Alex Murdaugh live trial: Jury hears crucial data from Maggie’s cellphone after focus on family’s guns


Alex Murdaugh: Who is the disgraced attorney and why is he on trial?

Alex Murdaugh’s words in the aftermath of the murders of his wife and son continued to be a focus on Tuesday in Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina.

In his second interview with law enforcement officers — three days after he is accused of shooting dead Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, at the family’s estate in Islandton — he appeared to say: “I did him so bad” in reference to his son.

While prosecutors sought to suggest that he slipped up, others raised doubts, with some believing he says: “They did him so bad.”

The jury was also presented with more information about the wide variety of ammunition found at the property matching that used in the murders, as well as details of the Murdaugh sons’ guns. Intriguingly, twice prosecutors have referred to a credit card statement found in the garbage with a purchase from Gucci circled.

Some of the most riveting evidence of the day came from detailed analysis of Maggie’s cellphone data from which prosecutors are trying to pinpoint an accurate time of death from the phone’s event log.

The trial is only one of Mr Murdaugh’s troubles in a saga spanning a botched hitman plot, multi-million-dollar fraud schemes, and unexplained deaths.


Court goes into recess

Court has gone into recess until 9.30am on Wednesday when Lt Dove’s testimony will continue.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 22:40


We now move on to steps recorded by the iPhone’s health app.

Lt Dove explains that it is not the most accurate data, but provides an indication of movement. Maggie’s phone moved 38 steps from 8.17pm after the phone was unplugged.

Another 43 steps were recorded between 8.30pm and 8.33pm.

Another 59 steps were taken between 8.53pm at 8.55pm during which there were orientation changes and the camera came on for a second but the phone did not unlock.

No further steps were recorded until the next day when the phone was collected.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 22:39


There is then a gap of 22 minutes before the next event log at 9.31pm when the display comes on and off a few times — possibly as the phone was moved.

At 9.34pm Rogan Gibson’s unread text comes in.

At 9.47pm Alex texts “Call me, babe.” That text goes unread.

There was no further activity.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 22:31


At 9.04pm Maggie’s phone receives the first call from Alex’s phone which goes unanswered.

At 9.06pm there is an orientation change to portrait indicating the phone was in someone’s hand. Two seconds later, another call comes into her phone from Alex’s phone and goes unanswered.

There are no orientation changes after that.

Approximately 30 seconds later the third phone call from Alex comes in.

At 9.07pm the screen goes on and off.

At 9.08pm Alex texts that he is going to see his mother. The text is never read.

There is a gap of 2 minutes and seven seconds between the call from Alex and the text from him.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 22:26


The phone remained locked between 8.49pm on 7 June 2021 and 1.10pm the following day.

At 8.53pm the display went off.

There is an orientation change from landscape to portrait and later a change back again. There are corresponding registrations for the screen going on and off.

At 8.54pm the camera activates for one second, possibly indicating an attempt to unlock the phone with facial recognition.

There is no record of what the camera shows, but if it were Maggie’s face it would have unlocked. It could however be pointed at anything.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 22:18


Lt Gove discusses “event history” on the phone — its location data, whether it was locked or unlocked, screen orientation etc.

At 8.17pm the phone was unplugged from a charger.

At 8.30pm she visited the fashion website “Poshmark”.

At 8.49pm the screen lit up. This could either be a notification or someone moving the phone, e.g. picking it up. The data shows that the phone was unlocked and then relocked. This was the same time the text message from Lynn G came in and was read. We learn that the text came in at 8.41pm.

At 8. pm the phone registers a change in orientation. Lt Dove says an orientation change is caused by someone picking up a phone or purposefully rotating it. Asked if a phone could register a change in orientation by being dropped, he says nothing would register unless the screen was on.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 22:09


Next Lt Gove is asked to look at text messages from Alex.

The first is at 9.04pm and it is unread.

The state asks Lt Gove to confirm that no messages were read on Maggie’s phone after 8.49pm on 7 June 2021.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 21:55


Lt Dove clarifies that the data does not show who reads a text, answers a call, or touches the screen, but you have to know the passcode or use facial recognition technology to use the phone for anything other than an emergency call.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 21:53


The prosecution now moves on to Maggie’s text messages. A point is made that this report also shows whether a message was read or not.

It also shows messages from chats as well as texts, but the texts will be in chronological order in the report.

There is a group text between John Marvin, Maggie, Alex, and other family members received at 8.31pm. The message was read at 8.31pm, about 16 seconds after it was sent and is John Marvin saying he plans to visit his father (who was gravely ill in hospital) and asking if anyone else would like to join him.

The next text is from Lynn G (Alex’s sister) which was read at 8.49pm. She says she is in court all week.

Another text comes through at 9.34pm, this time from Rogan Gibson. It remains unread.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 21:50


Maggie made a call to “Barbara” that evening at 7.50pm for 2 minutes and 46 seconds.

This was the last call made or received by Maggie.

Alex called the phone at 9.04pm and twice at 9.06pm and none of the calls were answered.

Lt Dove confirms he has also examined Alex’s phone.

Alex called Maggie’s phone again at 9.45pm and for a final time at 10.03pm. They were not answered either.

Alex’s call to 911 came at 10.06pm.

Oliver O’Connell31 January 2023 21:40

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