Alex Murdaugh’s former law partner said Tuesday that he is past his anger over millions of dollars stolen from the firm as the final witnesses in the South Carolina double murder trial tested and the court prepared to bring jurors to the scene of the killings.
Ronnie Crosby had a testy exchange with defense attorney Dick Harpootlian as prosecutors got a chance to reply to the defense’s case, including by rebutting their experts who suggested two different shooters killed Murdaugh’s wife and son with two different weapons.
Once the prosecutors have finished their witnesses, the judge has agreed with a defense request to let the judges ride 40 minutes to see the sprawling Colleton County property where the Murdaughs live. The exact date and time of the jury trip has not been scheduled because it depends on how many witnesses the prosecution calls in its reply case.
Prosecutors brought Crosby back to the stand to talk more about Murdaugh stealing millions of dollars from his clients and the firm the Murdaugh family founded more than a century ago. Prosecutors contender Murdaugh thought he was about to get caught stealing and killed 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh near kennels on June 7, 2021, to buy time to cover up the money trail.
During the cross-examination, Harpootlian asked Crosby, who often represents accident victims, if going through trauma can cause people to forget details or get times wrong. Prosecutors have pounded Murdaugh for various inconsistencies and lies, including not saying he was at the kennels the night of the killing when he could have heard on video recorded by his son.
“You’re trying to take me somewhere you probably don’t want to,” Crosby said, starting a tense exchange between the attorneys.
“You’re angry at him for stealing your money,” Harpootlian said.
“I have had anger with him, extreme anger, Mr. Harpootlian, because what he did with my law firm, my partners, his clients, our clients — what he did to his family. What he did to so many people,” Crosby said, bristling. “But you can’t walk around with anger.”
Harpootlian then asked Crosby if he thought Murdaugh killed his wife and son.
“I don’t have an opinion. I don’t have the benefit of the materials you have,” Crosby said.
Murdaugh is awaiting trial on about 100 other charges including financial crimes. Murdaugh, who has been disbarred, is admitted to the thefts, which could carry decades in prison, on the stand last week.
Defense attorneys asked that the jury be able to visit the scene of the killings to help them understand how small the storage room is where Paul Murdaugh was killed and the distance between the two bodies. Prosecutors were against the visit, saying the scene looks different than it did in June 2021 as trees and vegetation have grown and no one has lived on the property since the killings.
Judge Clifton Newman is allowing only the jury, attorneys from both sides, security and police, and a court reporter to come. He banned drones from flying over. Once the jury leaves, one reporter, photographer and videographer will be able to see the property.
Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.