Attorneys for convicted killer Alex Murdaugh on Monday filed an affidavit that raises additional questions about whether Colleton County Clerk of Court Becky Hill invented a false tale about a Facebook post during the trial that supposedly got a juror favorable to Murdaugh kicked off the jury.
An attorney for Hill, Will Lewis, declined comment.
Earlier this month, in a filing to the S.C. Court of Appeals, Murdaugh attorneys Jim Griffin and Dick Harpootlian alleged Hill falsely said that the ex-husband of the expelled juror, identified only as Juror 785, had posted a statement on Facebook saying in effect that the juror’s mind was already made up about Murdaugh’s guilt. But the ex-husband denied posting the statement, according to the attorneys’ filing.
This week, Griffin and Harpootlian filed another motion saying they found the man who actually made the posting Hill was talking about. He has sworn in an affidavit he is not Juror 785’s ex-husband and that his posting was not about the Murdaugh trial.
“The initial post on Feb. 15, 2023, and the follow up post on Feb. 16, 2023, had nothing to do with anyone associated with the State v. Murdaugh case. The Feb. 15 post was in response to my wife’s aunt ‘sticking her nose in my business’,” the man, identified as Timothy Stone, of Odum, Ga., said.
The disputed Facebook posting is one of a series of allegations that Griffin and Harpootlian have made about alleged improper behavior by Hill that the defense attorneys contend deprived Murdaugh of his constitutional right to a fair trail.
Last March, a jury deliberated less than three hours after a six-week trial before finding Murdaugh guilty of killing his wife, Maggie, and son Paul in June 2021 at their 1,770-acre estate in rural Colleton County.
The defense attorneys are asking for a new trial and a public hearing, when the allegations they have made about Hill can be fully vetted.
In response to the defense’s initial allegations about Hill, Attorney General Alan Wilson requested that agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigate. SLED’s findings would apparently be part of any hearing ordered by the Court of Appeals.
The initial filing also said that during the trial, Hill indicated to jurors that Murdaugh was guilty of killing his wife and son and that they should not be fooled by his statements that he didn’t do it.
The defense also said that Hill’s motive for trying to influence the jury was to promote a book she was writing about the trial that would be an insider’s account. “Ms. Hill betrayed her oath of office for money and fame,” the filing said.
More than eight books about the Murdaugh case are in the works. Several have already been published, including Hill’s narrative, which has been revised several times since its publication in late July.
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