone data, cell phone evidence. And he called 911 at 10:06, 10:07. The dates are different depending on when he dials and when he picks up. I think the recording starts at 10:07.
And as we know, GSR is very powerful evidentiary tool that we can now detect, but there was some kind of unusual dimension to where it was either on the inside of the raincoat, but not the outside, or it was on the outside of the raincoat, but not the inside. I wasn't quite clear on how that played. Can you help us to understand that?
Sure, sure. Alright. The state put forth a lot of evidence that some of it didn't really do a whole lot for their case. Some of it was incriminating, but wasn't the true smoking gun that we thought it was going to be.
About a week after the murders, Shelly Smith, the housekeeper, or the caregiver rather for Alex's mother, noticed Alex came real early in the morning, about 6:30 in the morning, which was unusual for him.
And he walked up the stairs carrying what she described as something like a big blue tarp, which police say was actually in fact a large poncho raincoat balled up. So, she mistook it for a tarp. And went upstairs and then when he came down, he didn't have it anymore.
Well, upstairs they found this large blue raincoat, and on the inside of the coat, not the outside. If someone were shooting birds, for example, on a rainy day, you would expect to have gunshot residue on the outside of the coat.
Right. Not so much on the back. Well, the inside had so much gunshot residue that they stopped counting. They stopped at 38 particles or whatever, which apparently is a crazy high number. And they just stopped counting and said, "Hey, this thing is coded with GSR on the inside."
And it fit the state's theory that he used it to wrap up the guns and dispose of them. And then for whatever reason, instead of disposing of the raincoat with the firearms, he stuck it in his mother's closet upstairs.
So, now, the defense had a field day with that. Shelly Smith's testimony was a little inconsistent. She was very nervous on the stand. This was a family that she had worked for and known and loved for years, and she didn't want to be the one to tell police anything about this case. And her statements, she said, tarp and the defense said, "Well, this isn't a tarp, this is a raincoat."
And there was no exact pinpoint to say, "Okay, was this Alex Murdaugh's raincoat? Has anyone in the family ever seen him wear it? Do you have a receipt where he bought it?" So, that was one of those pieces of evidence that was incriminating, but it wasn't directly-
Yeah. It does make you wonder, I mean, if that is exactly what happened according to the state's theory that he had wrapped up the murder weapon or weapons and disposed of them, shouldn't he have known better as an prosecuting attorney that there are trace particles of all sorts of things that can get on any evidence that has touched other evidence.
Yeah, there are a lot of unanswered questions still. I mean, we don't know where the guns are, for example. We don't know, if he disposed of his bloody clothing, why he didn't dispose of the raincoat. It's hard to say.
I'm sure you've heard a theory that subconsciously, every suspect does one little thing that could get them caught. Or maybe subconsciously, a suspect in a crime like this, has this one little thing that as a thrill, like, "Okay, if you find this, you've got me. But I'm going to get rid of everything else." I don't know. That is a very good question.
Yeah. Well, it's funny because you do mention the smoking gun, and of course that's what we don't have and never found. And leaves us kind of scratching our heads a little bit, even Rita was saying so, when we spoke to her.
And I was just curious. I mean, how credible did you think was the claim that they were stolen when that claim was first presented? The sort of raises a question of why were these guns stolen and used and not all the other guns that would've been on the property and that sort of thing. They're just more questions than answers there. But how plausible was it in the moment of its appearance, that theory?
Well, it was certainly very convenient that a possible murder weapon was quote unquote, stolen or missing. Now, the defense tried to do all it they could to put forth the true narrative, I guess that Paul Murdaugh was a irresponsible young man. That he would leave guns and clothes and things all over the place. So, they wanted it known that that, yeah, it was very likely that Paul lost his gun or stole this gun.
But one of his own friends, Will Chapman testified that, "Hey, that gun didn't get lost around Christmas of 2020. We were shooting that gun during Turkey season. We shot that gun off the steps of the house just to site in a new scope. We went to Ace Hardware in Hampton and bought this new red lights scope. And we shot it in March or April, right before the killings."
Which is, the history books will record in detail. Let me ask you … and I'm so grateful for your perspective, Michael, because there you are in the courtroom hearing this testimony, which only some of it gets reflected in reportage after and the commentary. And yet you've got such a front row seat as you say.
I want to ask you about the moment in the courtroom when Paul's last Snapchats were shared. You wrote in one of your articles, and I'm just going to quote you real quick here. You wrote that hearing Alex's voice minutes before Paul was killed, "shredded his alibi." What was it like in that moment when those were played?
And not to get on a side road. I'm very confused about their reactions and John Marvin's testimony. In my conversations with him, I thought he wanted to get to the bottom ... his exact words to me were, "We want to get to the bottom of this and follow the evidence no matter where it goes, we just want answers."
But it seemed during the trial that they were still supporting Alex and they still didn't believe that he had done this thing. But the looks on their face when that video was played told a totally different story. I think they all knew that he had lied and he was there.
And you mentioned Snapchat video. To clarify, there was one Snapchat video and it showed Alex wearing a certain outfit of clothing. Alright. The video that incriminated him wasn't a Snapchat video, it was a cell phone video taken by Paul to be shared with his friend, Rogan, about the dog. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think it was published to Snapchat. I don't think it was intended to be public. It was from one friend to another.
Got it. Thank you. Thank you for clearing that up. I appreciate that. Let me ask you about another piece of evidence. We were speaking with Rita about two things. Number one, was GPS data of, of course, where the three of them were on the compound. And why do you think Alex was unable to destroy or kind of obfuscate the tracking?
It seems like he might have been tech savvy enough to know something. He certainly knew how to get into their phones and so forth. Was it just too late by that point, that the data had already been recorded? Or was he just not savvy enough after all?
Alright. Well, Alex was smart enough that when he committed the crimes, he didn't have his phone on or didn't have it with him. I don't have the exact times in front of me, but his phone shows no activity from earlier in the afternoon, like 6:00 or 7:00 something until 9:02.
So, he was smart enough to not have his phone on him while he committed the crimes. Now, he had no control over Paul and Maggie's phones because if you're going to sneak up and surprise, ambush somebody and kill them you're going to be kind of hard pressed to say, "Hey, can I borrow your phone for a few minutes? And by the way, disregard the shotgun I've got in my hand and this raincoat I've got here. Just gimme your phone and we'll talk later."
But there's no uncertainty about Paul's phone. Paul's phone was an iPhone. It had a password and he couldn't get into it. He was very protective and secretive with his phone. Alex couldn't get into it. It took investigators a year to fully crack and get that video taken at the dog kennel and get all of Paul's data off his phone. It took investigators almost a full year.
But yeah, let me ask you about this, the tire tracks, because Rita mentioned those last week and we were curious. There were sets of tire tracks in and around the scene from different kinds of vehicles. And of course, once SLED shows up, things change.
Yes, it was. The tire tracks on the ground, I don't think from the state's viewpoint weren't that critical. A lot of people came and went. The kennel master came twice a day to feed and clean up. You had tracks from the ATV, and as your audience probably knows, a tire impression and damp grass isn't going to tell you anything. You can't pull exact imprint off of that.
The tire impressions on the ground however were important to the defense because they wanted to put forth the narrative that, “Hey, these vigilantes could have drove right here, killed them, drove off, and you guys didn't even attempt to take tire impressions.” So, it was important to them.
But the marks on Maggie's leg, I think the expert witness that touched on that best, I believe was Dr. Kenny Kinsey. And I may be wrong, there have been so many witnesses over the course of this trial.
But the expert testimony was that he didn't think she had been run over by the ATV. He thought that upon being shot, she had hit the ATV and collided with it in some way. And his exact testimony wasn't that, "Okay, this is a 100% match, this tire impression on her leg is a 100% match with this ATV tire." That wasn't his testimony, his testimony was, "This tire or one like it made that impression on her leg." That was his exact testimony.
Okay. Well, that helps to provide context for my last sort of evidentiary question or sort of theoretical question for you, which was about the two shooters. And if the defense could claim that, "Here are patterns, which point to somebody driving away that wasn't Alex." Maybe that gives them just a little bit more water to hold in their case.
But at the same time, I mean, I just have to go back to that moment when the cell phone video was shown. I mean, surely that must have also shredded the claim that there were two shooters at that point. I mean, surely that theory did not last past that day at trial, did it?
Well, the defense is going to talk about two shooters. They're going to talk about vigilantes. Right up until the closing arguments, they're going to do everything they can to create reasonable doubt, even if the evidence is clearly contrary to their claims.
Their job is to say, "Hey, you can't prove that it wasn't two shooters. That's reasonable doubt. You can't prove that somebody else didn't drive up here and do it because you didn't take tire marks." So, that's defense lawyers being defense lawyers and that's to be expected and understood.
I think there were three key pieces. If you had to boil down six weeks of there were 400 exhibits of evidence and more than 70 witnesses that testified. And of all of that, here are the four things that the jury considered and that won this case for the state.
Number one, the circumstances and the financial perfect storm. They didn't just paint this vague picture that Alex Murdaugh was worried about being exposed. On the very day that his wife and child were killed, his own law firm confronted him, June 7th, "Prove you didn't take these legal fees."
Three days later, he was facing a hearing in the boat crash case where he was expected to turn over his financial statements or convince the judge that he doesn't have to turn over. So, that's number one.
Even the judge commented when he sentenced Alex, "That you expect us to believe that June 7th was just this normal day when you had just been confronted for stealing $600,000 or $792,000. That's not plausible. That's not believable." So, that's piece number one.
Piece number two, the family weapons, the shells on the ground near the bodies matched — the rifle cartridges on the ground matched rifle casings found all over the Moselle property. It was clearly a family weapon that killed these two.
And gang members and vigilantes alike, they don't just show up at a party and expect to find a gun when they get there. It's BYOB, it's bring your own gun. And so, that's the second key piece of evidence is the family weapon was used.
The third is this video that shows Alex at 7:00 ... let me get my times just right. I think that video was taken 7:44, 7:55 and it lasted several minutes. I'm sorry, let me back up. That video was taken about 8:44. There we go. 8:44, 8:45. Alex's voice has been identified in the background by multiple witnesses and their phone ceased all meaningful activity around 8:50. So, that puts Alex there, it proves him a liar.
And the final piece is when Alex took the stand himself and the jury could see that he was trying to manipulate them. The state prosecutors caught him in a couple of lies on the stand. He kept changing his story and his narrative to fit the evidence that had already been presented earlier in the case. So, it really was those four things I think, that won the case for the state.
I don't know if you wanted all that, but to me, that's what was important. Those four. One particle of gunshot residue on his hands, a lot of the DNA stuff led to nowhere. But those four things sealed the deal for the jury. And those four things put Alex away.
Benjamin Morris (45:14):
Yeah. No, it's a remarkable story and I absolutely encourage our listeners to look up your coverage in the Hampton County Guardian, and I think The Augusta Chronicle has also, reproduced some of it as well, to go into more detail. Is there another place that you would recommend them to find your writing on the topic?
We have published all of the Murdaugh stories from our Greenville website. So, go to Greenville News. Now, these stories have been published all over the country and in the USA Today network. And of course, Augusta, Savannah, all over the southeast. But they're published out of Greenville News.
Well, that is a rich resource to draw on. And we are very grateful. Just a couple more questions for you now that the verdict is in and the sentencing and so forth, everybody knows what happened there. You write that with respect to what happens now, there's a lot of work to do, so to speak.
And you wrote this great article and I wanna quote part of it to you because I thought it just really summed up that sense of the dense fabric of their influence in the county. You say, "Here we still walk under the shadow of the towering law firm that house Murdaugh's crimes. We still do our business at Palmetto State Bank, the same bank Murdaugh used to steal millions. And at the Hampton County Courthouse, where portraits of three generations of Randolph Murdaugh's still hang above the jury box."
Well, it's just different here in Hampton County. I mean, we're a small town, so a lot of it's just purely practical. There are only three banks in Hampton, in Bonneville. Well, in the whole county really. There are only three banks. It may have a different branch in another town. But in the case of myself and people in my family, you may have one account here in this bank and one account here in this bank.
But it's kinda hard, even though you may have hard feelings about maybe a certain member of that banking family, Russell Laffitte, who has been convicted in federal court as an accomplice in Murdaugh's financial crimes.
I mean, you're talking about you've been doing business with the local bank, and it's primarily one of only two or three banks in the county. Kinda hard pressed to just go out there and say, "Okay, I'm going to pull all of my stuff out of this bank and put them over here."
No, you just keep doing business as usual. You go to the soccer field in towns, the baseball field, you'll see Parker Law Group on the back of the kids' jerseys, they're still putting money into the community donating. Before that it was PMPED, they did a lot for the community on one hand, and they hurt the community on the other, but we still put their names on the back of my kid's jersey.
Yeah. What do you make of the appeal process here? I mean, of course, as you write, he has 99 other indictments and potential charges that may come against him, but as far as the appeal for this particular conviction, what do you make of that?
Lawyers are going to be lawyers. I mean, they've got to try. They've got to shoot their shot and do their best for their client. I personally, don't think they have a leg to stand on. They're going to try to say that they did not get a fair trial because the judge allowed all these financial cases as evidence.
They're going to try to say that Alex ... and I don't know this for a fact, but in Jim Griffin's statement after court, he made some comments about Alex incriminating himself. And I'm thinking, "Well, you can't hang an appeal around that. He voluntarily took the stand." They advised him not to, and yet he did it anyway.
Michael, we really cannot thank you enough. We know you must be so exhausted from covering this nonstop, but we are so grateful for the time that you have shared with us. And we really do, from all of us here at Crime Capsule, we hope you get the rest that you deserve.
Well, I've got to write the finishing chapters of the second book, and then we're going to follow this case through 99 financial crimes. Boat crash lawsuit is coming up in August 14th in Hampton County, unless it gets rescheduled.
Right now, you can go to Amazon and pre-order Wicked Hampton County, or you can wait till it comes out and order it on my Amazon Author's page. You can go to Arcadia History Press. I'm assuming they'll sell the books there on the website.
But I've also heard that the Images of Hampton County book was found as far away as Barnes & Noble in California. So, I think you won't have a problem finding Wicked Hampton County wherever Arcadia and History Press books are sold around the country, I think you can find it.