Dick Harpootlian’s brutal cross-examination of state’s crime scene expert gets graphic
Dick Harpootlian Monday grilled the
SLED special agent who oversaw evidence collection at the crime scene after the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh.
“Wasn’t his brain laying at his feet?” Harpootlian asked Worley.
“It was beside his left leg,” she replied. Paul’s bloody footprints were found near his body likely when he stumbled toward the door of the feedroom after the first shotgun blast.
The second shot blew off his head. “His brain flew out,” Harpootlian said. “There’s hair and blood and pieces of skull in the ceiling around him.”
Harpootlian asked Melinda Worley, a tire and shoe impression expert, whether a deputy’s bloody footprint found near Paul’s body was “preservation of the scene to your standards?”
“Not exactly, no,” she replied. The bloody footprint that didn’t belong to Paul likely came from a deputy on the scene.
“Do you know what other evidence they may have destroyed?” Harpootlian asked of Colleton County deputies, who were the first responders on the scene.
“I have no idea,” she answered.
Harpootlian also confronted her with a photo that showed what may have been a footprint on Maggie’s calf.
He questioned why there was only one photo of this, and there’s no scale indicating the impression’s size.
“This was not done according to procedure?” asked Harpootlian.
“I did not know about this on the scene,” she replied before acknowledging she was present at the crime scene when the photograph was taken. At the time, no one appreciated that it was a footwear impression, she said.
Worley added that even if she had multiple photos of the suspected footprint, she wouldn’t have been able to “attribute it to a type of footwear.”
The witness also conceded that Alex’s white T-shirt was not completely clean and had what appeared to be dirt smudges.