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When crime scene analyst Kenneth Kinsey was called to consult on the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh, he assumed that he’d be let go after criticizing the investigators’ initial work.
“Little did I know it would be four months of my life,” he said during his panel “Dissecting the Scene: The Tangled Web of the Murdaugh Murders” at CrimeCon 2023.
The investigation began when the bodies of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh were found by Alex Murdaugh on the family’s hunting property off of Moselle Road in Colleton County, South Carolina in June 2021. Alex Murdaugh would be convicted of the double homicide in March and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Prosecutors said he killed his wife and son as a means of gaining sympathy as a host of financial crimes he’d been engaged in had begun to unravel.
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Kinsey, the chief deputy for the Orangeburg County (S.C.) Sheriff’s Office, didn’t officially begin working on the case until more than a year after the murders, in October 2022. By then, the scene had long been cleaned up. And more than that, Kinsey was troubled by the amount of people who had walked through the scene, damaging key pieces of evidence.
“A lot of people meandering through their scene. A lot of powerful people. Not the kind you say, ‘Get out of my scene,’ to,” Kinsey said.
Additionally, a T-shirt worn by Alex on the night of the killings had been destroyed by a separate expert during chemical testing.
Unable to work on the scene itself, Kinsey based his findings on photos, which showed the bodies and direction of blood splatter. From these photos, Kinsey was able to surmise what happened to Maggie and Paul in their final moments. He pointed out that Maggie was facing the kennel room where Paul was found dead, saying that it ran counter to the defense’s suggestion that Maggie was fleeing the scene.
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“Did it look like she was running away, guys? It looked like she was running to her baby,” he said.
Regarding the location of Paul’s body, Kinsey disagreed with the defense’s assertion that Paul had been shot execution style while kneeling. In contrast, Kinsey said that blood splatter was found on the top of the kennel door, as well as the ceiling, suggesting that he couldn’t have been on his knees. Plus, Kinsey said that the direction of his feet would make it nearly impossible for him to have been kneeling.
“His brain was ejected from his head, there’s no more movement. Instant. You fall like a bag of potatoes. So how can he be out on his knees if his feet are in the feed room?” Kinsey questioned.
And though Kinsey was not familiar with Paul, he asserted that the teen wouldn’t have surrendered to his killer. “Paul would not have let someone else hurt his mama without fighting. He was tough,” Kinsey stated.
Kinsey also speculated that the murders were not planned and the killer had just picked up whatever gun was nearby, sharing that Paul’s touch DNA was found on the shell casings. “Paul loaded that shotgun, the shotgun that took his life,” Kinsey suggested.
As Kinsey closed out the panel, he said that he’s aware Alex Murdaugh is seeking a new trial, alleging a court official tampered with the jury. Though Kinsey believes the jury got it right the first time around, he said that if it’s true there was jury tampering, then Murdaugh should get a second chance at proving his innocence. As he said, “Everyone deserves a fair trial.”
CrimeCon 2023 is produced by Red Seat Ventures and presented by Oxygen True Crime.