COVID could create crisis in Alex Murdaugh murder trial

Two jurors within the double homicide trial of disgraced South Carolina legal professional Alex Murdaugh have COVID, leaving the way forward for the proceedings in some doubt as they enter their sixteenth day Monday.

Decide Clifton Newman determined maintain the trial going within the packed Colleton County courtroom after the remaining 10 jurors and 5 alternates examined damaging. They are going to be examined once more on Wednesday. The clerk of courtroom additionally examined optimistic for the virus.

Newman stated jurors agreed to put on masks. He rejected recommendations from each the protection and prosecutors to delay the trial till that second spherical of exams Wednesday, scale back the over 200 individuals allowed to attend the trial every day or order everybody within the courtroom to put on masks aside from testifying witnesses and questioning attorneys.

“In the meanwhile, we’re going to encourage everybody right here to masks up to your personal safety in addition to the safety of those proceedings and one another,” Newman stated.

Murdaugh, 54, faces 30 years to life in jail if convicted of murdering his spouse, 52-year-old Maggie, and their 22-year-old son Paul close to canine kennels on the household’s Colleton County residence on June 7, 2021.

Monday marked the fourth week of the trial and the thirteenth day of testimony with prosecutors nonetheless presenting their case. They referred to as state brokers who examined proof for DNA.

The trial began with six alternate jurors, however is now down to 3.

“My solely concern is we don’t create practice wreck with this jury,” stated protection legal professional Dick Harpootlian, who instantly started sporting a masks.

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Prosecutor Creighton Waters stated he agreed with the protection that delaying the trial for a couple of days to verify COVID is not spreading is significantly better than shedding so many jurors there must be a mistrial and three weeks of labor is gone. He additionally urged limiting the variety of individuals inside the massive, century-old courtroom. The trial is being livestreamed and proven on tv.

“Rather less numbers could be warranted. None of us wish to restrict something, however we’re in numerous paradigm. Each of us have a priority about getting this factor to the top with out COVID inflicting it to disintegrate,” Waters stated.

The choose stated he would maintain all choices in thoughts, however for now the trial will proceed with none adjustments.

“We simply should take precautions as all of us do as we navigate by life throughout this time period,” Newman stated.