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Alex Murdaugh trial: Paul's friends testify they heard Alex's voice on a call moments before the murders of Paul and Maggie

Murdaugh is a former prominent attorney in South Carolina who's accused of killing his wife, Maggie, and adult son, Paul.

WALTERBORO, S.C. — Day Five of testimony in the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial dug into more evidence, including data from the phones of the two victims who died. 

Murdaugh is a former prominent attorney in South Carolina who's accused of killing his wife, Maggie, and adult son, Paul, in 2021 at the family's large rural estate in Colleton County. The trial is taking place at the county courthouse located in nearby Walterboro. 

Here's what happened on Wednesday.  

Lt. Britt Dove, SLED, continues testimony started on Tuesday

Dove, a lieutenant in charge of SLED’s computer crime unit, began his testimony Tuesday afternoon, introducing into evidence the data that was culled from Maggie Murdaugh’s cell phone. Dove explained the processes he took to extract the cellular data from her phone and from phones belonging to Alex and Paul Murdaugh and began laying out a timeline of calls and text messages between the phones on June 7, 2021, the day of the murders.

Prosecutor John Conrad begins Wednesday morning again with detailed timeline from Maggie’s phone.

At 10:05:13 p.m. Find My iPhone data was being used on Maggie’s phone. Dove testifies the app could have been running in the background or someone could have accessed the app remotely.

Dove testifies from that night, there was no precise GPS location on Maggie’s phone found in the data downloaded from her phone. The reason for that is apps running in the background would not have kept location data and Maggie’s phone was “fairly well” locked down as far as location.

Conrad asks Dove to identify an item in State’s evidence. Dove identifies the item as an Apple iPhone with a SIM card and black case submitted to SLED in 2021. The phone belongs to Alex Murdaugh.

Dove then identifies an item as a portable solid state external hard drive that Dove used to store a Cellebrite report of extracted data from Alex’s phone that SLED received in September 2021. Messages, text and calls between Alex and his law clients deemed as privileged information were not included.

Conrad shows the court an enlarged printout of the call log and the analysis of Alex Murdaugh’s call log for June 7, 2021, begins:

Outgoing calls on June 4, 2021, at 3:41:34 p.m. and 4:35:56 p.m. Facetime calls went unanswered

Outgoing June 7 at 10:25:49 p.m. Facetime call goes unanswered.

Data bases for incoming and outgoing calls are synched between receiving and calling phones. The call log lasts longer on phones than other logs. When the database overwrites itself, it is first in, first out.

Dove testifies there is a gap between June 4 and June 7, indicating the calls were removed from the database. He explains calls can be manually deleted from the log, as you would remove text messages. There is no other way to explain the gap/absence of calls on Alex’s phone.

Dove pulled all data, so any regular calls, Facetime calls and texts would appear on the call log.

Conrad asks Dove: the only way for the calls between June 4 and June 7 to be missing is if the records were to have been removed by a user. Dove says in his professional opinion, yes.

Conrad asks Dove to recall a group text from John Marvin sent to Maggie’s phone at 8:31 p.m. June 7. Dove is asked to find the text on Alex’s phone.

  • The text arrived on Alex’s phone at 8:31 p.m. (This is the same group text that was on Maggie’s phone.) On Alex’s phone, it is marked as being read at 1:44:49 p.m. June 8. (Shown read on Maggie’s phone at 8:31:16 p.m.)
  • 8:31:47 p.m., the response from Lynn G saying she was in court (Shown read on Maggie’s phone at 8:49 p.m.)
  • 4:48:23 p.m. at text from John Marvin reads in part, “Room 632, nurse says we can rotate visits” marked as read at 5:10:32 p.m.
  • An outgoing text from Alex to Maggie at 9:08:58 p.m., “Going to check on M be right back”
  • Another outgoing text from Alex to Maggie at 9:47:23 p.m. says “call me babe”
  • A text from Alex to Rogan Gibson at 10:24:43 p.m. reads “call me”

The Cellebrite record Dove created for June 7, 2021, is entered into evidence.

Dove then identifies a copy of the forensic report of Alex’s phone showing steps and movement on June 7, 2021. For a phone to record steps, the phone would be handheld or in a pocket of someone in motion, either walking or running. The phone will not record steps from being placed in a car seat or cup holder of a moving vehicle.

The report shows records indicating Alex’s phone records steps between 6:02:59 p.m. and 6:07:59 p.m. and

  • 173 steps between 6:14:42 and 6:23:46 p.m.
  • 283 steps between 6:52:27 p.m. and 7:02:05 pm
  • 165 steps between 7:03:55 and 7:11:29 p.m.
  • 200 steps between 7:15:35 and 7:21:52 p.m.
  • 47 steps between 7:28:35 and 7:35:11 p.m.
  • 270 steps between 7:55:32 and 8:05:07 p.m.
  • 29 steps between 7:41:23 pm and 7:48:41 p.m.
  • 74 steps between 8:05:35 and 8:09:52 p.m.
  • 283 steps between 9:02:18 and 9:06:47 p.m.

There is an hour gap between recorded steps -- steps end at 8:09 and begin again at 9:02.

In Dove’s opinion, Alex’s phone was not being moved during the gap in the record.

Alex’s phone timeline captures incoming text messages, calls and steps. Dove testifies he has looked at another report regarding orientation changes on Alex’s phone and there was a gap in time. Dove’s analysis was done in September and some of the phone’s databases overwrote themselves, leading to incomplete data.

Another portion of the report coincides with incoming group text messages received around 8:30 p.m. June 7 but not read until the afternoon of June 8.

Alex's phone started moving at 9:02 p.m., recording steps but the text messages remained unread, unlike other messages that day. Messages received earlier were read, on average, within 20 minutes from then the messages arrived on the phone. According to data available on his phone, Dove says Alex Murdaugh usually responded to messages within an hour of receiving them.

Dove identifies an iPhone belonging to Paul Murdaugh, received on August 13, 2021. The phone had been in Charleston County Sheriff’s Department (Paul McManigle) and was locked when Dove received it. Dove talked to John VanHouten about unlocking Paul’s phone in March 2022. VanHouten was able to unlock the phone and compile a full file system extraction using Cellebrite software, and Dove verified the data with another brand of software. The reports and data from Paul’s phone were placed on an external hard drive.

Dove identifies the Cellebrite call log of Paul’s phone between June 5 and June 7, 2021.

Conrad directs Dove to read out certain items on the June 7 log for Paul's phone:

  • An incoming call 8:32:10 p.m. call from Robert/Lucille Boyle was marked as rejected
  • An outgoing call 8:40:20 p.m. to Rogan Gibson was answered, lasting 4 minutes 14 seconds
  • Outgoing call at 8:44:34 p.m. to Rogan Gibson, a facetime call lasting 11 seconds, was answered. This is the most recent call on Paul’s phone, no other outgoing calls placed, no incoming calls answered.

The Cellebrite report on text messages from June 7 on Paul’s phone indicates:

  • Text received 8:48:48 p.m. from Megan Kimbrell “don’t like watching sad movies,” shows being read at 8:48:59 p.m.
  • Text received from Megan Kimbrell “no I need something happy,” at 8:48:29 p.m. and read at 8:48:59 p.m.
  • Text received at 8:49:35 p.m. from Rogan Gibson – 36 seconds later – marked as status unread.
  • Text received 9:58:35 p.m. from Rogan Gibson, “yo,’ is unread.

From Maggie’s phone, a message from Lynn G received and read at 8:49:27 p.m. The unread messages on Paul and Maggie’s phones are 8 seconds apart.

Although Cellebrite recorded the charge battery on Paul’s phone was down to 2% at the time of Rogan Gibson’s text at 8:49 p.m., in Dove's opinion, the low charge would not have caused Paul to not read the text from Rogan. According to the Cellebrite report, the battery in Paul's phone dies at 10:34 p.m.

Cellebrite was able to record location data from Paul’s phone between 6 p.m. June 7, 2021, and midnight June 7, 2021.

Between 6:44:47 p.m. and 6:46 p.m., the log shows location data entries as latitude and longitude coordinates. Paul’s phone is recording locations every few seconds -- more often than Maggie’s phone – using a Snapchat-related app.

Dove is asked to look at the text message report entered into evidence earlier. There is a series of messages between Paul and Megan Kimbrell:

  • An incoming text message from Megan at 8:29:06 p.m. “you didn’t send me any move recs,” read at 8:29:17 p.m.
  • Outgoing 8:29:36 to Megan, “haha didn’t have a good one”
  • Text from Paul to Megan, “wills may”
  • Incoming from Megan at 8:30:10 “omg,” read at 8:30:13
  • Text sent to Megan, “haha kidding”
  • Text sent to Megan at 8:38:05, “star was born is the move”

On Paul’s phone, at 8:44:49 p.m. on June 7, an entry shows the camera on the phone was being utilized. A corresponding entry shows the camera being turned off at 8:45:47 p.m. Location data shows Paul's phone to be near a red-roofed building on the Moselle property. The camera was on for roughly 58 seconds.

The last text message read on Paul’s phone was from Megan Kimbrell at 8:48:59 p.m. and no other movement, app usage, steps recorded after that time.

Dove looks at the Axiom report prepared from the data recovered on Paul’s phone. Paul's phone records 

  • 109 steps between 6:54:24 and 7:49 p.m.
  • 208 steps between 7:14:13 and 7:22:19 p.m.
  • 139 steps between 7:25:03 and 7:34:47 p.m.
  • 171 steps between 7:35:10 and 7:41:43 p.m.
  • 89 steps between 7:45:27 and 7:55:11 p.m.
  • 140 steps between 8:15:55 and 8:21:45 pm
  • 283 steps between 8:32:25 and 8:42:11 p.m; no other steps recorded after this record. Paul’s phone did not move in any significant degree after this time. 

Dove testifies it is possible the phone may have moved a short distance and not record steps, usually 10 or more steps are recorded.

9:06:20 p.m. is the last recorded movement of Maggie’s phone, when the orientation changed. Dove testifies if the phone is on and unlocked, it would record an orientation change, but if the phone is locked, it is unlikely to record an orientation change.

Dove is asked if a phone is thrown a short distance, could it be thrown without recording an orientation change, Dove says yes.

As far as video or audio recordings on Maggie’s phone, there was nothing significant relating to what happened at Moselle on June 7.

On Paul’s phone, there is a video taken by the camera on the phone that was recorded with GPS data embedded at 8:44:49 p.m. (ending at 8:45:47 p.m.). The video appears it was taken inside the kennel area where Paul is trying to take a photo of the tail end of a dog. There are three distinct voices on the video.

The audio is played for the court.


Defense attorney Phillip Barber asks Dove, is it possible to see the contents of text messages without opening the message? Dove answers yes.

Is it reasonable that someone at 2% battery would conserve the battery and not open the message, Dove answers yes.

Barber states the knowledge C data base records orientation changes, whether the phone is charging, battery usage, and if apps are running in the background. The last orientation change on Maggie’s phone is at 9:26:22

Dove is asked, are you aware Maggie's phone was recovered on the side of the road, about a quarter mile away from Moselle, about 15 feet in the woods? Dove was not aware where the phone was located.

Dove is asked, What does it mean that an orientation takes 8 seconds? Dove testifies it means the phone was in the new position (horizontal/landscape or vertical/portrait) for that period of time

There are incoming texts and phone calls coming in to Maggie's phone during that time, from Alex. The screen would light up when the call or message comes in.

According to the database records, Maggie's Siri User Interface (UI) on her phone starts and stops. Dove testifies Siri could be initiated by pushing the on/off button on the side of the phone or holding the phone for a length of time.

Barber tells Dove that Al Johnson, a retired FBI agent, did analysis on Maggie's phone for the defense team. Dove has not seen Johnson’s reports.

Barber asks Dove, did the steps from Paul and Maggie’s phone record steps together? Dove responds he had looked at the reports separately, not together.

Barber asks is there anything to indicate the two phones were moving together? Dove responds no.

If one person had both phones, Barber asks, would you expect to se a similar number of steps recorded on both phones? Dove said yes.

Barber asks about a timeline prepared by an agent Jan Malinowski and Dove testifies he did not see the final report but did see an early version.

When asked, Dove testifies he had no part in the FBI processing of vehicles on the property.

Dove does not recognize a printout of an HTLM page of the Axiom report. Dove testifies he did not prepare the report in that manner.

Dove is asked to read an entry from the defense’s copy of the Axiom report. It is a list of text messages Maggie sent or received on June 7. Maggie sent messages at 

  • 3:55:26 p.m. and 3:57:16 p.m.
  • an incoming message form Alex asks about her doctor’s appointment; and Maggie responds
  • another outgoing at 4:06:43 p.m.; a message received and read;
  • Incoming from Alex at 7:05:55 p.m. “Paul says you are getting pedi, call when you are done”
  • From Alex at 9:08:58 p.m. “going to check on M be right back”
  • From Alex at 9:47 p.m., “call me babe”

Barber wants to focus on timeline from 8:50 p.m. to 9:08 p.m. Paul’s phone locked at 8:49:01 p.m. and never opened again. Can you tell if a person was using the phone after that and no way to tell if someone used the phone. Dove testifies there was some background apps running.

The display on Maggie’s phone dims at 8:49:28 p.m. and orientation changes to landscape. Two seconds later, the phone is locked.

  • At 8:53, the phone’s screen lights up, but the phone is still locked. An orientation change goes to portrait at this time. 
  • The phone did record 59 steps between 8:53:03 and 8:55:32. The steps recorded covered during this time is approximately 39 meters of distance, during this time there is an orientation change. 
  • Last interface with Siri was at 8:53:20 p.m. The display goes off at 9:03:52 p.m.
  • At 9:06:12 an orientation change begins and two calls from Alex at 9:06:14

Alex Murdaugh’s steps ranged from 9:02 to 9:06:47, 283 steps recorded.

Dove testifies he has not looked at the SLED report on Murdaugh’s vehicle, nor at the timeline report prepared by Malinowski.

According to the prepared timeline, Alex’s Murdaugh’s vehicle starts at 9:08 p.m.. Dove testifies he cannot say if Alex was going to his car or walking around the area when the steps were recorded.

Barber asks Dove if a phone was thrown out of the window of a moving vehicle, should he expect to see an orientation change? Dove says it depends on how it was thrown – flat or end-over-end, what it hits, how it lands.

Barber asks would it be possible for someone walking at 9:02 p.m. and starting a vehicle at 9:08 p.m., then throwing a phone out a moving vehicle, would there be an orientation change? Dove can only testify as to the data on phone.

Barber asks if a person who had Alex’s phone was walking and calling Maggie and about to start Alex’s vehicle. Dove says he can only testify to the data on the phones.

Alex’s phone and Maggie’s phone are not recorded moving together. His is walking, hers is not. It appears the phones are not with a single person, in Dove’s opinion.

An initial extraction was done on Alex’s phone on June 10, but Dove worked off his own extraction and did not rely on the June 10 extraction.

Barber asks if Dove understands Maggie’s phone was recovered on June 8, the day after the murder. Dove says yeas, but he does not know the time of recovery.

Dove identifies the evidence intake form from the SLED crime center for Maggie’s phone, dated June 9, 2021. The form is marked “unknown suspect” and requests an urgent look at the phone.

Barber notes the evidence intake form for Paul’s phone is dated August 13, not marked urgent request.

On Maggie’s phone examination worksheet, it shows the full file extraction was done on June 16. Barber asks about the time lag between receiving the phone and the extraction. Dove testifies he initially did a partial recovery, but software limited the amount of data was recoverable on June 9. Dove says during the 8 days, some location data could have been overwritten as the phone was in airplane mode.

Location information that was found in Maggie’s cache database; the earliest entry June 9 2:51:21 p.m., two days after the murder. The longitude and latitude coordinates are of the SLED building in Columbia.

Asked if the phone had been in a Faraday bag, rather than set on airplane mode, would the GPS data from June 7 have been preserved? Dove testifies as possibly, yes.

Dove is asked if he sees the text message recorded at 9:08:58 p.m.; the message’s status is unread, Dove responds.


Prosecutor John Conrad asks about the potential of Alex and Maggie’s phone carried together between 8:53 and 8:55 p.m.. Steps were recorded during that time, but not after.

Between 8:05 to 8:09:52 p.m., Alex’s phone shows steps but none after 8:09 until just after 9 p.m.

Paul recorded his video near the kennel at 8:44:49 p.m.

There is an orientation change on Maggie's phone at 9:06:12 and two seconds later, a call comes in from Alex; at 9:07 the screen turns off; screen turns on again at 9:31. If the phone was thrown after 9:07, Dove testifies, no orientation change would be recorded.

Conrad asks to take one more look at Alex’s steps: 

  • 283 steps between 9:03 and 9:06
  • 195 steps between 9:22 and 9:32 p.m.
  • 60 steps between 9:35:55 p.m.

Dove says distance recorded not as accurate as number of steps because of the differences in people’s length of their stride, speed at which they walk.

Conrad again looks at Maggie's data log from earlier in the day:

  • Maggie sends a text at 3:55:26 p.m. June 7, “ty I’m waiting at doctor, Alex wants me to come home….”
  • and another at 4:03:14 p.m.
  • 4:06:43 p.m. text says, “I am scared for him and Alex and all of us.” Dove believes the “him” is Alex’s father who is in bad health.

The last data entry is at 8:54:34 p.m. where the camera starts to turn on, followed at 8:54:35 with the camera off – one second total.

Dove is asked if the camera activation is used to take a photo is about 10 seconds to focus. Activation o fa minute, it may be


Barber ask Dove if he is familiar with Springboard metadata on an iPhone. The app would automatically set some camera settings, making taking photos easier.

He asks, if a person activated their phone to take a photo of a perpetrator and had their finger on the activation button to take the photo but was interrupted by being shot, at would that explain the one-second activation.

Dove responds that would depend on the reaction of the person in question. If you turned on the phone to take a photo of a person in that situation it would be unlikely you would turn it off before taking the photo.

Dathan Brian Varnadoe, Colleton County Sheriff's Office

The State called Dathan Brian Varnadoe, a sergeant with 10 years at the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), first as a road deputy and then in investigations.

On June 7, Varnadoe was called in as an investigator to the Moselle property. He testifies he had responded to a call to the property years prior and on June 7, responded to the call and after arriving, he parked at the top of the road leading to the dog kennels.

Varnadoe is shown an aerial view of the Moselle property by prosecutor John Meadors, and Varnadoe indicates where he parked and where he walked onto the property. Varnadoe testifies he saw the bodies of Paul and Maggie but did not approach that area.

Varnadoe contacted Cpt. Chapman, his supervisor, and was told to locate Alex Murdaugh and take a gunshot residue (GSR) test of his hands.

Varnadoe testifies he had met Alex Murdaugh before. Varnadoe was an expert witness on gang violence in a case where Murdaugh was the prosecuting attorney. Murdaugh wanted Varnadoe to testify about gang slang and terminology used in phone calls between defendants in the case.

Varnadoe told Murdaugh on June 7 he needed to do the GSR test on his hands and proceeded to do so.

Varnadoe demonstrated to the court how he conducted the GSR test. He testifies he did not smell alcohol on Alex, that Alex seemed to understand the questions Varnadoe asked of him and understood the GSR process. Varnadoe does not recall Alex’s hands shaking.

Varnadoe goes over the paper form filed with the GSR test. He says Alex’s hands were clean. Varnadoe noticed the white t-shirt Alex was wearing that night and noted it was clean, not dirty.

The GSR test was conducted at 11:15 p.m.


Defense attorney Jim Griffin asks if Alex cooperated fully the night you conducted the GSR, Varnadoe says yes.

Griffin says the trial Varnadoe testifies in for Murdaugh involved a drug gang considered to be dangerous, Varnadoe says yes.

Griffin asks if Varnadoe was aware a portion of the Moselle property was once used as a runway for small aircraft. Varnadoe was not aware.

Griffin asks if Alex was cordial and respectful, Varnadoe says yes. Always respectful? Yes.

Told you he understood you were doing your job with the GSR test? Yes.

But he was shook up? Varnadoe replies, He was shook up.

You did your level best to get every particle of GSR evidence off his hands that night? Varnadoe replies he conducted the test “the way I was shown.”

Did you know Alex retrieved a gun from the house earlier and gunshot residue can transfer? Varnadoe say he did not.

Varnadoe testifies he was not involved in collecting Alex’s clothing.

Griffin asks if a photo of Paul is an accurate representation of what he saw that night? Varnadoe says yes.


Did you testify in Murdaugh’s case about gang slang that “whistle” is about concealing a weapon?

Rogan Gibson

Rogan Gibson is a farmer in Colleton County and had known Paul Murdaugh since he was 11 or 12 years old. Gibson lived next door and went hunting and fishing with Paul.

Gibson testifies Paul loved the property at Moselle and he was a fun guy to be around. The Murdaugh family became a second family to him. Gibson had nicknames for all of the Murdaugh family members – Paul was Rooster, Alex was Big Red.

The Murdaughs also had properties in Hampton County and at Edisto Beach that Gibson said he spent time at. He believes Moselle was purchased around 2010. He and Paul rode around the property and worked some of the fields.

Gibson is shown an aerial view of the property and points out areas on the property. He points out the house, the kennels and hangar, the shooting house used for target practice. Over a line of trees is a dove field.

Meadors asks what he and Paul hunted – hogs, dove, deer, turkey – anything they could hunt. “A lot of times they’d hunt at night using a night scope, a 300 Blackout.”

They used the 300 Blackout, Gibson said it was the one that belonged to Buster. One of the Blackouts was black, the other tan and was told the tan one was taken out of Paul’s truck at a party. Gibson does not recall a 300 Blackout being replaced.

Gibson testified Paul favored a Silver Black Eagle 12-gauge shotgun to hunt, and Paul would carry the Blackout, the shotgun and some pistols with him in his vehicles.

Gibson testified he and Paul would hunt hogs all over the property at night with the 300 Blackout, trading off driving and shooting. Sometimes the guys would dress the hog, leave the hog or take the hog to someone who wanted it.

Gibson testified Maggie preferred to stay at Edisto because of the yellow flies at Moselle.

Gibson testified he was staying with his girlfriend and had a 6-month-old chocolate lab but couldn’t keep the dog, Cash, with them because where his girlfriend lived. He left the dog at the kennels at Moselle. He would keep the dog there during the week and pick him up to take him to his house on St. Helena.

On June 7, Gibson said Paul called to say the sunflowers in the dove field had been sprayed and he was going out to replace them. Gibson said Paul would usually respond pretty quick to his calls and texts. Around 8:40, Paul called Gibson to ask if there was anything wrong with Cash’s tail, Gibson told him to send him a photo or facetime call so he could see the dog’s tail. On the call, Gibson testifies he thinks he heard Maggie’s voice and Alex’s voice along with Paul. Paul was going to send a video, after trying to facetime a call that was lagging. Gibson never received the video. Gibson reached out to Paul and didn’t get a response; he tried reaching out to Maggie and never got a response. Gibson said he went to bed around 10 p.m. and woke up with some missed calls around 5 a.m. One of the missed calls, from Nolan, told Gibson about Paul and Maggie’s death so Gibson headed towards Moselle.

Gibson said he saw John Marvin at the property but did not talk to him.

Meadors shows Gibson a printout of the data from his phone, and he positively identifies the log of calls and texts from his phone.

Paul called Gobson at 8:40 p.m. that lasted 4 minutes. Gibson says the call was about Cash, Gibson’s call. At 8:44 p.m. an eleven-second Facetime call came through but was lagging and Gibson was waiting for a video from Paul.

Gibson sent a text to Paul at 8:49 p.m. telling him to send a video of Cash. He texts back

He tried calling Paul at 9:10 p.m., 9:29 p.m., 9:42 p.m., 9:57 p.m. and 10:08 p.m.; he tried texting Maggie at 9:34 p.m.

A series of missed calls from Alex appeared on Gibson’s phone at 10:24 p.m., 10:25 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Gibson said he told law enforcement he thought he was 99 percent sure he heard Alex’s voice on the call from the kennels the night Paul and Maggie were killed.

Maggie’s mother asked about his last call with Paul, and he told her he thought he heard Alex’s voice on the call

Gibson was asked by law enforcement in November 2022 to review the video Paul took of Cash – the one Gibson never received – that had been obtained from data downloaded from Paul’s phone. Gibson told them in the interview that he was 100 percent sure one of the voices on the video belonged to Alex Murdaugh.

Meadors asks if Paul and Maggie sounded stressed, if they were in danger or if they were talking as if there was someone there with them that they knew. Gibson said Paul and Maggie sounded normal. And the voice Gibson was sure as Alex sounded normal as well.

Gibson testified Paul would ride down to the kennels, Maggie would ride a bike or ATV.

Meadors plays the video in court.

Gibson testifies he recognizes Paul’s voice, Maggie’s voice, and 100 percent sure its Alex’s voice on the video.


Defense attorney Jim Griffin asks Gibson to describe Paul to the court and mentions it must be a hard day for him.

Griffin says Maggie and Alex treated Gibson like family. Gibson says Alex treated him like one of his own and had permission to come and go and use the equipment on the farm.

Gibson says Paul and Alex had a close relationship. Moselle was Paul’s passion, he loved hunting and using the equipment to maintain a hunting environment. Maggie was like second mother, treated Gibson like a son. Maggie liked the beach. Gibson says the Moselle and Edisto homes were open to all of Paul and Buster’s friends and Alex enjoyed being around his family.

Griffin asks Gibson If he knew of Paul’s boating accident where Mallory Beach was killed. Gibson testified he didn’t think the threats Paul received about the accident were serious.

Griffin asks if Alex was a coach to Paul and Buster when they played sports when the boys were younger, and he says yes and testifies Alex and Maggie attended the sporting events.

In June 2021, Paul moved back to Colleton County, working with John Marvin, and sometimes staying at Moselle.

Gibson is asked about vehicles on the property -- Paul drove a white Ford F-250, an older white F-250, a black Ford F-150 that Buster owned. Paul left guns in the trucks.

Griffin asks Gibson if Paul left guns in the workshop and Gibson recalls seeing guns there.

Griffin asks if someone bent on mischief would have a hard time entering the sheds or the vehicles on the Moselle property? Gibson says no, there are no security cameras and sometimes the vehicles and buildings were unlocked.

Almeda is nearer to Varnville, to get there from Moselle, you can either go out on Moselle Road and turn right or leave going through the kennels.

Paul’s cell phone usage, Paul would let it go down and try to preserve it. Cell phone coverage at Moselle is spotty, Gibson says.

When asked, Gibson testifies, from the kennels to the house is roughly under a two-minute drive, fast enough can be under a minute.

Gibson goes duck hunting with Paul and the duck pond is drained after the season to make it ready for the next season.

Gibson is asked about waterfowl ammunition versus turkey. Gibson says duck hunters use steel shot because it’s required, no lead to contaminate the water.

Paul used the 300 Blackout with the thermal scope, according to Gibson. Gibson said he never saw Paul use a 300 Blackout without a scope.

Griffin asks about the video. Griffin asks if he heard Maggie’s voice, Paul’s voice and Alex’s voice and Gibson said he did. Griffin asks about the 4-minute call Gibson had with Paul on June 7, and the next day when Gibson went to Moselle and talked to Maggie’s parents. Gibson said he told Maggie’s parents he heard Paul, Maggie and Alex’s voices on the call.

Gibson said Alex seemed upset, he cried and hugged Gibson.

Gibson is asked if he knew of any instance where Alex would brutally murder Paul and Maggie, Gibson said no.


Gibson testifies he was never aware of anyone stealing anything from Moselle

Going back over his initial testimony, Gibson testifies again the call from Paul went through but the Facetime call did not. Paul was to send a video, but Gibson never received it

Meadors asks Gibson if someone on the second floor of the Moselle residence could see the top of the shed where the dogs were located: Gibson says yes.

Gibson testifies there is outdoor lighting at the kennels, and you could see the lights from the house.

About the boat wreck, Gibson was aware Paul had been charged and Alex was being sued. Gibson was under the impression Alex Murdaugh was a rich man.

Will Loving

After the break for lunch, the State calls Will Loving.

Loving grew up in Columbia and works in Charleston at a marine construction company. He has been friends with Paul since the age of 15, when they met at Edisto Beach. Loving and Paul began hanging out more when they were 18, 19-years old. Loving is 26 years old now.

Loving testifies in addition to hanging out, he and Paul lived together for a bit in Columbia, and had planned on moving to a new rental with a third friend before Paul was murdered.

At Moselle, Loving said he and Paul hunted. "Early on hunting hogs with dogs, later at night using a gun with a thermal scope." 

Loving testified they used a 300 Blackout to hunt hogs. He was aware of two 300 Blackouts and heard of a third Blackout that was a replacement for one that was stolen from Paul’s truck. 

Loving testified a 300 Blackout without a thermal sight usually stayed in the gun room at Moselle. He said was with Paul when Paul purchased a red-dot sight for the 300 Blackout in March or April of 2021 from a local Ace Hardware store. Loving said he and Paul put the red-dot sight on the rifle that day and “sighted it in” – calibrated the scope with the barrel of the gun.

In an aerial photograph, Loving points out the main house at Moselle and some of the outbuildings, as well as the two driveways on the property. Loving said he used both driveways when entering and exiting the property. He points out the shooting shed and the dove fields.

After sighting the red-dot sight on the tan 300 Blackout, Loving says he and Paul tested it outside the door of the gun room.

Loving recalls the approximate date of the red-dot because that weekend Loving and Paul used the tan and the black 300 Blackouts to shoot at hogs. He remembers he and Paul came across four turkeys in a tree and discussed turkey hunting.

Loving testified  he and Paul used the railing outside the gun room to brace the Blackout rifle when they sighted in the red-dot, and tested the sight by firing the rifle outside the door. Paul did most of the shooting, Loving said.

Loving does not recall seeing the tan 300 Blackout rifle after that day.

He said Paul preferred a Silver Eagle Benelli 21-gauge shotgun for turkey hunting. The gun had a distinctive camouflage pattern.

Loving identifies the shed at the shooting range on Moselle. He said the 300 Blackout was louder than a shotgun but Paul didn’t want a suppressor on the gun because it would decrease its firepower.

When asked, Loving said he doesn’t believe firearms were kept at the kennels.

On June 7, Loving testifies Paul called him about getting a hot tub for the new apartment and then Paul sent Loving a Snapchat video of Paul and Alex riding around the property.

Loving said as he got to know Maggie, he noticed she liked to walk down to the kennels to walk the family’s two labs. Sometimes she would ride her bike or an ATV, but she usually went down there during the day. Loving said he doesn’t recall her going down there after dark.

Loving testified Paul used his cell phone a lot and usually kept it in one of his front pockets.

Loving said on June 7, he got some calls in the middle of the night and was finally awakened by a call from a cousin of Paul’s and he got up and headed to Charleston.

Loving testified when he did see Alex later, he did not ask Alex about the events of June 7.

He testified he knew about the boat case in which Paul had been charged and Alex had been sued. Loving said he didn’t bring up the boat case with Paul.

Loving said the Murdaughs sold a property in Hampton, and he had heard through the grapevine that the family had sold the property to pay for some of the lawsuits Alex was facing.

Back to the guns, Loving testifies the accuracy of the 300 Blackout was about 300 yards. Loving said the 300 with the red-dot was useless for hunting at night because it didn't have a thermal scope, but he and Paul took it with them anyway.

When Paul needed money, Loving testified, he usually texted his dad. He testified Paul like to go to Charleston a lot and Moselle a lot and “he was all over.”

Loving testifies he had viewed the video from the dog kennels from the night of June 7 and that he recognized the voices of Paul, Maggie, and Alex Murdaugh, “100 percent.”


Griffin asks Loving about a Snapchat video he received from Paul on June 7 with Paul and Alex riding around the Moselle property. Snapchat videos are supposed to disappear after a while, but you can save them. Loving says Paul would send videos to whoever he wanted to.

Loving said he doesn’t think Paul kept his Snapchat location turned on.

Loving testifies Paul was friends with Loving's friends and left a 300 Blackout at his home for about a month. When another friend, Wills Chapman, moved from Columbia to Charleston, Chapman found one of Paul’s guns in a closet.

The 300 Blackout with the thermal scope was the one left at Loving’s house.

On cross, Loving again said he was present when Paul purchased the red-dot scope and sighted it in on the rifle. Loving said he didn’t see the 300 Blackout rifle again.

Griffin shows Loving the receipt for the red-dot sight purchased at Ace Hardware on March 6, 2021, a Saturday, with Paul’s signature on the receipt. Loving says they sighted the gun that day and went turkey hunting on opening day of the season, three weeks later.

Loving says the last time he saw Paul in person was over Memorial Day weekend at Edisto. Paul, Maggie and Alex were there three or four other friends. Paul appeared to be the apple of Alex’s eye. Loving believes Maggie and Paul had a great relationship.

At Edisto, a birthday party was held for Alex over Memorial Day weekend. Griffin asks about a short video taken from the event. The video is played for the court. In it, Loving describes people at Edisto singing Happy Birthday to Alex

When he got the call about Paul’s death, he testifies he left his house in a hurry and went to Moselle with some friends of Paul. Loving describes Alex’s demeanor as grieving. Alex couldn’t talk, just hugged people and cried.


Meadors asks about a man in the green shirt on the video. Loving identifies him as Chris Wilson.

Meadors asks about the June 7 Snapchat video with Alex and Paul riding around looking at trees on the Moselle property. Loving says he got the video around 7 p.m. that night. Loving describes the clothing work by Alex in the video – long pants and shoes.

Again, Loving describes the relationship between Alex, Maggie and Paul as a loving one.

Loving says he knew nothing about Alex’s money, his law practice, the boat case, being confronted about $72,000 missing from his business, the civil case against Alex, or any financial situation facing the Murdaughs.

The trial will resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m. 

You can find trial updates here every day.  

Live streaming coverage can be on wltx.com, on the WLTX+ streaming app on Amazon Fire and Roku TV, and on the News19 WLTX YouTube page.

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