The murder trial of Alex Murdaugh, which followed an explosive courtroom spectacle, sparked frenzied speculation among viewers and led to incorrect but acclaimed rumors about the author John Grisham.
Screenshots of a man bearing a striking resemblance to Mr. Murdaugh began circulating on Twitter on Thursday, testifying in his own defense about the murders of his son Paul and his wife Maggie at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina.
Law&Crime and Court TV both speculated about his presence, with journalist Cathy Russon tweeting: “I suppose a book is forthcoming…”.
However, the rumors were quickly disproven as the individual in question was accurately recognized as Walterboro Mayor William T Young Jr.
Reporter Jennifer Wood confirmed Mr. Young’s identity in a Twitter post, stating that contrary to popular belief, he is indeed the Mayor of the picturesque town of Walterboro, rather than being mistaken for John Grisham. She further mentioned that she had managed to catch up with this charming individual on the street and had a conversation with him.
“It might have been uncomfortable, but he was delightful and got a laugh out of it.”
Mr Grisham has not made any public statements regarding the peculiar allegations. The Independent has contacted the author’s representatives for a response.
The trial, now nearing the end of its fifth week, reached a boiling point on Thursday as Mr Murdaugh took the stand.
He started his testimony by boldly declaring that he did not shoot Maggie or Paul.
He eventually admitted to lying to investigators about his alibi regarding the murders that occurred at the kennels where he claimed he was never present when the killings took place during the night.
Over the course of the last 20 months, Mr. Murdaugh attributed his opioid dependence to causing him “paranoid thoughts” and his lack of confidence in SLED, which ultimately resulted in him deceiving law enforcement agents, family members, and friends on various occasions.
In a moment he described as tearful, Paul, son of the estate family, claims to have discovered the bloodied bodies of his wife Maggie and went on to break down in tears. He is said to be the disgraced heir to a powerful legal dynasty.
He sobbed as he faced the jury, describing the scene of the murders on the night of June 7, 2021, saying, “It was extremely awful,” and repeating the same phrase he had heard.
He said, “I didn’t know what to do. I could see his brain laying on the sidewalk… My boy was lying face down.”
Mr. Murdaugh did not appear to have any blood on his clothing or hands at the scene, and he did not offer an explanation for the claims made by multiple law enforcement officers. In court, he did not provide an explanation for the discovery of the bloodied bodies, which he claimed to have touched before making the 911 call.
Towards the end of his direct examination, Mr. Murdaugh confessed to stealing money from his law firm, blaming it on a 20-year opioid addiction.
On the date of the homicides, 7th June 2021, Mr. Murdaugh asserted that he was unconcerned about the imminent revelation of his financial wrongdoings, in an attempt to weaken the prosecution’s hypothesis regarding a motive.
His statement carried on into Thursday afternoon as the prosecution initiated its interrogation.