OAN Geraldyn Berry
12:49 PM PT – Thursday, March 2, 2023
In an update in regards to the Alex Murdaugh double murder trial, a juror has been removed from the case.
“In order to preserve the integrity of the process and the interests of both the state and the defense in a fair trial, that juror will be removed and replaced by another juror,” Newman told the court.
This comes as the juror had reportedly been in communication about the case to outside sources.
Presiding Judge Clifton Newman made the announcement before the defense’s closing argument. The judge had received a tip from a member of the public about a juror who had “improper conversations with parties not associated with the case.”
This accusation was repeatedly denied by the juror. However, statements from three witnesses had refuted that denial. According to the witnesses, the juror had spoken to at least three people about her thoughts on the evidence used in the trial.
The juror was informed by Newman that despite his orders not to, he had come to the conclusion that she had discussed the issue “intentionally or unwittingly” with people who were not on the jury, and that he was therefore obligated to remove her from the jury.
“I’m sure that with all the time you’ve invested in it, you probably hate not to continue,” Newman said. “I’m not suggesting that you intentionally did anything wrong, but that in order to preserve the integrity of the process and in fairness to all the parties involved, we’re going to replace you with one of the other jurors.”
Alex Murdaugh is accused of fatally shooting his wife and younger son in June 2021, at the family’s 1,772-acre hunting estate Moselle in Islandton. The disgraced South Carolina attorney was charged with their murders more than a year later.
52-year-old Margaret Murdaugh and 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh were discovered dead from multiple gunshot wounds. 54-year-old Alex Murdaugh has adamantly denied killing them and entered a not-guilty plea.
Before the defense began presenting their closing argument, a new juror was sworn in.