A blood-spatter expert testified Monday in Alex Murdaugh‘s double murder trial that the homicide was most likely committed by two persons, not one.
The defense summoned University of New Haven professor Timothy Palmbach, who told the Colleton County Court that “the totality of the evidence” implies Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were slain in a “two-shooter scenario.”
Palmbach believes Paul, who was discovered dead next to his mother on the grounds of the family’s Islandton, South Carolina hunting lodge, was murdered by someone standing immediately over him and, in his view, most likely planted the rifle squarely on his head.
Seeing “vast volumes of tissue projected all the way up into the ceiling and the door… “Hair all the way up into the door, and of course…blood practically everywhere,” the forensic expert stated, adding that the individual who shot him was most likely wounded as a result of the close-range killing.
“At the very least, that shooter is being coated with his substance, experiencing more or less the shock wave of that impact, and more than likely getting struck with anything that may have caused harm — a bone fragment and perhaps a pellet fragment,” Palmbach said. “I believe that specific gunman is, for a small period of time, out of this.”
Palmbach thinks Paul, 22, was murdered with a shotgun, and his mother, 52, was murdered with a rifle. According to him, the evidence also leads to Paul being shot first.
“It’s not as if [the shooter] could instantly endure that, drop the shotgun, go to wherever the rifle is, and then engage in any sort of real attack” on Maggie, he added.
The analyst then said that he does not believe it is feasible to conceive a single gunman carrying both guns to the scene.
Although facing the shooter, Palmbach thinks Maggie was in motion when she fired.
Alex Murdaugh pleaded not guilty to the June 2021 murders and has regularly sobbed throughout the trial, notably while describing the scene where he claims he discovered his kid and wife’s lifeless corpses. According to Palmbach, his son Paul had no defensive wounds and was likely “startled by the shooting.”
Alex’s brother, John Marvin Murdaugh, subsequently testified and was visibly moved. He described how Paul had worked for him and how they had been close, and how he had visited the residence the day after the killings and seen a gruesome sight.
“I wanted to witness for myself what had happened,” he said, before revealing how the kennels where the killings had occurred had not been cleaned up when he arrived. “I saw blood, brains, and skull fragments,” he added.
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John Marvin then sadly detailed how he asked a police officer acquaintance for permission before cleaning up “what was left of Paul,” adding he felt he owed it to him and crying hysterically the whole time.
He also reported talking to Paul as he was cleaning up, telling him how much he loved him and pledging to find out who had perpetrated the double murder.
When asked whether he had discovered who had murdered his nephew, he said that he had not.
While he testified for the defense, John Marvin criticized the police investigation into the killings and talked of his brother’s close relationship with his two boys and Maggie.