Saturday, February 25, 2023

Murdaugh Trial 2.0

After 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.

My friend 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.

As I 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 crowd.

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.

Officer Grant 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.

After a 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.

Thankfully 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”.  Boom!!

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?? 

How I spend my PTO

1 comment:

Otilia said...

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