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Monday, July 15, 2024

Alex Murdaugh denied new double-murder trial after choose hears jury tampering allegations – Nationwide | Globalnews.ca Specific Instances

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A South Carolina choose on Monday denied Alex Murdaugh‘s bid for a brand new trial after his defence staff accused a clerk of courtroom of tampering with a jury.

Choose Jean Toal mentioned she wasn’t certain if Colleton County Clerk Becky Hill was telling the reality that she by no means spoke to jurors in regards to the case, saying she was “attracted by the siren name of movie star.”

However Toal mentioned the 12 jurors who testified all mentioned any feedback didn’t straight affect their resolution to seek out Murdaugh responsible.

Toal mentioned after reviewing the total transcript of the six-week trial, she couldn’t overturn the decision primarily based “on the power of some fleeting and silly feedback by a publicity-seeking clerk of courtroom” as a result of they didn’t actively change the jurors’ minds.

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All 12 jurors took the 90-mile (145-kilometre) journey from Colleton County to Columbia to provide what was sometimes about three minutes of testimony, largely yes-or-no questions from the choose’s script. Murdaugh, now a convicted killer, disbarred lawyer and admitted thief serving a life sentence, wore an orange jail jumpsuit as he watched along with his legal professionals.

Hill additionally testified, denying she ever spoke in regards to the case or Murdaugh in any respect with jurors.

“I by no means talked to any jurors about something like that,” Hill mentioned.

Toal questioned her truthfulness after Hill mentioned she used “literary license” for some issues she wrote about in her e-book in regards to the trial, together with whether or not she feared as she learn the decision that the jury would possibly find yourself discovering him not responsible.

“I did have a sure means I felt,” Hill mentioned.

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Murdaugh’s defence later known as Barnwell County Clerk Rhonda McElveen, who helped Hill in the course of the trial. McElveen mentioned that Hill advised earlier than the trial that they write a e-book on the case collectively, “as a result of she needed a lake home and I needed to retire,” and {that a} responsible verdict would promote extra books.

Underneath cross-examination, McElveen mentioned she didn’t attain out to the trial choose as a result of she didn’t suppose any of Hill’s feedback or behaviors rose to the extent of misconduct.

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Hill was additionally questioned about why she advised individuals hours earlier than the jury obtained the case that she anticipated deliberations to be brief. The clerk mentioned it was a intestine feeling after years in a courtroom.

The bizarre listening to was prompted partly by a sworn assertion from the primary juror known as to the stand Monday.

She affirmed what she mentioned final August, repeating Monday that Hill advised jurors to notice Murdaugh’s actions and “watch him carefully” when he testified in his personal defence.

“She made it appear to be he was already responsible,” the lady, recognized solely as Juror Z, mentioned. Requested whether or not this influenced her vote to seek out him responsible, she mentioned, “Sure ma’am.”

In later questioning, the juror mentioned she additionally stands by one other assertion she made within the August affidavit: that it was her fellow jurors, greater than the clerk’s statements, that influenced her to vote responsible.

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“I had questions on Mr. Murdaugh’s guilt however voted responsible as a result of I felt pressured by different jurors,” she mentioned.

The remainder of the jury filed in one after the other and mentioned their verdicts weren’t influenced by something outdoors the trial. One mentioned he heard Hill say “watch his physique language” earlier than Murdaugh testified, however mentioned Hill’s remark didn’t change his thoughts.

“You’ve got 11 of them sturdy as a rock who mentioned this verdict was not influenced,” prosecutor Creighton Waters mentioned. “The proof is overwhelming from the individuals who mattered.”

Defence lawyer Jim Griffin mentioned Toal’s perception that Hill was not credible will finally be a win in an appeals courtroom and Murdaugh’s conviction can be overturned.

“The harmless man was wrongly convicted — we didn’t suppose she would say that,” Griffin mentioned outdoors courtroom.

Murdaugh’s fall from his position as an lawyer lording over his small county to a sentence of life with out parole has been exhaustively coated by true crime reveals, podcasts and bloggers.

Toal set a tough normal for Murdaugh’s legal professionals. She dominated the protection should show that potential misconduct by Hill straight led jurors to alter their minds to responsible.

Toal was Chief Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court docket for 15 years earlier than retiring. She was appointed by the present excessive courtroom justices to rule on the juror misconduct allegations.

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Toal additionally restricted what could possibly be requested of Hill, ruling out intensive questions on a felony investigation into whether or not the elected clerk used her workplace for monetary acquire, emailed prosecutors with strategies on the way to discredit a protection knowledgeable, conspired together with her son who’s charged with wiretapping county telephones, or plagiarized a part of her e-book utilizing a passage from a BBC reporter who by chance emailed her as an alternative of her boss with an identical handle.

Hill admitted lifting the writing of the BBC reporter throughout her Monday testimony.

Even when Murdaugh, 55, will get a brand new homicide trial he received’t stroll out free. He’s additionally serving 27 years after admitting he stole $12 million from his regulation agency and from settlements he gained for purchasers on wrongful demise and critical harm lawsuits. Murdaugh promised to not enchantment that sentence as a part of his plea deal.

Murdaugh has remained adamant that he didn’t kill his youthful son Paul with a shotgun and his spouse Maggie with a rifle, for the reason that second he advised deputies he discovered their our bodies at their Colleton County dwelling in 2021. He testified in his personal defence.

Even when this effort fails, Murdaugh hasn’t even began the common appeals of his sentence, the place his legal professionals are anticipated to argue a number of explanation why his homicide trial was unfair, together with the choose permitting voluminous testimony of his monetary crimes. They mentioned this enabled prosecutors to smear Murdaugh with proof circuitously linked to the killings.

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