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Murdaugh trial, Day 18: Lead investigator reveals key details from case

WALTERBORO, S.C. – South Carolina Law Enforcement Division special agent David Owen spent most of the day Wednesday testifying as the lead investigator in the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

Owen interviewed Murdaugh three times following the 2021 shooting that killed Maggie and Paul. Murdaugh’s first interview with Owen happened on the night of the murders, and the second occurred on June 10.

The third and final interview between Owen and Murdaugh happened on August 11, when Cory Fleming was present. The interview was played in court for the first time on Wednesday.

In the interview, Murdaugh said he got home earlier than usual on the night of the murders, around 5:30 p.m. He added that Paul got there about the same time. Murdaugh said Maggie arrived home later from out of town, but he wasn’t “totally surprised” to see her.

During the interview, Owen asked Murdaugh about the Snapchat video taken June 7 showing him planting a tree and wearing different clothing than what he was wearing later that night. When asked when he changed clothes, Murdaugh told Owen it must have been when he returned to the house.

Owen also asked about the Snapchat video Paul took at the kennels around 9:00 p.m., and Murdaugh said he did not believe it was him in the video. When asked who it was, Murdaugh said, “I have no idea.”

In court, Owen testified that there were inconsistencies between his interviews with Murdaugh. He mentioned that Murdaugh said he was at his mother’s house for about 25 to 30 minutes during the second interview but changed his estimate to 45 minutes to an hour in the third interview.

Owen said after the interview Murdaugh was considered a suspect.

“He was the only known suspect at that time,” Owen added.

During cross-examination, Owen said no murder weapons were found on the property and admitted that they did not search Murdaugh’s mother’s house on the night of the murders. He added that Murdaugh was not considered a suspect on the night of the shooting.

The Defense asked if Owen ever asked for the clothes Murdaugh wore in the Snapchat video taken on the night of the murders, and Owen said he hadn’t.

Griffin also pointed out that Owen told the Colleton County Grand Jury that the shirt they collected from Murdaugh had blood spatter. However, Sarah Zapata from SLED testified Monday that all 74 cuttings from Murdaugh’s shirt tested negative for human blood. Owen said he didn’t see Zapata’s report until November 2022 and admitted that what he told the grand jury was incorrect.

In September 2021, Murdaugh reportedly staged his own shooting with Curtis “Eddie” Smith, so his son Buster could obtain the life insurance payout.

Wednesday began with both sides arguing whether testimony from the shooting should be allowed in the trial. Judge Newman initially ruled against the testimony and said allowing evidence in roadside shooting is “going too far.” However, Judge Newman reversed his decision at the end of the day, arguing that the Defense opened the door to testimony on the roadside shooting and Murdaugh’s relationship with Eddie Smith with questions they asked throughout the day.

Source: FOX Carolina