Convicted Murderer Alex Murdaugh Denied New Trial Despite Allegations of Jury Tampering by Clerk of Court

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In a prehearing, Judge Jean Toal made it clear that she would base her decision on allegations of jury tampering in the case of convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh on a federal ruling. The defense had to prove interference with the jury and its influence on their verdict. However, it was unlikely that Toal would grant a new trial for Murdaugh based on these allegations.

At a hearing in the Richland County courthouse, Toal reiterated her intention to follow the precedent set in a federal ruling. She would ask the 12 jurors a series of questions, including whether they stood by their verdict, if it was solely based on evidence, testimony, and the law, and whether the court clerk, Rebecca Hill, had talked to them about the case.

Hill would also be questioned under oath regarding these allegations. The defense had alleged in a 65-page affidavit that Hill had spoken to jurors about the case during the trial and had influenced their decision. They also claimed that Hill had driven one juror home after court and made admissions in a book she co-authored.

The defense argued that Hill’s book served as evidence of her motive to tamper with the jury and orchestrate the dismissal of a juror. They believed that Hill needed a guilty verdict to sell her book.

During the hearing, four jurors, including an alternate juror, confirmed that Hill had urged them during the trial to not be fooled by the defense and to closely watch Murdaugh’s actions. However, only one juror, known as “Juror Z,” claimed to have been influenced.

Toal concluded that Hill was not entirely credible, and her testimony raised doubts about her actions. She referred to a hearing in which the presiding judge expressed displeasure with Hill speaking to a juror before he had a chance to.

Ultimately, Toal announced that she needed more time to consider her ruling. The defense expressed unease with Toal’s decision and believed that Hill’s dissembling should call her credibility into question.

The case highlighted the need for updates to the judicial system to address issues such as social media and ensure that juror instructions are clear and enforceable. The defense’s allegations of jury tampering contributed to concerns about the justice system and undermined public faith in its fairness.

In the end, while the defense believed in Murdaugh’s guilt, they also maintained that Hill engaged in jury tampering. They argued that her actions had created circumstances that cast doubt on the courts’ ability to deliver justice and eroded public trust in the judicial system.