Murdaugh Family Unit Murder Trial Is Already A ‘Bloody’ Struggle
As the long-awaited double homicide trial against sometime South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh began on Mon, his defence lawyers were making i concluding plea to the judge: Don’t let the prosecution talk virtually “blood spatter” inwards this instance. The defense force motility, filed just before the 54-twelvemonth-old disgraced attorney entered the Colleton County courthouse for the offset 24-hour interval of jury selection, seeks to bar Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Kenneth Lee Kinsey from discussing “blood spatter on a whiteT-shirt Murdaugh wore the dark his married woman and son were murdered” inward June 2021. Murdaugh’s squad argues that Kinsey should non be allowed to testify because he admitted inward his study that he could non return an thought on whether at that place was blood spatter on the shirt after the garment was allegedly ruined past forensic tests. Hours later on, the defense force filed some other motion reiterating their previous request to prohibit testimony from Tom Bevel, a onetime Oklahoma constabulary officeholder who operates aself-described forensic educational activity fellowship who concluded that “100+ stains are consistent amongst spatter on the forepart of the T-shirt.” The motion added that if their asking to exclude Bevel’s testimony was denied, they would similar an evidentiary hearing on the blood spatter evidence before trial. Murdaugh’s squad was scathing in its criticism, previously arguing that Bevel’s thought of Murdaugh’s shirt is based on an “at-abode ‘scientific discipline fair’ experiment” conducted in his “garage or kitchen orwherever.” That Murdaugh’s lawyers are seeking to exclude testimony from 2 experts slated to speak nigh what seems to be ane of the prosecution’s most important pieces of physical evidence is not surprising—peculiarly since several legal experts told The Daily Beast that blood spatter analysis is seen past many every bit a subjective scientific discipline. “I retrieve when it comes to this type of evidence it’s more than thought than scientific discipline but it uses scientific principles, in addition to it has precedence, hence, it volition beadmitted,” Jose Baez, a defence force attorney who has represented Harvey Weinstein together with Casey Anthony, said.
As the long-awaited double homicide trial against onetime South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh began on Monday, his defense lawyers were making ane concluding plea to the approximate: Don’t let the prosecution verbalise nigh “blood spatter” inward this example.
The defence force motion, filed but earlier the 54-yr-old disgraced attorney entered the Colleton County courthouse for the offset twenty-four hours of juryselection, seeks to bar Orangeburg County Chief Deputy Kenneth Lee Kinsey from discussing “blood spatter on a white T-shirt Murdaugh wore the nighttime his wife and boy were murdered” inward June 2021.
Murdaugh’s squad argues that Kinsey should not live allowed to show because he admitted in his study that he could non return an view on whether there was blood spatter on the shirt after the garment was allegedly ruined past forensic tests. Hours later, the defence filed some other motilityreiterating their previous asking to prohibit testimony from Tom Bevel, a sometime Oklahoma police force officeholder who operates a self-described forensic educational activity society who concluded that “100+ stains are consistent alongside spatter on the front end of the T-shirt.”
The motion added that if their asking to exclude Bevel’s testimony was denied, they would similar an evidentiary hearing on the blood spatter evidence earlier trial. Murdaugh’s team was scathing inward its criticism, previously arguing that Bevel’ssentiment of Murdaugh’s shirt is based on an “at-habitation ‘science fair’ experiment” conducted in his “garage or kitchen or wherever.”
That Murdaugh’s lawyers are seeking to exclude testimony from 2 experts slated to speak about what seems to live ane of the prosecution’s most important pieces of physical evidence is non surprising—particularly since several legal experts told The Daily Beast that blood spatter analysis is seen past many as a subjective science.
“I remember when it comes to thistype of evidence it’s more thought than science but it uses scientific principles, as well as it has precedence, hence, it will live admitted,” Jose Baez, a defense force attorney who has represented Harvey Weinstein too Casey Anthony, said. “If the prosecution is entering inward faulty opinions, it’s more than a affair of junk thought than junk scientific discipline.”
Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh murdered his wife, Maggie, together with his son, Paul, inward June 2021
inward a deliberate effort to plow the spotlight away from ayears-long system to swindle millions from his clients too law business firm to proceed his “fantasy persona of wealth, respectability, as well as prominence live.” In add-on to the murder example, Murdaugh separately faces dozens of fiscal charges too allegations he tried to stage his own murder inwards a twisted insurance scam.
The Mon motility also included several attachments that provided detailed data about how Maggie together with Paul Murdaugh died. Reports by the state’s offense scene good concludedthat 22-twelvemonth-old Paul was standing inward the feed room of the domestic dog kennels when he was shot inward the breast too head, stumbling forrard earlier he was shot a second time inward the caput. His 52-yr-old mother, notwithstanding, suffered five bullet gunshot wounds, including a fatal gunshot wound to the head.
Based on bullet casing patterns together with other analyses, the criminal offence scene skilful concluded that Maggie and the shooter were moving when the shots were fired. The practiced added that Maggie was shot 6 times.
In a tertiary filing on Monday, Murdaugh’s defense force team asked the estimate to suppress “firearms identification evidence” in addition to testimony from skillful Paul Greer. After testing several guns that were seized from Murdaugh’s property after the murder, Greer indicated that Maggie may have been killed amongst a .300 Blackout rifle, the motion states.
The defence force, all the same, argued that his analysis should non live presented to the jury because his assertions that tool marks from the cartridges matched thesuspected rifle are non scientifically valid. If their request to exclude Greer is denied, the motility asked for an evidentiary hearing—later on arguing that firearms identification analysis is also a subjective science.
Murdaugh has pleaded non guilty to two counts of murder too ii counts of possession of a weapon during the committee of a violent offense inwards connexion with the double homicide. His trial kicked off on Monday, where dozens of reporters descended on South Carolina for a trialthat is expected to in conclusion several weeks.
The defense has long maintained his innocence, claiming prosecutors do not accept the evidence to prove Murdaugh—who claims he was amongst his ailing male parent at the time–killed his married woman and boy.
In an endeavour to poke holes inward the prosecution’s instance, defense attorneys accept been pleading amongst Judge Clifton Newman for months to eliminate blood spatter analysis from the trial, accusing the prosecution of destroying evidence “in bad faith,” leakingdata to the press to alter populace perception of the case as well as collecting conflicting results inwards the T-shirt analysis.
The latest move states that Kinsey concluded that he could non return an opinion on whether the bloodstains “were consistent amongst back spatter from a gunshot” after reviewing Bevel’s study together with analysis. The South Carolina Enforcement Division’s HemaTrace testing results, the motion added, “confirmed the stains are not human blood.”
“SLED retained Mr. Bevelto opine that the T-shirt is stained amongst high-velocity blood spatter that could alone come from beingness in proximity alongside them at the time of their murders,” the motility reads. “It did and so even though the State knew on August 10, 2021—almost six weeks earlier outset reaching out to Mr. Bevel on September 21st—that confirmatory blood try results were definitively negative for human blood inward all areas of the shirt where purported spatter is introduce.”
The defense added that the shirt was allegedlydestroyed inward July 2021 after an “unnecessary application of an oxidizing chemical stain” used to observe bloodstains. The procedure turned the shirt a purple blueish, so making it impossible for the defense force to have their ain experts examine the evidence.
Defense attorneys debate that blood was transferred to Murdaugh’s hands as well as habiliment that nighttime equally he “frantically checked [his family unit] for signs of life” after finding them at the offense scene. In a previous filing, the defense force evennoted that Kinsey was “unwilling to order that the T-shirt has whatsoever blood spatter.”
“Without an sentiment on whether the stains are ‘blood stains’ or whether the stains are ‘consistent with dorsum spatter from a gunshot,’ whatever practiced opinion testimony he would offer regarding the stains would non help the trier of fact; as well as therefore, such good sentiment should be excluded because it volition unfairly confuse and mislead the jury,” the motion states.
Michel Huff, a California criminal defenceattorney too old law officeholder who is non involved inward the Murdaugh instance, said that over his career he has found that “blood spatter evidence’s efficacy is debatable.”
“Because blood behaves according to sure scientific principles, trained bloodstain design analysts can examine the blood evidence left behind in addition to pull conclusions every bit to how the blood may take been shed,” Huff told The Daily Beast. “From what may look to be a random distribution of bloodstains at a criminal offence scene,analysts tin can categorize the stains by gathering information from spatter patterns, transfers, voids, too other marks that aid investigators inward recreating the sequence of events that occurred after bloodshed.”
“This class of physical evidence requires the analyst to recognize in addition to translate patterns to make up one’s mind how those patterns were created,” he added. “Importantly, blood blueprint analysis does take limitations including the misinterpretation or over the interpretation of bloodpatterns.”
That said, Huff added that the defense’s statement that Kinsley should non testify because he could not render an view on whether the bloodstains “were consistent with back spatter from a gunshot” does not mean that Murdaugh is innocent.
“This is far from conclusive or direct evidence of Alex Murdaugh’s guilt,” he added.
Baez said it is non a surprise the prosecution wants to purpose blood blueprint analysis since the do “has been around for years and used inwards someof the most high-profile trials of our fourth dimension.”
“It volition live an uphill battle for the defence force as to admissibility, but similar all forensic science, it will depend on the lineament of the proficient,” he said. “All experts are non created equal. Some young woman things, some stretch the truth, but when applied correctly, blood blueprint evidence utilizes established mathematics in addition to physics.”