And finally I’ve stopped laughing


(The Island News)


Lately I can’t stop laughing.

This is a murder trial. Murder trials are inherently sad and serious affairs.

Two people were brutally killed and might not see justice for their deaths.

But every day — at least for the past week — I have found myself shaking my head, unable to form words and compensating for that silence with uncontrolled laughter.

It is highly unprofessional.

A source called me over the weekend to tell me about the next set of charges to expect in one of the many cases connected to Alex Murdaugh.

I had nothing to say. No response.

And the more I had nothing to say, the more the laughter came.

Not joyful laughter, mind you. Not the kind that boosts your spirits and has you searching for eye contact so you can share the moment.

The kind of laughter where you briefly step outside of your body and take a pause to reflect not just on the absurdity in your life but on life itself.

It is “Peggy Lee”-like laughter. “Is that all there is?”-type laughter.

Like the song.

The house has caught on fire. The whole world has gone up in flames. We’re at the circus. Is that all there is to love?

The trial of Alex Murdaugh is now in its sixth week.

Don’t worry. I’m not losing it. But do help me with this one: How many lies is too many lies?

Let me rephrase that.

How many lies can a powerful man tell before he loses credibility?

So far — for some — that answer seems to be “an infinite number.”

Here is a comment that gets relayed to me at least a few times a day: “I think he did it but if I were on the jury I’d have to say Not Guilty.”

You … think he did it? But … not guilty?

Is it because they think the state hasn’t proven their case?


It’s because of the mucus.

They can’t reconcile the facts of the case — the lies, the timeline, the bullet shells matching the family’s gun, the missing clothes, the more lies, the financial pressures, the luring of Maggie and Paul to Moselle, the attempts to get others to lie for him, the lack of fear, the no calls for justice, the unproven threats against Paul, the lies, the lies, the lies — with the visual of Alex Murdaugh’s wet face and shaking shoulders as he told the jury about how he’d never hurt Paul Paul or Mags.

Again, “he loved them so he couldn’t have.”

For more than a year and a half, Alex Murdaugh has held firm in his conviction. He did not see his wife and son after dinner. He did not go down to the kennels before leaving for his mama’s house. He was napping.

Even after investigators found “the video” on Paul Murdaugh’s phone last March, Alex and his team continued to hold fast to the story of his alibi.

He wasn’t there. He didn’t do it. And if he got confused on some details, his team said, big deal, he was in shock.

But then — with the benefit of five weeks of testimony, nearly a dozen positive identifications of his voice on that video and SLED’s updated timeline — Alex Murdaugh “came clean.”

He was there.

Minutes before his wife’s and son’s murders, he was there.

Nearly everything he had told investigators — as well as his family, friends, colleagues, the court and the world — about that day and night was a lie.

The admitted liar admitted to lying but is now admitting to the truth, which might also be a lie.

The new story is that he didn’t trust SLED.

This longtime volunteer badge-carrying, blue lights-flashing member of the 14th Circuit Solicitor’s Office — surprise! he was the No. 2 guy at the Solicitor’s Office, according to the credentials Duffie Stone signed for him — who handled five cases over 15 years, didn’t trust law enforcement.

In a perverse way, that actually tracks.

I don’t believe him for one second. But it tracks.

Why would a man who was, for all intents and purposes, allowed to impersonate a law enforcement officer for so long trust the very same system that gave him those basically fraudulent privileges?

Why would Alex Murdaugh trust a system that has so many people in it who have been willing to look the other way for him for so long? People who have lied for him? Who were willing to do him and his family endless favors? Who allowed him to interfere with cases?

People who didn’t speak up when it mattered.

And who continue not to speak up.

Why would he trust that system?

More importantly, why would we?

And now I’ve stopped laughing.

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