Snapchat, Google reps ordered to testify in Murdaugh murder trial

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:34 PM EST
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COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - Just days before disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh is set to face trial for the murders of his wife and son, the state is summoning two new witnesses with information “critical” to the case, according to new filings.

Judge Clifton Newman, the presiding judge in the trial, signed off Wednesday on orders calling representatives from Snapchat and Google to testify during Murdaugh’s murder trial, stating the tech giants have information pertinent to the case. That information reportedly includes a Snapchat video 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh sent to his friends just hours before his murder.

Paul sent the video “to several friends” at 7:56 p.m. the night of June 7, 2021, court documents state. Prosecutors believe the murders took place anywhere from an hour to an hour-and-a-half after that, previous filings state.

“The contents of this video [are] important to proving the State’s case in chief,” documents state. “Because this video was provided by Snapchat, a Snapchat custodian is required to testify in person that the video is a true and accurate record kept in the normal course of business activity.”

The filing does not detail the contents of the video.

Newman also requested witnesses from Google testify in person. The documents state the tech company responded to a search warrant with records indicating “no devices with Google location data being stored by Google were present at the time of the double murder.”

The state had previously subpoenaed Google for the records of several devices the night of the murders.

Both Snapchat’s and Google’s orders come with directives for California law enforcement, where their headquarters are located, to take the summoned witnesses into custody and deliver them to South Carolina if they don’t voluntarily appear for trial.

The order further instructs the state to pay “reasonable and ordinary expenses” incurred by the witnesses in their travels to Colleton County for the trial.

Murdaugh’s trial is set to begin Monday in Colleton County and is expected to last three weeks.