(CNN) — Disgraced former lawyer Alex Murdaugh returned to the stand for a second day of cross-examination in a South Carolina courtroom Friday morning, after telling prosecutors he previously lied about not being at the scene of his wife’s and son’s deaths before they were killed.

Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and two weapons charges regarding the fatal shootings of his wife, Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, and son Paul Murdaugh, whose bodies were discovered at their family estate on June 7, 2021.


On Friday, prosecutor Creighton Waters continued to focus on the financial crimes the state alleges drove Murdaugh to murder, asking the former lawyer during cross-examination whether the clients he stole from are “real people.”

“They are real people. They’re good people. They’re all people that I care about … And a lot of them people that I love and I did wrong by them,” Murdaugh said.

“Every single one, you looked them in the eye at least once? Is that fair?” Waters asked at one point.

“Every client that I had at some point out, I looked him in the eye, and I believe that I had the trust of my clients,” Murdaugh said.

“Whether that came from me looking them in the eye or not, I can’t answer that. But I will agree with you that every single client I looked them in the eye and I believe that the people that I stole money from for all those years trusted me.”

Murdaugh took the stand Thursday to deny he killed them, and also acknowledged his duplicity in interviews with South Carolina state authorities about his whereabouts that evening.

“I did lie to them,” he said of his comments to investigators that he had not been that day to the estate’s dog kennels, where the bodies of Maggie and Paul were found, until he found them dead. He said he lied because of “paranoid thinking” stemming from his addiction to opiate painkillers.

Paul had recorded video on his phone, apparently at the dog kennels, at 8:44 p.m. on the night of the killings. Witnesses have testified Alex’s Murdaugh’s voice can be heard in the background of the video, and Murdaugh confirmed it was him in Thursday’s testimony.

After going to the kennels, Murdaugh testified, he went inside his home and briefly laid on a couch before deciding to visit his ailing mother in a nearby town. Murdaugh testified he’d spoken to one of her caregivers earlier that day who asked for him to stop by. So he briefly visited his mother that night and then drove back home, where he eventually found the bodies at the kennels, he testified.

A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division investigator has testified Murdaugh called 911 from his residence at 10:06 p.m.

Murdaugh was facing severe financial pressure at the time of the killings, prosecutors have said, and Murdaugh has admitted to stealing funds from his law firm and clients. Prosecutors contend the purported misconduct was about to be revealed, and accuse Murdaugh of killing his wife and son to stave off those revelations.

On September 4, 2021, nearly three months after the killings, Murdaugh reported he was shot alongside a road and was treated for a “superficial gunshot wound to the head,” authorities said.

A cascading turn of events would then ensue, including Murdaugh’s resignation from his law firm, his disbarment, revelations his shooting was a scheme to provide life insurance money to his surviving son, and his eventual arrest in connection with the alleged financial crimes and killings.

Defense attorneys point to what they describe as a mishandled police investigation, adding Murdaugh is a troubled but loving father and husband whose other misdeeds still do not add up to him being a murderer.

“I didn’t shoot my wife or my son, anytime, ever,” Murdaugh said on the stand Thursday.

An emotional Murdaugh admits financial fault

Before Murdaugh testified Thursday, a motion from the defense to limit the scope of questioning he would face was denied by Judge Clifton Newman — in particular, allegations of financial wrongdoing.

Murdaugh admitted on Thursday to stealing millions of dollars from his clients and law firm, then known as PMPED and since renamed Parker Law Group, telling prosecutor Creighton Waters, “I took money that was not mine and I shouldn’t have done it.”

“I hate the fact that I did it. I’m embarrassed by it. I’m embarrassed for my son. I’m embarrassed for my family,” he said.

Murdaugh said he had a pill addiction for roughly two decades but was able to maintain his legal practice and was “certain none of my partners knew I had an addiction.”

Murdaugh testified his opioid use was “certainly a cause” of his financial problems, but not the only cause. He said he was using some of the money he stole from clients to buy pills, but not all of it. Some money was being used to fund what the prosecution called a “wealthy lifestyle,” a term Murdaugh said he would not take issue with.

The former attorney also broke down in tears several times during Thursday’s testimony when speaking of his wife and son.

“You could not be around him and not have a good time,” Alex Murdaugh said of Paul.

“Were you close to Paul?” defense attorney Jim Griffin asked.

Still crying, Murdaugh replied, “You couldn’t be any closer” than he was with Paul and his surviving son, Buster.

Murdaugh was asked about when he found the bodies in the kennels.

“I saw what y’all have seen pictures of,” he told his defense attorney, crying and taking a pause before saying it was “so bad.”

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