Jamiesfeast – A South Carolina judge has denied Alex Murdaugh’s request for a new double-murder trial. The decision came after a daylong hearing that examined allegations of improper jury influence by a court clerk.
All 12 jurors confirmed their conviction, except for Juror Z who admitted to being influenced by Rebecca Hill’s remarks.
In her ruling, Judge Jean Toal affirmed that the instructions given by Hill to the jurors, specifically to “watch [Murdaugh’s] actions” and to “watch him closely” during his testimony, did not undermine the credibility of their verdict.
The trial of Murdaugh in 2023 held the attention of the entire country and became one of the most closely followed trials in the history of South Carolina.
After carefully examining the complete transcript of the six-week trial, Toal concluded that she could not overturn the verdict simply because of some passing and imprudent remarks made by a clerk of court who was seeking attention.
According to Toal, the clerk of court’s credibility as a witness was questionable. She believed that Miss Hill was enticed by the allure of fame.
Toal argued that Hill’s comments did not have a detrimental impact on the judicial process and therefore did not warrant a new trial.
The allegations against Hill are currently being investigated by a state police agency. It’s important to note that she has not been charged with any crime at this time. Hill has also denied most of the complaints made against her.
Nine jurors who testified on Monday stated that they had no communication with Hill and that her presence did not influence their verdict. Additionally, two jurors acknowledged speaking with Hill, but they maintained that their decision regarding Murdaugh’s guilt remained unaffected.
During his closing statements, Prosecutor Creighton Walters emphasized the importance of the jury’s decision being based on genuine and thoughtful deliberation.
According to him, there were 11 individuals who firmly stated that the verdict was not influenced. He emphasized that the evidence provided by these key individuals is compelling and undeniable.
Defense attorney Jim Griffin argued in his closing statement that there was clear evidence of Hill making prejudicial comments to the jury. He pointed out that one of the jurors had even admitted that these comments influenced their verdict. Griffin questioned how this could not be seen as prejudice.
Monday marks the beginning of Murdaugh’s extensive legal appeals.
During his trial, Murdaugh’s lawyers have expressed concerns regarding the alleged unfairness he encountered. They raised objections to the judge’s decision of allowing jurors to hear testimony about his financial crimes. The defense argued that this allowed the prosecution to portray Murdaugh as a greedy fraudster, using evidence that was not directly linked to the murders of his wife and son.