WALTERBORO, S.C. — A saga that has gained national interest has trust a small South Carolina town into the spotlight as jury selection begins for the Alex Murdaugh double-murder trial.
The judge and lawyers for the prosecution and defense began asking potential jurors question Monday as court gaveled in.
The former South Carolina attorney -- and member of a prominent legal family in the state -- is facing charges of killing his wife and son in June 2021. The charges against him and the trial surrounding them will also put Colleton County and the county seat of Walterboro, a town of about 5,500 people, at the center of the public consciousness.
And while much of that will be online and on television, the community is also preparing to see some of that interest generate foot -- and car -- traffic.
On Sunday night, just over 12 hours before the Murdaugh trial begins, the Colleton County Sheriff's Office warned residents to be mindful of the impact it will have on everyday trips to and from work and school. The office urged locals to leave early and avoid downtown to help ease the impact of what could be an intense commute.
"Even though there will be a large police presence to assist with traffic and security – we encourage citizens to choose an alternate route around downtown to get to their destinations," the sheriff's office announced on Facebook.
Meanwhile, as the town begins for the impact of the trial, Murdaugh's defense attorneys said in a Sunday press release that they would not be releasing further statements in order to "preserve the integrity of the trial process."
A statement from a representative for attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said that the two are prepared to challenge the state's allegations and show weaknesses in the state's case against Murdaugh in front of the soon-to-be-selected Colleton County jury and clear his name.
On the other side of the courtroom will be lead prosecutor Creighton Waters, who has worked as the chief attorney for the state grand jury and been part of the division for 24 years.