WALTERBORO, S.C. — With about 70 witnesses, 12 jurors, one alternate and lots of people in the gallery, lots of people were invested in the Murdaugh double murder trial.
29 days of later and we finally have an answer about the defendant's fate: Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul on June 7, 2021.
"Justice will always prevail. It’ll find you. You can’t outrun it. Alex couldn’t outrun it," lawyer Eric Bland tells me.
Bland represents many victims of Murdaugh’s financial crimes, which he admitted to when he took the stand in his own defense.
"I think this is going to be another couple days that I’ll never forget in my life," Bland added.
Bland isn’t the only one who feels this way. Walterboro resident Marzy Bedford-Billinghurst has been in the courtroom’s gallery for 16 out of the 29 days.
"It’s just so interesting to be actually in the courtroom, to talk to people, see what their viewpoints are, where they’re at," Bedford-Billinghurst tells me.
She says while many people expected a hung jury, she had a feeling there would be a guilty verdict.
"I am just really glad that justice was done and I got to see it through the whole process," Bedford-Billinghurst explains.
A process that Kenneth Kinsey was directly involved in.
Kinsey delivered a big moment in court, where he testified the shooter could have been any height. This directly conflicted with testimony from two of the defense team's hired crime scene experts, who said the shooter - or shooters - would have been between 5' 2" and 5' 4".
"I can’t tell you my exact reaction, but it angers you a little bit because generally speaking if you have two qualified examiners or reconstructionists with the same level of experience, you oughta get generally the same results," Kinsey said of hearing that testimony about the shooter being a specific height. "And to limit it and say this or this and there was so many variables we didn’t know."
Kinsey testified to the jury twice, and was even the last witness to deliver testimony to the jury.
"They were so attentive. Masks. Black, white, male, female. They were so attentive," Kinsey said about the jurors. "I really felt the support from those men and women and it just made it easy. It made it easy. I felt really really comfortable and I knew they were the ones in there carrying the burden."
The burden of carrying out justice for Maggie and Paul and for the countless victims, both of his financial crimes and for the 2019 boat crash. According to the prosecution, this was a catalyst that led to the murders.
Phillip Beach lost his 19-year-old daughter Mallory in the incident. Paul Murdaugh was charged with boating under the influence causing death, but was murdered before his court date. Mallory’s father came to see the sentencing.
"We just ask for continued prayer because I’m sure there are more victims out there that are waiting to get this closure that Maggie and Paul’s family’s gotten as well as our family," Beach said, emotion clear in his voice.
The Beach family is represented by lawyer Mark Tinsley, who testified to jurors about the pressure he was putting on Murdaugh to expose his financial crimes right before the murders, which Murdaugh is still set to go to trial for.
"This case, these issues have had their own momentum for so long. I think that this is just the tip of the iceberg and Creighton Waters said. I think we’re going to continue to see a lot of justice for a lot of people. I hope so anyway," Tinsley said. "I’m relieved for everybody. I’m relieved there’s some measure of justice. There’s lots of regrets in this world and I’m glad this is not gonna be one of those going forward."