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Attorney General and prosecutors discuss Murdaugh double murder trial, best witnesses

WCIV Charleston 3/29/2023 Tara Jabour
© Provided by WCIV Charleston

Who was the most powerful witness in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial? More than 75 witnesses took the stand, over six weeks.

News 4 sat down Attorney General Alan Wilson, lead prosecutor Creighton Waters, and state attorneys David Fernandez, John Meaders, and Savannah Goude for a two-hour interview to discuss Murdaugh's trial for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul. Murdaugh was found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Read more: 'I was simply doing my job': Judge Newman reflects on Murdaugh trial at alma mater event

When it comes to who the best witness was, prosecutors say it is complicated because a lot of people who testified knew and loved Murdaugh. Some witnesses were personal. Others were experts. But who had the most impact?

Waters said for him, it was Kenneth Kinsey, the state's crime scene reconstruction expert. However, there were others too.

"This was a different case because of how complex it was with the family and friends," Waters said. "Many loved him, but didn't really know who he was. I think some of the time you saw (witnesses) describe Maggie and Paul and you got to see the human side of them."

Caption: Who was the most powerful witness in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial? More than 75 witnesses took the stand, over six weeks. (WCIV)

And it was that human side that had a big impact on Meaders. He said their honesty sealed the deal, citing Shelley Smith, the caregiver for Murdaugh's mother, and Murdaugh's former housekeeper Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson.

"Shelley and Blanca particularly," Meaders said. "When Alex asked them to basically lie or try to remember what wasn't true, you could see it and feel it in their body and what they said.  It made it more powerful because they did love him. And when Alex tried to manipulate them, I think it was obvious to the jury."

The one time we saw Maggie Murdaugh's family was when her sister, Marian Proctor, took the stand.

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"(Marian) was a true victim," Fernandez said. "The juxtaposition between herself and Alex is that she genuinely was torn apart by what happened. It was true emotion from her. Your heart broke. I was upset hearing her testimony - it was very upsetting."

Murdaugh himself testified for a day and a half. Some called it a controversial decision. The state said they weren't surprised and Murdaugh hurt himself by taking the stand.

"Alex was the most powerful witness against Alex," Meaders said.

This is just a piece of our interview. We will air much more Thursday and Friday including what it was like for Waters to cross Alex Murdaugh, and why the state did not pursue the death penalty.

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