Alex Murdaugh Murder Trial: Snapchat Sent by Son Moments Before Death Is 'Critical' Evidence, Prosecutors Say

Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were shot to death at the family’s 1700-acre hunting property on June 7, 2021.

Opening statements are expected this afternoon in the trial of a prominent South Carolina lawyer who hails from a politically connected family.

Alex Murdaugh is accused of murdering his wife and son, a crime for which he has pleaded not guilty.

Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were shot to death at the family’s 1700-acre hunting property on June 7, 2021.

A Snapchat Paul sent just two hours before his death will prove key to the case prosecutors claim in court documents, calling the evidence “critical.”

The murders captivated the nation, and the residents of Waterboro. That was evident just minutes into the proceedings on Monday, when the first panel of potential jurors was asked who had heard about the case. Every single person stood up in response to that question. 

Lawyers then began to seek out impartial jurors, a Herculean task in a case that has over 250 potential witnesses in a city with just 5,400 residents. 

Jurors weren’t the only ones getting dismissed from the courtroom either, with officials also removing a portrait of Murdaugh’s grandfather. 

Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh’s motives were financial, claiming he had been defrauding clients out of millions of dollars, embezzling funds from the family firm, and facing a potentially pricey lawsuit in the wake of a fatal boat crash involving son Paul.


In court documents obtained by Inside Edition Digital, prosecutors describe Murdaugh as “an allegedly crooked lawyer and drug user who borrowed and stole wherever he could to stay afloat and one step ahead of detection.”

Prosecutors claim that Murdaugh had been asked to account for missing funds at the family firm on the day of the murders.

At the same time, he was also being asked to turn over a detailed accounting of his finances in a wrongful death lawsuit against his son Paul, who had been accused of drunkenly crashing a boat resulting in the death of a young woman

The defense claims that these murders were pinned on their client from the start and accuse law enforcement of failing to properly investigate the crime or consider other possible suspects. 

Murdaugh claims that he had been visiting his mother at the time of the murders and returned to find the bodies of his wife and son.


There is also an investigation into the death of the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper, who died in 2018 on the same property as Maggie and Paul.

That case was reopened shortly after the murders of Maggie and Paul.

Murdaugh and his lawyers filed a confession of judgment admitting that he owed the sons of his housekeeper $4.3 million after the two men sued Murdaugh for failing to give them the insurance settlement he filed on their behalf following their mother's death.

Allegations of financial misconduct at the family firm came to light in September 2021, at which time Murdaugh agreed to hand in his resignation. 

The following day, Murdaugh claimed that he had been shot in the head while changing a tire on the side of the road.


Police said there were holes in Murdaugh’s statements and alleged that a suicidal Murdaugh had asked a distant cousin and former client of his, Curtis Edward Smith, to shoot him in the head and make it look like murder so that his surviving son Buster could collect the insurance money. Smith said that Murdaugh brought a gun to the scene asking him to shoot Murdaugh, that he told Murdaugh he would not shoot him and tried to take the weapon from Murdaugh, but they struggled over the weapon and the gun went off.

The two men then turned on one another, and Murdaugh and his lawyers now claim Smith murdered Maggie and Paul.

In a motion to compel filed in October, the defense said that "the State is turning a blind eye to the obvious, that the reason Smith failed the polygraph when asked if he murdered Maggie and Paul is because he did in fact commit those heinous crimes."

Murdaugh and his lawyers were seeking the results of that polygraph test from the state in their motion, and have alleged that it showed Smith was lying when asked if he killed Maggie or Paul. 

Aimee Zmroczek, who is representing Smith, tells Inside Edition Digital that her client played no role in the murders and has an "ironclad" alibi.

"Eddie Smith continues to be a victim of Alex Murdaugh and his deeds," says Zmroczek.

She adds that this is a "continuation" of Murdaugh's desire "to insinuate Eddie Smith is somehow involved."

Related News