South Carolina Judge Denies Alex Murdaugh’s Retrial Request, Dismissing Claims of Jury Tampering

Judge Jean Toal Rejects Retrial Motion for Alex Murdaugh

A South Carolina judge, Jean Toal, has dismissed Alex Murdaugh’s request for a retrial, asserting that the jury was not swayed by court clerk Becky Hill’s comments, as claimed by Murdaugh’s lawyers.

Judge Toal emphasized that fleeting and foolish comments did not warrant a new trial, exercising discretion in denying the motion.

Despite the scion of a prominent legal family’s conviction for murdering his wife and son in 2021, his legal team filed a motion based on alleged tampering by the court clerk.

Murdaugh’s Murder Conviction Background

Alex Murdaugh, convicted in March 2023 for the murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul, faced life without parole.

The prosecution relied on damning cell phone evidence placing him at the crime scene near the time of the murders, which occurred at the family’s hunting lodge.

Murdaugh consistently asserted his innocence, arguing that media attention tainted the jury pool from the outset.

Juror Claims and Allegations of Jury Tampering

Murdaugh’s lawyers sought a retrial, citing jurors’ remarks about court clerk Becky Hill’s alleged attempts to influence them by telling them to ‘watch’ Murdaugh ‘closely.’

Jurors expressed concerns that Hill’s comments made it seem like Murdaugh was already guilty. The defense claimed that the jury pool was tainted from the beginning.

Judge Jean Toal’s Assessment and Acknowledgment

While Judge Toal acknowledged being attracted to the ‘siren call of celebrity’ due to her desire to write a book about the trial, she praised the jury for reaching a verdict in this high-profile case.

Despite undermining Hill’s credibility, the judge commended the jury’s role in the trial. Murdaugh’s lawyers asserted that the judge found Hill ‘not credible,’ providing support for their appeal.

Legal Team’s Response and Plans for Appeal

Speaking outside the court, Murdaugh’s lawyers highlighted the judge’s acknowledgment that Hill was ‘not credible’ and expressed confidence in their case at the court of appeals.

They revealed indications from lawyers representing jurors, suggesting further revelations from Hill.

The legal team emphasized that this is not the final step and that the case will likely go to the state Supreme Court. Plans include challenging the alleged jury tampering and pursuing the question of ‘who really did it.’

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