A “fidgety” Alex Murdaugh showed up at his sick mother’s house for a brief 20-minute visit on the night of his wife and son’s murders – before later claiming he was there double the length of time and offering to pay towards the wedding of the caretaker who could refute his version of events.
Muschelle “Shelly” Smith, who had been working as a caregiver to Mr Murdaugh’s mother Libby from October 2019, gave emotional and at-times damning testimony in Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina, on Monday.
Ms Smith told jurors about Mr Murdaugh’s unusual behaviour both on the night of the murders and in the days that followed, revealing that he made the uncharacteristic move to visit his sick mother late at night on 7 June 2021.
In the aftermath of the killings, he then appeared to try to align her account about his visit with his – offering to help Ms Smith both financially and with her other job – and then brought a mystery blue item to leave at his parents’ home.
Ms Smith, who broke down in tears describing Mr Murdaugh and his family as a “good family”, told the court how she always worked the night shifts caring for Libby who has Alzheimer’s from 8pm to 8am.
On the night of 7 June 2021, she said that he showed up at the home sometime between 8.30pm and 9.30pm and called her to say he was outside. She let him in and he sat on his mother’s bed.
She testified that it was “unusual” for the disgraced attorney to show up his parents’ home during her shift but he told her that he had come to check on his mother because his father Randy was in hospital. Randy died three days later on 10 June.
When asked about Mr Murdaugh’s demeanour, Ms Smith told the court that he was “fidgety”.
“He was fidgeting,” she repeated.
Ms Smith told the court that he was dressed in shorts, a t-shirt and cloth-like shoes similar to Sperry’s with no socks.
He stayed only around 20 minutes before leaving again, she said.
Prosecutors claim that Mr Murdaugh shot dead his wife Maggie and son Paul at around 8.50pm that night.
Ms Smith grew emotional and fought back tears as she went on to reveal the events in the aftermath of the murders and said she believes the Murdaughs are a “good family” and she “is sorry this happened”.
A few days after the murders, she testified that Mr Murdaugh spoke to her about his visit to the house that night – telling her that he had been at his parents’ home for 30 to 40 minutes when it had only been around 20 minutes.
“I was here 30 to 40 minutes,” she said he told her.
Ms Smith told the court that this was incorrect, confirming that he was there for just 20 minutes.
The conversation left her feeling “nervous”, she said – so much so that she called her brother who is a police officer to relay what he said to him.
“I was nervous,” she told jurors.
A key part of Mr Murdaugh’s alibi for the murders is that he was visiting his sick mother at the time.
He claims that he was napping at his family home when Paul and Maggie went down to the kennels. When he woke, he claims he went straight to his mother’s house to visit her.
Days after that conversation, the accused killer spoke to her again, she said.
This time he asked her about her upcoming wedding – something he had never done before – and offered “to help her out” with paying for it, she said.
Under cross-examination, she said that she believes Mr Murdaugh was just being a “good person”.
As well as offering to help with wedding expenses, she said that he also offered to pull strings to help her secure a better job at the school where she worked.
Days later, she told the court that Mr Murdaugh showed up at his mother’s house again at 6.30am in the morning – a time that he had never come to visit before – and dropped off what looked like a blue tarp.
Ms Smith said she couldn’t recall whether or not Mr Murdaugh checked on his mother during the brief visit.
He was cradling a “blue something” in his hands – something that she insisted was a blue tarp and not a raincoat – and took it upstairs and left it in his parents’ home, she testified.
She noticed for the first time that he had a cut or bruise on his forehead.
After taking the mystery item upstairs, she said he left the house before returning sometime later in a white truck.
He left the white truck there and switched to a black truck.