“I know you have to see Paul and Maggie during the nighttime when you attempt to go to sleep,” Newman said. “It might not have been you (who killed them). It might have been the monster you become.”
Murdaugh, dressed in prison garb, professed his innocence again on Friday, a possible prelude to an appeal.
“I’m innocent. I would never hurt my wife Maggie and I would never hurt my son, Paw Paw,” said Murdaugh, using a nickname for Paul, minutes before the judge delivered his sentence and he was escorted from the courtroom in handcuffs.
Throughout the trial, prosecutors portrayed Murdaugh as a serial liar and argued that only he had the means and the opportunity to commit the murders. Prosecutors said he fatally shot his wife and son to distract from an array of financial misdeeds, including the theft of millions of dollars from his law partners and clients – money used to feed a years-long addiction to opioids and support an expensive lifestyle.
For their part, Murdaugh’s lawyers tried to paint their client as a loving family man who, while facing financial difficulties and suffering from a drug addiction that led him to lie and steal, would never harm his wife and child.
They floated alternative theories, with Murdaugh testifying last week that he believed someone angry over a deadly 2019 boating accident involving Paul likely sought revenge on his son.
But prosecutors were able to point again and again to Murdaugh’s admission that he had lied about his alibi, telling investigators he wasn’t at the dog kennels where the murders took place on the family estate. Murdaugh changed his account after the jury listened to audio evidence placing him at the crime scene minutes before the murders occurred.
The judge spoke about what may have been running through Murdaugh’s mind on June 7, 2021, as he confronted a “looming storm” that included his father on his deathbed and Paul facing charges in the death of 19-year-old killed in the 2019 boat crash.
Murdaugh was facing a $US10 million ($15 million) wrongful death lawsuit stemming from that accident, with a critical hearing scheduled for just days after the killings.
“There had to be quite a bit going through your mind,” Newman said, and yet he noted that Murdaugh had testified to that day being like any other, that he had been enjoying life with his wife and son.
“Not credible, not believable,” the judge said.
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