(CNN) — Alex Murdaugh took the stand to testify in his double murder trial Thursday morning, admitting he lied to investigators when he said he was not at the scene of the killings of his wife and son minutes before the state says the murders took place in June 2021.

Almost immediately, Murdaugh acknowledged his voice is heard in a video that appeared to be filmed at the dog kennels where the bodies of Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh and Paul Murdaugh were found, saying he lied about being at the kennels earlier that evening because of “paranoid thinking” stemming from his drug addiction.

The state has used the video to put Murdaugh at the scene of the killings, despite his claims to law enforcement he had not been at the kennels that night, and numerous witnesses have identified his voice in the background of the video recorded by Paul at 8:44 p.m. the night of June 7, 2021.

“Mr. Murdaugh, is that you on the kennel video at 8:44 p.m. on June 7,” defense attorney Jim Griffin asked, “the night Maggie and Paul were murdered?”

“It is,” Murdaugh said, later adding, “I wasn’t thinking clearly. I don’t think I was capable of reason, and I lied about being down there, and I’m so sorry that I did.”

Still, Murdaugh was emphatic in his denial that he shot and killed his wife and son, insisting in response to questions from his defense attorney Jim Griffin, “I didn’t shoot my wife or my son, anytime, ever.”

Murdaugh was sworn in Thursday morning soon after telling Judge Clifton Newman he wanted to testify, despite Newman’s decision to deny a defense request to limit the scope of questioning Murdaugh would face under cross-examination, specifically in regard to his alleged financial crimes, which the state has pointed to as a possible motive for the killings.

Newman denied the request, echoing his decision a day prior when he ruled not to issue a blanket order limiting the state’s questions, saying it was “unheard of to me.”

FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES: Alex Murdaugh will testify in murder trial

Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two weapons charges in the killings of his wife son at the family’s estate in Islandton, South Carolina.

Prosecutors accuse Murdaugh of killing his wife and son to distract from an array of financial misconduct allegations against him, while his defense attorneys argue he is a caring father who has been wrongly accused after a mishandled investigation.

The now-disbarred lawyer is separately facing 99 charges stemming from those alleged financial schemes, including money laundering, insurance fraud and forgery.

The judge previously ruled to allow prosecutors to present evidence related to Murdaugh’s alleged financial crimes, which the defense has argued are irrelevant to the murder case.

The state, however, contends the purported misconduct was about to be revealed at the time of the killings and provided Murdaugh with a motive to fatally shoot his wife and son by the family’s dog kennels that night.

Prosecutors rested their case last week after calling more than 60 witnesses to the stand. In the absence of direct DNA or eyewitness evidence connecting Murdaugh to the killings, they have attempted to show Murdaugh lied to investigators and was at the scene just minutes before the fatal shootings.

Murdaugh has repeatedly denied being at the scene for the fatal shootings. He told investigators he had gone to visit his mother that evening and found the bodies by the kennels when he returned home later that night.

Attorneys build case in Murdaugh’s defense

So far, the defense has called witnesses including the county coroner, one of Murdaugh’s former law partners, forensics experts and his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, in their effort to reveal flaws in the investigation and paint Murdaugh as shocked and devastated on the night of the fatal shootings.

Buster Murdaugh testified that his father was “destroyed” by the killings of Paul and Maggie.

“He was heartbroken. I walked in the door and saw him, gave him a hug,” he said of seeing his father in the hours after learning of the deaths of his brother and mother. Alex Murdaugh was “just broken down,” Buster said, adding his father was crying and couldn’t really speak.

Buster’s testimony was intended to undermine statements made by a state witness who previously testified he believed Alex Murdaugh had made an inadvertent confession to investigators.

The witness, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Special Agent Jeff Croft, said he believed Murdaugh said “I did him so bad” in reference to Paul’s body during an emotional interview with investigators on June 10, 2021.

The defense has argued Murdaugh actually said, “They did him so bad” — a claim Buster supported. The son said he heard his father use the phrase more than once on the night of the killings.

Murdaugh’s former law partner, Mark Ball, also supported that interpretation in his testimony. He said Alex Murdaugh was “devastated” the night of the killings and told Ball, “Look at what they did. Look at what they did to them.”

Ball also testified that Murdaugh repeatedly said he had not been at the kennels before finding the bodies that night. But he said he now thinks that is not true after hearing Murdaugh’s voice in the background of a video that was filmed on Paul’s phone minutes before the state says the killings occurred.

In the video, which appears to have been taken at the kennels, three voices can be heard in the background, which family friends have testified belong to Alex, Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

Ball said he has “no doubt” it is Alex Murdaugh’s voice that is heard in the footage. At least nine witnesses have identified Murdaugh’s voice on the video, recorded at the scene at 8:44 p.m., around the time of the shootings.

The defense also used Ball’s testimony to support their argument the investigation and crime scene were mishandled. When Ball arrived at the Murdaugh’s home the night of the killings, he testified, there were no barricades or police tape to prevent people from entering the property and walking around the scene.

He said the coroner, citing instructions from South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigators, asked people to gather inside the family’s house, where people began cleaning up. This concerned Ball, who worried whether it was safe and whether the house was part of the crime scene, wondering if their presence there might impede the investigation.

Ball also recalled watching the rain that was falling that evening drip onto Paul’s body, which was covered by a sheet, and pool around it. Maggie’s body was covered and under a tent, he said.

When he returned to the property the next day — after he’d been told investigators had released the scene, he said — he looked into the feed room where Paul was shot and saw “a piece of Paul’s skull about the size of a baseball laying there,” he said. “It just infuriated me that this young man had been murdered and there was still his remains there.”

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