State prosecutor Creighton Waters spit hard questions at double murder suspect Alex Murdaugh during cross-examination Thursday. Pool photo by Grace Boehm Alford.

Disbarred former lawyer Alex Murdaugh took the witness stand Thursday and Friday in his own defense in his sensational double murder trial that is being watched around the world. He has emotionally denied killing his wife and younger son.

Accused double murderer Alex Murdaugh testifies emotionally Feb. 23 during his trial in the Colleton County Courthouse. Pool photo by Joshua Boucher.

On Friday, prosecutors pummeled Murdaugh over repeated lies told through the years. A day earlier, Murdaugh admitted on the witness stand to lying about his whereabouts the night of murders, confessing that he was at the kennels where the victims were found. He insisted the paranoia from a painkiller addiction led him to lie about his movements that night. 

Also Thursday, Murdaugh admitted to stealing from clients and pocketing a check that was meant for his law firm, actions revealed by prosecutors earlier in the trial, which today will be in its 24th day in Colleton County.

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave,” he said about lying and stealing. “Once I told a lie — then I told my family — I had to keep lying.”

Defense attorneys for Murdaugh, now finished with testimony, are expected to call four more witnesses. Closing arguments may start by Tuesday during the sixth week of the trial.

In other news for the week ending Feb. 24:


Scott tests presidential waters.  U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, a South Carolina Republican from the Lowcountry, was in Iowa Wednesday delivering a faith-based message of “a new American sunrise” that deviates from his possible rivals who have focused more on railing against cultural divides. Politico described the speech as Scott dipping his toes in the 2024 presidential waters. According to The Washington Post, “he described the country as beset by misery and hopelessness, with citizens consuming the ’empty calories of anger’ and politicians hooking voters on ‘the drug of victimhood and the narcotic of despair.’ He blamed Democrats and liberals, whom he accused of peddling a ‘blueprint to ruin America,’ while calling out President Biden for ‘living in the past’ and accusing him of exploiting the nation’s history of racial oppression for political ends.”

Haley’s 2024 candidacy tests GOP sexism and gender politicsFormer S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s presidential candidacy is testing the GOP’s resolve on sexism and how female candidates can show strength, according to this analysis.  She recently campaigned in New Hampshire.

S.C. Democratic Party chair won’t seek reelection. S.C. Democratic Party Chairman Trav Robertson will not seek another term in office and declared support for former state party Executive Director Christale Spain to succeed him.

S.C. House OKs permitless carry of handguns. The S.C. House voted Wednesday to allow lawful firearm owners to carry handguns openly or concealed without a state permit. The bill will be passed onto the Senate, who rejected a similar proposal two years ago. 

S.C. Senate OKs shield law for lethal injectionsThe South Carolina Senate passed on Wednesday a law shielding the identity of pharmaceutical companies providing lethal injection drugs for state executions. The move is the lawmakers latest attempt in an effort to resume capital punishment after 12 years without administering the death penalty.

S.C. Senate advances bill to help parents pay private tuition with tax creditsA bill allowing up to $55 million in tax credits to help parents pay for private K-12 tuition is advancing in the South Carolina Senate.

North Charleston, county officials grapple with schools. Charleston County School District superintendent Don Kennedy said he wants to meet with North Charleston officials to talk about a proposal for the city to leave the district and form its own school system.  Meanwhile, state Rep. Marvin Pendarvis, a Democrat considering a run for North Charleston mayor, says he’s going to file a bill to split off the city’s schools. 

Eckstrom warned of problems, auditors say. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom was warned he had weak internal controls in producing his office’s yearly reports on the state’s financial health, according to state Auditor George Kennedy.

Use of ‘disorderly conduct’ law in schools ruled unconstitutional. A 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel upheld a lower court ruling that found the South Carolina’s “disorderly conduct” law in K-12 public schools is unconstitutionally vague when applied in schools, depriving students of their 14th Amendment due process rights.

Nurses exhausted under weight of the pandemic. Nurses across the country are feeling worn out, according to a study from the American Nurses Foundation, and Lowcountry nurses concur. Meanwhile, recent state data show that 44 people died from Covid in the week ending Feb. 18 and another 4,100 people have the virus.

S.C. lawmaker pushes for hate crime law. S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston, is continuing his ongoing pursuit to make South Carolina the 49th state with a hate crime law.

S.C. leaders launch collaborative to connect rural areas to internet. South Carolina officials are working across the aisle to soon travel the state in an effort to get every home and business connected to high-speed internet services.  Next week, Vice President Kamala Harris is expected in Columbia to discuss better internet.

Another record-breaking year for S.C. tourism set in 2022. The financial impact of the state tourism industry hit a new high in 2022, climbing more than 11 percent to $29 billion as the hospitality business continued to benefit from pent-up demand after the pandemic.

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