Juror Drops Bomb In High-Profile MurdeCase

Following accusations that the court clerk tampered with the jury, Alex Murdaugh’s defense team sought a new trial, but the judge in South Carolina rejected their request.

Based on Judge Toal’s findings at a pretrial hearing this month, Murdaugh’s attorneys had a high bar to overcome in proving jury tampering, which was the basis for his appeal.

According to Toal’s ruling, the prosecution had the burden of proving that the jurors’ perception of Hill’s possible misconduct directly contributed to their finding of guilt.

The defense was unable to establish that Colleton County Clerk Becky Hill’s instructions to jurors to observe Murdaugh’s facial expressions and body language throughout his testimony impacted their verdict of guilt, according to Judge Jean Toal. The judge handed down a life sentence to Murdaugh.

According to the first juror interrogated on Monday, Hill did instruct the jury to “watch him closely” and keep an eye on Murdaugh’s behavior. During the subsequent interrogation, the juror affirmed her prior sworn testimony, which she had made some months earlier, asserting that her guilty vote was impacted more by her fellow jurors than by the clerk’s remarks. Additional jurors summoned later stated that the clerk had not made any remarks on the case and that their judgments were solely based on the evidence and testimony presented.

Because the judge used the identical questions from her notepad, the testimony of each juror lasted just three minutes. Surprisingly, the bailiff also interjected during the hearing to reveal that several jurors had access to the Court TV live broadcast and could thus hear every word the first juror said since their devices had not been confiscated upon coming to court.

Hill is the elected clerk, and state agents have announced a criminal investigation into her possible financial gain from her office, her possible emailing of suggestions to prosecutors to discredit a defense expert, any possible conspiracy with her son, who is charged with wiretapping county phones, or any possible plagiarism in her book regarding the case involving a passage from a BBC reporter who mistakenly emailed her instead of her boss at a similar address, among other things.