attending the Murdaugh trial in person a few weeks ago I knew that I wanted to
go back as soon as possible. My job has an asinine rule that we need two weeks’
notice for PTO requests so I asked for the next available days off that I
could. I asked for yesterday and this
coming Monday off in case the trial was still ongoing. I absolutely lucked out
that it would fall on the second day Alex took the stand. The first day was mind-numbing testimony
about the fraud and financial crimes but I knew that the second day would be
potentially explosive. It could not have
been more perfect timing to go. Apparently,
everyone else had the same idea.
Jen and I decided to conquer this adventure together. We knew there might be
more people attending today because Alex was on the stand, so we left earlier
than we normally would. I picked her up
at 4:45 am and we were in Walterboro at 5:45am.
As we approached the court house we saw the long line and she jumped out
of the car to save a place for us while I parked. We were 75th and 76th in line and weren’t too sure we would make it in.
approached the line I saw that people had camping chairs set up and it reminded
me of camping out to get concert tickets like we did back in the day. I’m not
sure if this is true, but one of the guards told us that someone camped out
overnight to secure their spot in line. Yes,
the wait is long but the conversations I have experienced and the new friends I
met have made it well worth it. While waiting in line I have met no locals, with
the exception of people being from Charleston, Beaufort, etc. I have met so many people that have driven (and
flown!) from out of state to attend this trial.
All the news
stations line up in front of the courthouse.
As you wait in line you recognize everyone that you have seen for weeks
on TV… the reporters, Mark Tinsley (attorney for Beach family and witness for
the prosecution), “Mr. Safe”, the homeland security guard that sits behind Alex
each day, Charlie Condon (former U.S. Attorney General for South Carolina), Joe
McCullough (Columbia based attorney representing Connor Cook), the Murdaugh
family, the defense team, prosecution, the officers running the courtroom. It’s surreal to witness it all in person!
I’m not sure
if the officers running the show are there to control us or to entertain us!
They are so personable and friendly.
Officer Grant and “Smoky” are my favorites! When my friend attended
trial on her birthday Officer Grant sang happy birthday to her. Smoky works his way down the line telling
stories, asking where everyone came from and then tells everyone how crazy they
are for waiting in line for this. You can tell they enjoy talking to everyone. I can’t imagine they are used to this kind of
Since we can’t
have our phones or smart watches time is a mystery to everyone in line without
a normal watch. We know when we see the defense team walk in it’s getting close
to court being called into session. When the family walks in from down the
street we know it’s about 9:15. By this time everyone with a ticket has been
allowed into the courtroom and we moved to the head of the line. At this point
we were 4th and 5th in line. When the people with tickets
were seated, they reassess the courtroom to see if they can allow anyone else
in. An officer came out and said they can
fit 4 more people. The 3 people in front of us went in and we allowed a lady
from Beaufort that was by herself to take our spot inside instead of one of us
being left out.
handed us her phone and said we could watch the trial while we waited
outside. That was so amazing of her to
do! I’m not sure I’d hand a total stranger my phone like that! We were next in
line and decided to have a seat on the ground to wait it out with hopes of
later getting in. Since we had a phone and could watch the trial a group of
women gathered around us to listen. The line was still incredibly long behind
us and there was no way I was leaving after waiting this long. We had a bottle
of water, mints and a protein bar, so we were set!
I had high
hopes that Creighton Waters used the night before to regroup and would come in
fighting today. Yesterday’s line of
questioning was mind numbing. Today’s morning
session was better, but still about the fraud and countless lies Alex told to
friends, colleagues, clients and family. I could hear others in the line behind
us streaming live court and no one was in sync. It was a chaotic symphony of
questioning and lies with a lot of “PaPa’s” thrown in.
couple of hours, the judge took a morning break. We were crossing fingers that someone
would turn in their badge, and they would allow us in. Officer Grant came outside, and we told her
that her niece Reese called and to call her back. Ha! We jokingly asked her if she was coming out
to get us and she held up one finger… then two… We were so happy to hear that!!
Then she held up two more fingers! Four
people turned in their badges and we were now solid and able to attend for the
rest of the day. We went through security, got our badges and walked up to the
courtroom. Court was already in session. I knew the drill so as I walked up to
the windowed door and held up my hand and indicated two of us needed to be
seated. He opened the door and walked us
to the back row where we found our seats. We were fortunate to be able to be
allowed in since so many others were turned away or were still waiting in line for
a chance to be let in the courtroom.
Creighton was moving on from the line of questions regarding the multitude of
lies Alex told about his financial crimes and started questioning about the day
his wife and son were murdered. Watching how Alex was acting in such an obviously
rehearsed and pandering demeanor toward the jury on TV was infuriating but
seeing him do it in person was completely nauseating. His hunched shoulders, meek
tone and his partially facing the jurors was calculated and I hope the jury
sees right through it. I was watching
the jury. They seemed interested, some
indifferent. I was wondering what they were
thinking and hoping they weren’t buying the act.
When we broke
for lunch I secured our place in line while Jen ran to the car to get the bag she
packed with snacks. We found a bench and
had a mini picnic of club crackers, hummus, carrots and delicious cheese. I
felt like a new person after that and was so thankful she thought about
bringing something to eat so we didn’t have to fuss with the food trucks.
After lunch there was a bit of confusion about the lines to get back inside but once we figured it out, I ran the bag back to the car while Jen stayed in line. When we went back to the courtroom, we were seated on the prosecution side. Unfortunately there was a woman sitting in front of me and a big cushion who was endlessly shifting left and right so she could see. Her endlessly doing that made it difficult for me to see. Thankfully the person in front of her left so she didn’t do it as much later in the day. I thought it was funny that Gigi from CourtTV slid over when the people left and sat in front of this woman. Gigi turned around and asked the woman if she could see okay with her sitting in front of her. Gigi is super tiny! The woman said yes, and I was like, really? What about me?? She was obviously not concerned about her movement and unnecessary cushioned height.
As questioning went on, Creighton
Waters got his mojo back. I had no idea where he was going with his cross exam
and wondered how he was going to finish. Alex kept saying that he didn’t trust
SLED; how he continually lied because he didn’t trust SLED, how he had a pocket
full of pills and didn’t want SLED to know.
He blamed everything, including his lies, on his distrust of SLED (which
we all know is bullshit) Creighton then played the first responder video. The first responder who was NOT with
SLED. What did Alex do on this video? He
lied. He lied to a first responder that was not part of SLED. He lied from the beginning and Creighton
Waters dropped the proverbial mic. There was an audible gasp in the courtroom
when Creighton said, “I have nothing else”.
After a few back-and-forth
moments between defense and prosecution the session ended, and we were
excused. Having barely eaten the entire
day we were starving. I have no idea where anything is in Walterboro, so I Yelped
restaurants. We ended up going to this hole in the wall Mexican restaurant with
a B rating. I’m still alive and don’t have food poisoning (that I know of) so
that’s a good thing.
I think we
are going back on Monday. I heard Joe McCullough say something interesting on
CourtTV on Thursday. Someone asked about
the missing shirt Alex was wearing in the Snapchat video. Where is it? Joe said there is a witness
coming up that will drop a “bombshell” (if I remember his words correctly) and
that question will be answered. Very interesting! I wonder what that means??