CNN reports that a South Carolina judge has denied Alex Murdaugh a new trial. He was convicted of the murder of his wife and son last year. Alex Murdaugh, the former South Carolina attorney is, alleging the court clerk tampered with the jury that found him guilty almost 11 months ago.
Judge Jean Toal said the clerk of court made improper comments to the jury but ruled the comments did not influence the verdict it reached.
“Toal said she was not convinced the clerk, Rebecca “Becky” Hill, was a completely credible witness and believed she had been affected by the “siren call” to be a celebrity and write a book about the trial.I simply do not believe that the authority of our South Carolina Supreme Court requires a new trial in a very lengthy trial such as this on the strength of some fleeting and foolish comments by a publicity influenced clerk of courts,” the judge, a retired justice on the state’s high court, said.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys first levied the jury tampering allegations against Hill last September, prompting South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson to request an investigation by state law enforcement.
“Ms. Hill betrayed her oath of office for money and fame,” said the motion, which cited at least three sworn affidavits, including one from a juror and another from a dismissed juror, as well as excerpts from her book, “Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders.”
Under cross-examination, Hill said there was a “fleeting thought” before the trial she might write a book. But she didn’t take any steps toward doing so before or during the trial, she said, adding she and her co-author did not begin collaborating until several weeks after its conclusion.