Attorneys representing Alex Murdaugh, who was convicted of murdering his wife and son, have filed a motion demanding a new trial and a federal investigation. The defense alleges that Colleton County court clerk Rebecca Hill tampered with the jury during the trial. In the 65-page motion, the defense claims that Hill advised jurors not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, and pressured them to reach a quick guilty verdict. The defense also accuses Hill of misrepresenting critical information to the trial judge in an effort to remove a juror believed to be favorable to the defense.
Murdaugh was found guilty of murdering his wife, Maggie, and his son, Paul, at their family’s hunting estate in July 2021. He received two life sentences and faces 100 separate pending charges for various other crimes, including financial fraud and drug trafficking.
The defense motion alleges that Hill had frequent private conversations with the jury foreperson and asked jurors for their opinions about Murdaugh’s guilt or innocence. The defense claims that Hill invented a story about a Facebook post to remove a juror she believed might not vote guilty. The defense also alleges that Hill pressured the jurors to reach a quick verdict, telling them it “shouldn’t take them long.” The defense further asserts that Hill had private conversations with the jury foreperson and made statements about the ongoing case.
Hill has denied the allegations of wrongdoing, stating that they are “totally not true” and “crazy.”
In addition to seeking a new trial, Murdaugh’s defense team has requested a federal investigation into the alleged violation of Murdaugh’s civil rights during the trial. They have also asked the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to refrain from initiating any investigation into the allegations, citing their perceived bias in maintaining Murdaugh’s conviction.
The defense motion details other allegations of misconduct by Hill, including her alleged comments to the jury during the trial and her involvement in a book about her time working on the case. The defense argues that Hill’s influence may have compromised the jury’s impartiality.
Murdaugh’s defense attorneys maintain his innocence in the murder of Maggie and Paul, stating that he believes the truth will ultimately prevail.
The defense motion requests an evidentiary hearing and a new trial based on the alleged influence of Hill, an elected state official, on the jury.