Disbarred South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh accelerated when he passed the location where his slain wife's phone had been ditched on the side of the road, a witness testified Friday at his double murder trial.
The state's 61st witness, special agent Peter Rudofski, of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, plotted 4,820 GPS coordinates from Murdaugh's Chevrolet Suburban on the day of the slayings in a series of maps displayed to jurors. Rudofski also documented Murdaugh's rate of speed.
Murdaugh left his family's sprawling hunting estate in Islandton, South Carolina, at 9:06 p.m. June 7, 2021, to visit his mother in nearby Almeda.
According to prosecutors, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were already dead – gunned near the property's dog kennels at 8:50 p.m.
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On his way to Almeda, Alex Murdaugh drove 42 mph as he neared the location where Maggie's iPhone was found the next morning.
"After passing that location does the vehicle start to accelerate?" asked lead prosecutor Creighton Waters in the Colleton County Courthouse.
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"It does," replied Rudofski, indicating the SUV then began driving at 45 mph.
General Motors only turned over the new data for Murdaugh's SUV last weekend after contacting prosecutors and informing them they had discovered the additional information.
A prior witness could only tell jurors when the car went into park or drive. Rudofski walked jurors through Murdaugh's movements the entire day – including his arrival at his Hampton law firm, then known as Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, at 12:24 p.m.
He returned home from the law office at 6:42 p.m., and on both legs of the journey he didn't exceed 65.8 mph.
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On Murdaugh's drive to Alameda, he drove a maximum speed of 74.4 mph and parked "closer to the wood line and the outbuildings," Rudofski testified.
Prosecutors have implied that Murdaugh may have disposed of the murder weapons on his visit to his mom.
After spending 20 minutes at his mom's home, Murdaugh returned to Moselle driving a maximum of 80.16 mph on pothole-ridden Moselle Road.
His average speed was also faster than it had been for any other trip he took that day, the witness said.
Waters asked Rudofski if he'd ever driven that quickly on Moselle Road when he responded with lights and sirens to an emergency.
"I have not," he replied pointing out the heavy deer population and the roughness of the road.
Murdaugh told investigators he was at his mother's home for 45 to 50 minutes.
His mother's caretaker, who was present for the visit, testified that Murdaugh had pressured her to corroborate this false statement if anyone asked.
Murdaugh arrived at the dog kennels at 10:05:39 p.m. and called 911 at 10:06 p.m. on the dot, according to the data presented to jurors in the Walterboro, South Carolina, courtroom.
Murdaugh told the 911 dispatcher that he had checked both Paul and Maggie's pulses before he called. Their bodies were about 30 feet apart.
Rudofski next walked jurors through an excruciatingly detailed timeline of the night of the murders, which has already been presented through other witnesses --including phone calls, texts and other data.
Prosecutors said Rudofski would likely be their final witness before turning the floor over to the defense.