Judge questions Alex Murdaugh jurors in evidentiary hearing

Posted at 2:49 PM, January 26, 2024 and last updated 8:28 AM, January 29, 2024


RICHLAND COUNTY, S.C. (Court TV) — Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh is back in court Monday for an evidentiary hearing in his effort to get a new trial.

Alex Murdaugh in jumpsuit, cuffs

Alex Murdaugh walks in handcuffs at a pre-evidentiary hearing on Jan. 16, 2024, for Alex Murdaugh’s appeal for a new murder trial over jury tampering allegations. (Court TV)

Justice Jean Toal will question the 11 remaining deliberating jurors about their verdict after questioning one of the jurors on Friday.

On Friday, Murdaugh was in court as Toal questioned one juror who had a scheduling conflict. Murdaugh was smiling as he walked into the courtroom wearing his orange SCDC jumpsuit. He was unshackled when he got to the defense table so he could take notes during the hearing.

There were 20-25 journalists in the courtroom as well as a handful of trial watchers.

Toal requested the media not to identify the age or gender of the juror and referred to them as Juror X during their questioning.

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She also requested the press not to report what questions were asked of Juror X or what Juror X’s answers were.

The audio of Juror X’s questioning by Toal is embargoed by the Court until 9:30 am Monday, when the hearing is set to begin.

Toal also reiterated her decision not to question dismissed Juror 785 or the unseated alternate on Monday.

In other matters, Dick Harpootlian again asked for a continuance in the proceedings, saying that after the State spent 6 hours with Becky Hill this week preparing for her testimony, that he won’t have time to review their notes and prepare for his cross-examination of her.

Toal denied the request and again stated that the questioning of Becky Hill would be focused on what she may or may not have said to the jurors and that she would not allow the defense to go on a fishing expedition to impeach the embattled Clerk of Court.

However, she did say she would be flexible in what she would allow the State and Defense to ask Hill and said that she could have questions for her as well.

Justice Toal wrapped up the hearing by stating she believed she could get through the questioning of the 11 deliberating jurors by lunchtime on Monday and expected Hill to testify in the afternoon.

Harpootlian mentioned he might want to call a witness after Hill testifies and stated that it would not be dismissed Juror 785, but he did not say in court who it was.

Toal is hopeful that this hearing will only last one day as opposed to the three days she originally scheduled to hear this matter.