Witness testimony in Alex Murdaugh murder trial


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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Defense will begin cross-examining South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) special agent Jeff Croft Tuesday, the tenth witness in the Alex Murdaugh murder trial

Murdaugh is accused of killing his wife Margaret and youngest son Paul at their family property in June of 2021.


Get caught up on the Alex Murdaugh investigations

On Monday, SLED special agent Melinda Worley wrapped up her testimony. The defense took aim at the investigative process, and Worley admitted that on some occasions, mistakes were made.

During Croft’s testimony, prosecutors introduced body camera video of Murdaugh being interviewed just days after the murders. That video highlighted what appeared to be an early inconsistency in Murdaugh’s story.

Prosecutor Creighton Waters asks witness Jeff Croft, a SLED senior special agent, questions about weapons and ammunition collected from Alex Murdaugh’s home during Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Monday, January 30, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

He told investigators in the interview that the last time he saw Maggie and Paul was when they ate dinner. However, both prosecution and defense have acknowledged that a Snapchat video apparently showing the family together at the kennels was taken around 8:44 p.m. that night, well after Murdaugh claimed to have last seen them. That evidence has yet to be presented in court.

Court is set to resume at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.


9:39 a.m. – Defense attorney Jim Griffin begins cross-examination of SLED special agent Jeff Croft. He asks about Croft’s role in the case searching the home and investigating firearms.

He asks if the search was part of a search warrant. Croft says there was a warrant obtained earlier, but the search was a consent search. Griffin asks if Croft knows that the warrant was all-encompassing and that they could’ve searched the whole house for anything. Croft says he was focused on the gun room. Griffin asks if Croft knows of anyone searching for bloody clothes. Croft says he was focused on the gun room.

Griffin moves on to ask about guns and ammunition.

He asks why guns were introduced into evidence if they were not the murder weapons. He asks if SLED tested those weapons and found that they were likely not the murder weapons. Croft says he does not have the report and can’t answer that.

Griffin asks Croft if SLED has ever found the murder weapons. Croft says not that he is aware of.

Griffin introduces some boxes of ammunition and asks Croft about the difference between led and steel ammunition. Croft says that steel is used for waterfowl and led is used for everyday hunting – rabbits, squirrels, doves, etc.

Griffin asks if Croft collected any waterfowl ammunition from the property. Croft says no. Griffin asks if Croft found any steel ammunition around Moselle during his search. Croft says no. Griffin asks if Croft is aware that the shot that killed Paul was a steel shot. Croft says he was aware. Griffin asks if any similar ammunition was found anywhere around the property. Croft says no.

Griffin moves on to ask about how Maggie’s phone was located. Croft says that John Marvin Murdaugh assisted with locating it via Find my iPhone. The phone was located a few hundred yards outside of the family property.

Griffin asks if anyone had a Faraday Bag, which prevents any outside sources from tampering with the phone. Croft said that the phone was not put in a Faraday Bag when it was seized.

Griffin asks about whether Murdaugh was being looked at as a potential suspect on June 8. Croft said yes. Griffin acknowledges it is common for the person that finds the bodies, especially when they are close to the victims, to be looked at.

Griffin asks if they had a label for Murdaugh that day: person of interest, suspect, etc? Croft says they were looking at him as the person who found the bodies. He says the circle of interest is the crime scene and people there (Maggie, Paul, Alex). They investigate that circle and work their way out. Griffin notes Murdaugh was the only living person in that circle.

Griffin asks if Croft was aware of media reports June 8 that Murdaugh was a person of interest. Croft says he tries to avoid media reports to avoid influence.

Griffin asks about the SLED statement issued on June 8 saying there was no threat to the public. Croft says he was not aware of the statement.

Griffin asks if anyone from SLED went June 8 to search Murdaugh’s mother’s house, where Murdaugh claimed he was the night before, to confirm his alibi. Croft said that he did not go, but he can’t testify to what other agents did. Griffin asks why no one went to check the house for inculpatory or exculpatory evidence to help determine Murdaugh’s role. Croft says he can’t testify to what-ifs.

Griffin asks about Murdaugh’s law partners that were there on June 8. He asks if they were there as friends or if Murdaugh was “lawyering up.” Croft says they were giving counsel. He says they also pointed out some things to investigators as they searched the scene.

Griffin asks about subsequent searches. Croft says that Murdaugh gave consent to every search.

Griffin moves on to asking about evidence seized in a subsequent search, a 300-blackout clip found in a black Ford F-150. Griffin asks if any analysis of the evidence was done or if any finger prints were taken. Croft says it doesn’t appear so. Griffin asks why untested evidence that has no apparent connection to the crime was brought in as evidence. Croft says he does not know. Griffin reminds Croft that Murdaugh told him in the June 10 interview that Paul leaves everything — including guns and ammunition — everywhere. Griffin asks if ammunition being left in a truck would fit that pattern. Croft says it could.

Griffin asks if anyone went to a dirt mount at the end of the shooting range to dig through and look for projectiles. Griffin asks if projectiles from that mound could’ve been sent to SLED for comparison to other projectiles found at the crime scene and around the property. Croft says a lot of elements go into that. Griffins specifically suggests they could’ve compared those to the 300-blackout rifle seized from the scene.

Griffin moves on to asking about the interview with Murdaugh conducted on June 10. Griffin says John Marvin, Randy, and Buster Murdaugh were also interviewed that day. They were each interviewed by two agents around the same time.

9:36 a.m. – Court is in session. Before bringing the jury in, defense attorney Dick Harpootlian asked to put on the record his team’s gratitude to the clerk of court, the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office, and all parties involved. He said that he has tried many cases in many jurisdictions and never has been treated with more courtesy. That sentiment was echoed by the prosecution.

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