Murdaugh trial to resume Tuesday after Presidents Day

Updated: Feb. 20, 2023 at 3:00 AM EST

WALTERBORO, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - The murder trial of disbarred Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh will not resume on Monday because of Presidents Day.

When the trial resumes Tuesday morning, the defense is expected to begin presenting its case as it tries to discredit charges that he killed his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh; and their youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh at the family’s hunting property in rural Colleton County in June of 2021.

Prosecutors called 61 witnesses and introduced more than 550 pieces of evidence over 17 days of testimony — from descriptions of the brutality of the killings to numbing details about bank records.

READ RECAP: Here’s what happened during week 4 of the Murdaugh murder trial

Murdaugh, whose family dominated the legal system in tiny Hampton County for generations, has denied any role in the fatal shootings.

Murdaugh’s lawyers haven’t given any indication publicly if the disbarred attorney will take the stand.

Doing so would allow him to explain some of the evidence prosecutors presented.

For example, Murdaugh told police he wasn’t at his Colleton County home in the hours before the killings, but several witnesses said they heard his voice on video taken from the dog kennels there just minutes before his wife and son were shot. Their bodies were found near the kennels.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Murdaugh Cases

Murdaugh also could respond to his sister-in-law’s testimony that he didn’t appear scared in the weeks after the slayings even as other family members were worried that they, too, were potential targets.

Testifying also could come with risks.

Defendants who choose to do so sometimes give jurors evidence of their guilt.

For Murdaugh, he could open himself up to questions about some of the roughly 100 other charges he is awaiting trial for. Those include allegations that he stole millions from clients and others.

He faces 30 years to life if convicted of murder.