Investigators in the Alex Murdaugh murder case have revealed how they nailed their suspect with a damning cellphone video after a months-long hacking attempt.
A cellphone video shot by his 22-year-old son, Paul, captured his father's voice in the dog kennels on his family's Lowcountry property in South Carolina. This was the same location where his wife of 52 years Margaret and Paul were found dead.
But first, investigators had to hack into Paul's phone. Authorities accessed the phone on August 13, more than nine weeks after the murders.
The process took months, but the phone's password could be cracked as it was Paul's birthday: 041499.
The researcher who cracked the code recounted the process Date. Lt. Britt Dove of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said, “I was in disbelief.”
“I yelled that I didn't find it on anyone in particular because I was in the office working by myself,” he said. Lt. Dove knew the importance of the phone, as it connected directly to Murdaugh's alibi. The disgraced lawyer reportedly said he had not been to the kennels that night.
Instead, Murdaugh told David Owen, a senior special agent with SLED, that after dinner, his wife went to the kennels while he slept in a house on the property, Mr. Owen said. Date.
Murdaugh's alibi was almost immediately called into question, as a family friend had told investigators that Paul was taking care of that family friend's dog. Paul even called this friend to relay some problems he was having while tending to the dog that night.
Even more damning, that friend also told authorities he thought he heard Murdaugh's voice in the background while on the phone with Paul.
The friend added that Paul tried to send him a video of the dog, but the video wouldn't send – so authorities were alerted that there might be video evidence.
Almost a year after the video was taken, in March 2022, investigators watched the video, which was time-stamped at 8:44 p.m. The lieutenant said the video captured three separate voices: Paul, his mother and Alex.
“I then put on headphones to make sure I was actually hearing what I thought I heard,” Lt. Dove said. “That, we knew for a fact at the time, just destroyed any alibi that had come out.”
Mr Dove relayed the discovery to Mr Owen, who said they now had “palpable evidence” that Murdaugh had been lying to them.
“He put Alex in the kennels when he said he wasn't there,” Agent Owen said. “I was excited. I was really excited.”
The video played a key role in Murdaugh's murder trial earlier this year, where he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison without parole.