Housekeeper never saw Alex Murdaugh clothes after killings
Alex Murdaugh’s housekeeper testified Friday at his double murder trial that she never saw the shirt and shoes the disgraced South Carolina attorney was wearing in a video hours before his son and wife were killed after their deaths.
Prosecutors were trying to explain why certain expected things — like bloody clothes — have still not been put into evidence after three weeks of trial.
Under cross examination, the housekeeper testified she never saw in Murdaugh’s wardrobe a large blue rain jacket that tested positive for a significant amount of gunshot residue. She said Murdaugh wore extra-extra large clothes.
Murdaugh, 54, faces 30 years to life in prison if convicted of murdering his wife, 52-year-old Maggie, and their 22-year-old son Paul near dog kennels at the family’s Colleton County home on June 7, 2021.
Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson said she did all sorts of work for the Murdaughs for well over a decade. She cooked, cleaned and did laundry, as well as did Maggie Murdaugh’s banking. After the killings, she and her husband took care of the family’s home when Alex Murdaugh couldn’t bear to return.
Murdaugh called her early the morning after his wife and son were killed and she rushed to check on him at his mother’s home. Simpson testified that an emotional Murdaugh asked her to go to the family home and clean it up the way his wife would want it because there would probably be lots of people coming by to pay respects.
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Simpson got there about 12 hours after the killings. She said she saw state agents near the kennels where the killings took place, but no one at the home. There also was no crime scene tape up and no one stopped her before she went inside.
Simpson testified about finding pots of leftovers in the refrigerator when normally the family left them out for her to clean up. She said Maggie Murdaugh’s pajamas were also folded neatly in a doorway, which was unusual. She picked up a damp towel near a small puddle of water by the shower and a pair of khaki pants and washed them.
State agents entered the home while Simpson was there, looking under beds and other areas, Simpson said.
“I didn’t ask any questions. They didn’t ask me,” Simpson said.
Earlier witnesses testified that state agents sent Murdaugh and several attorney friends, family members and others who gathered after the killings to the home so they wouldn’t be in crime scene photos near the kennels. The defense estimated there were 12 to 15 people inside in the first hours after the bodies were found.
During his questioning Friday, prosecutor John Meadors honed in on the clothes Murdaugh was wearing in a Snapchat video his son took a few hours before the killings — khaki pants, loafers and a seafoam-colored shirt.
“Have you ever, ever, ever seen that shirt again?” Meadors asked.
“Not to my knowledge,” Simpson said.
In cross examination, Simpson testified she never saw Murdaugh with a blue rain jacket that was found at his mother’s home three months after the killing.
State agents said the jacket had a significant amount of residue left on the inside after a weapon was fired. So far prosecutors have not put into evidence any bloody clothing, the shotgun they think was used to kill Paul Murdaugh, the rifle used to kill Maggie Murdaugh or fingerprints.
Simpson said she never saw the couple have bad arguments — just a few disagreements over the paint to use while remodeling one of their homes.
“The thing I remember Maggie saying is she wanted him to sit still and listen to her for at least 10 minutes,” Simpson said.
Prosecutors again emphasized through Simpson that Maggie Murdaugh preferred to stay at the family’s beach house on Edisto Island instead of the Colleton County home called Moselle. They said in opening arguments that Alex Murdaugh lured her to the other home to kill her.
In cross examination, Simpson agreed with the defense that Maggie Murdaugh started retreating more to the beach house because she was getting harassed and treated badly in nearby Hampton after Paul Murdaugh was charged with felony boating under the influence in a 2019 crash that killed a 19-year-old passenger.
Simpson said she considered all the Murdaughs family, but was especially close to Maggie Murdaugh.
Months before the killings, Simpson said Maggie Murdaugh asked her to talk, closing the door behind her. She said she feared her family could have to pay $30 million in a wrongful death lawsuit over the boat crash.
“We don’t have that kind of money,” Simpson recalled Maggie Murdaugh saying.
Later, she said of her husband, “He doesn’t tell me everything.”
Friday afternoon, an FBI agent testified about the locations of Alex, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh’s cellphones the night of the killings. The information didn’t differ from earlier testimony.