The murder trial for Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina attorney accused of killing his wife and son in 2021, was evacuated Thursday after a bomb threat was called into the courthouse, according to multiple outlets.
Renée Wunderlich, a spokesperson for the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), confirmed to The Post and Courier a bomb threat caused the Colleton County courthouse to be evacuated just before 1 p.m. on Wednesday.
Courthouse administrators said the threat indicated the bomb had been placed in the chambers of Judge Clifton Newman, who is presiding over the Murdaugh case.
Newman initially ordered the evacuation as prosecutors questioned a witness, providing no additional information, and Murdaugh was then seen being escorted by police into a marked vehicle before being driven away.
SLED is continuing to investigate the threat as all courthouse attendees have been ordered to stand across the street from the courthouse—though the Colleton Sheriff’s Office urged attendees “to use an alternate route of travel” away from the area, according to FOX News.
What We Don’t Know
It is unknown whether the trial will resume Wednesday, though Newman ordered jurors to return by 2:30 p.m. while announcing the evacuation.
Murdaugh, who is part of a long line of high-profile attorneys in South Carolina, was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of possessing a weapon during a violent crime. Prosecutors allege he shot his wife Maggie with a rifle before killing his son Paul with a shotgun outside the family’s home in June 2021. The once-prominent attorney, whose family members served as district attorney of the state’s 14th circuit between 1920 and 2006, began to face a slew of criminal allegations in the months following the deaths of his wife and son—all of which he has denied any involvement in. Murdaugh was also accused of defrauding victims—including some of his legal clients—of nearly $9 million and South Carolina of almost $500,000, according to Attorney General Alan Wilson, who was present during Wednesday’s trial.
Alex Murdaugh’s Murder Trial: Here’s What To Know About The Once-Prominent Lawyer As Jury Selection Begins (Forbes)