Alex Murdaugh case detective explains key mystery from trial

Detective Laura Rutland commented on a point raised by the defense during her cross-examination.

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A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigator has shed light on a significant riddle in Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial.

Detective Laura Rutland of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office was one of more than 70 witnesses who testified in the disgraced attorney’s six-week trial.

Ms. Rutland, the first state witness to testify, was picked to handle the case because she was one of the few local law enforcement officers who did not have ties to the strong legal family.

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh Murder Trial Explained

The jury just took three hours of discussion earlier this month to find Murdaugh guilty of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul in June 2021. Murdaugh, who was convicted to two life terms without the possibility of release, has already filed an appeal.

Ms. Rutland focused on a topic that came up during her cross-examination by the defense but essentially faded out of the trial when she was unable to explain it in an interview with Fox News.

The senior investigator revealed the horrible murder scene at the family’s Moselle hunting property a week after Murdaugh’s sentencing and explained why hair strands were discovered in Maggie’s fingers.

“I just wanted to emphasize that when she was injured and the bullet exited the back of her head, it produced a significant hole that displaced that area of her skull, including her scalp and hair,” Ms. Rutland said.

RELATED: Everything You Need To Know About The Alex Murdaugh Murders Story

“There were little clumps of her back hair on the grass all around her body. Some had landed on her hands and arms. And as we took her corpse away, some of the hair on her fingers, just a few strands, departed with her.”

Authorities claim Murdaugh shot Paul twice in the feed room of the dog kennels with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Prosecutors claim Murdaugh then took a.300 Blackout semiautomatic weapon and began fire on Maggie as she attempted to leave her husband. Maggie was shot five times, twice in the head after collapsing to her knees.

Prosecutor Slams Murdaugh For Where He Was On The Night Of The Killings
Prosecutor Slams Murdaugh for Where He Was on the Night of the Killings

Ms. Rutland also mentioned Murdaugh’s strangely clean clothing when police came, despite his assertions that he attempted to flip Paul’s corpse over to check his pulse.

“There was a lot of water in addition to the organic debris surrounding his body,” Ms. Rutland told Fox. “And [the jurors] could see it on Sergeant Green’s body cam. It seemed strange that even Alex’s shoes were as immaculate as they were, even the bottoms.”

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh Murder Timeline

“Anybody going near Paul’s corpse would have gotten that watery, bloody mess on their shoes,” she continued.

Ms. Rutland expressed relief that the jury was able to conclude after analyzing weeks of complex evidence.

“My captain and I came out of a side door where the jury was being brought… and they wanted to shake our hands,” she said. “I’ll never forget that experience. I was pleased with the jury and grateful for their service to Colleton County.”

Murdaugh’s legal team stated on Thursday that they had filed an appeal. After his conviction, the double killer had 10 days to file an appeal.

“Today Jim Griffin and I submitted our notice of appeal for Alex Murdaugh,” one of Murdaugh’s lawyers, Dick Harpootlian, tweeted. “This is the next step in fighting for Alex’s fundamental right to a fair trial.”

RELATED: Alex Murdaugh Sentenced: Life without parole for killing wife and son

Nevertheless, noted legal expert Duncan Levy told The Independent that even if Murdaugh’s appeal is successful, he would still spend the rest of his life in prison after admitting to a series of financial offenses under oath during his trial.

“I don’t see any grounds for an appeal. “When he took the stand, he eliminated any genuine possibility of a mistake by saying it in his own words,” said a former deputy district attorney in Manhattan’s DA’s office.

“He’ll spend the rest of his life in jail; there’s no way out at this point.”


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