WALTERBORO, SC—On February 8, at approximately 12:30 p.m., Judge Clifton Newman ordered the evacuation of the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina due to a credible bomb threat.
Alex Murdaugh is on trial for the double murder of his wife and son. The court was about to hear the 38th and final witness, Dwight Falkofske, who is an electronics engineer for the FBI when the courtroom was evacuated.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we have to evacuate the building at this time so we’ll be in recess until we discover what’s going on,” said Judge Newman who noted the court would reconvene at 2:30 p.m.
Murdaugh was briefly escorted out of the building and driven off the property. Authorities moved the crowd across the street, while South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigated.
Within the crowd was Murdaugh’s son, Alex Murdaugh Jr. who goes by, “Buster.” He was attending the trial with his girlfriend.
The jury and members of the court filed back into the courtroom at 2:30 p.m. with court back in session at 3:20 p.m. Judge Newman made no further mention of the bomb threat.
Murdaugh, 54, is on trial for the murder of his wife, Margaret “Maggie”, 52, and his son, Paul Murdaugh who were shot to death on June 7, 2021. Alex maintains his innocence indicating that he was taking a nap, and drove over to see his mother. Prosecutors submitted forensic evidence found by the FBI who reported that gunpowder residue was found on the accused’s clothing and seatbelt.
Judge Newman granted permission for Murdaugh’s financial crimes to be heard while court is in session due to the prosecution’s claim the murders were committed to cover up the financial crimes by the defendant who allegedly stole $8.5 million from at least 12 individuals.
“I find that the jury is entitled to consider whether the apparent desperation of Mr. Murdaugh because of his dire financial situation and the threat of being exposed for committing the crimes of which he was later charged with resulted in the commission of the alleged crimes. While the motive is not a necessary element, the state must prove malice, and evidence of motive may be used to prove it,” said Judge Newman.