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Forensic scientist expected to take stand in Murdaugh trial

(NewsNation) — Alex Murdaugh’s double murder trial is slated to pick back up Monday in South Carolina. A forensic scientist is expected to take the stand and answer questions from Murdaugh’s defense team.

With fiery opening statements and testimonies, emotions were high during the first week of what’s been dubbed the trial of the century in Colleton County.

The killings of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and son, Paul are just one piece of an extensive web of events that surround the family, including mysterious deaths, alleged fraud and reported lies.

The Murdaugh family reportedly has ties to three other death investigations: a deadly boating accident in 2019, the mysterious 2018 death of their housekeeper and a 2015 fatal hit-and-run. In 2021, Alex Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were both found shot to death on the family’s hunting estate.

The 2018 death of the family’s housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, helped unravel part of the Murdaugh’s moneymaking scheme.

According to the family, Satterfield died after a family dog jumped on her at the top of the stairs causing her to fall. Her family says Murdaugh suggested that Satterfield’s sons sue him for insurance money, and they were supposed to get $4.3 million. But they say they initially did not get that money since Murdaugh stole it.

After Satterfield’s family got a confession of judgement from Murdaugh, he was eventually disbarred as a lawyer.

The Satterfield family’s attorney, Eric Bland, has been in the courtroom watching the double murder trial unfold and broke down what’s expected to happen Monday.

During an appearance on “NewsNation Prime” Sunday evening, Bland said the defense is going to begin their cross examination of a forensic scientist Monday who had evidence admitted to her from the crime scene. He believes the defense will begin to attack the evidence that was collected.

“I’ve never met a defense attorney who didn’t have criticism of a crime scene. Every defense attorney is going to criticize, no matter how much evidence is gathered and how much they secure and preserve the crime scene,” Bland said.

Bland predicts that Murdaugh’s defense team will try to show that how the crime scene evidence was gathered and analyzed is “junk science.”

“Now it’s funny, defense attorneys say that if it hurts their client, whatever the experts will testify as junk science. But voice recognition, gunshot residue, blood analysis, as well as phone mapping has been around for so long,” Bland said.

Investigators say Murdaugh’s 22-year-old son, Paul, was found shot twice near dog kennels outside of the family’s hunting lodge. Maggie, Murdaugh’s wife, was shot four or five times and discovered near Paul.

“I think the most persuasive piece of evidence so far is the fact that Alex was placed at the dog kennels six minutes before the phones went dead. More importantly, it looks like that there were two outfits that he was wearing that evening, one on a Snapchat, that was done an hour before the murders allegedly took place. Then he was totally clean when the police arrived after he called 911, and he told both the 911 operator and then the interviewers that was released, that he turned Paul over to check him for a pulse,” Bland said.

During last week’s court proceedings, Murdaugh, 54, was observed crying at times, rocking back and forth and running his hands through his hair. Bland thinks this could have an impact on the jury. He believes some of the tears are real, while other movements may be “elevated” or “embellished.”

“I also think that when his family came in, when the jury was seated, and his entire family sat behind him and continues to sit behind him, even though the state has spent millions of dollars in the prosecution of this case, to vindicate the deaths of Maggie and Paul, the fact that the entire family is sitting on the defense side has to be noticed by the jury,” Bland said.

Murdaugh maintains his innocence in the double murder case. Many in the Lowcountry are keeping a close eye on what twists and turns may develop during the trial since the Murdaughs are known for having decades of power and control in the area.