Murdaugh family housekeeper testifies that Alex’s wife said he ‘wasn’t being truthful’

For more than a decade as the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper, Blanca Turrubiate-Simpson said she never knew Alex and Margaret Murdaugh to argue, just “a few minor disagreements.”

But in the months before June 2021, when Alex Murdaugh allegedly called 911 to say he found Margaret and the couple’s youngest son, Paul, shot to death on the grounds of their sprawling Carolina estate South, Simpson said the family matriarch made coffee, dragged her into a room, and shut the door.

“She was concerned about a lawsuit and stated they wanted $30 million and was crying, stating, ‘We don’t have that kind of money. If I could give them everything I have and make it all go away, I would in a heartbeat. I’m starting over. We will start over. I just want him gone,’” Simpson testified that Margaret told her.

The lawsuit was in connection with a fatal case of boating accident in which Paul was facing trial for three felonies of rowing under the influence at the time of his death.

Simpson’s testimony, at times tearful as he recalled his friendship with Margaret, gave a glimpse into his employer’s state of mind before the murders and provided the jury with further insight into Margaret’s nearly 30-year marriage to Murdaugh, a once powerful lawyer who is on trial for the murders of his wife and child.

The prosecution’s line of questioning that Margaret was concerned about money matters had led defense attorney Richard “Dick” Harpootlian to ask for a mistrial, and he argued that it was hearsay and therefore should not be heard by the jury. But Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman disagreed.

Simpson in her testimony before the jury said Margaret confided in her that her husband “doesn’t tell me everything.”

“She felt that Alex hadn’t been truthful to her about what was going on with that lawsuit,” Simpson said.

During cross-examination, Simpson told the defense that the couple had minor arguments, such as over the paint color of their beach house renovation, and that Margaret complained that she only wanted her husband to sit still for 10 minutes. so they could talk.

But ultimately, Simpson agreed that Murdaugh had made his wife “her everything.”

“He loved her,” added Simpson. “She loved him”.

But Simpson testified about other allegedly strange events and behavior in the days and weeks following the murders.

Initially, Simpson said Margaret had texted her on June 7, 2021, the day of the murders, to ask her to come to their Colleton County estate to cook dinner for the family. Margaret and Paul were at the family’s beach house that day, but Simpson testified that Margaret “said ‘Alex wants me to come home'” and that she seemed “disappointed” at having to leave the beach house.

Simpson said she went home to make a cubed steak with white rice, green beans and gravy, then left it on the stove and texted Margaret before returning home.

The next morning, Simpson said Murdaugh called her, saying “’B, they’re gone. They’re gone.'”

Confused by what he meant, he said to her, “‘No, B, they’re dead.'”

Simpson said Murdaugh asked her to help clean up the house, and she testified that she found jars of leftovers in the refrigerator when the family normally left them out for her to clean up. She said Margaret’s pajamas were also folded neatly in a door, which was unusual. She grabbed a damp towel from a small pool of water by the shower and a pair of khakis and washed them.

Previous witnesses testified that state troopers had sent Murdaugh and several lawyer friends, family members and others who had gathered after the murders to the home so they would not be in crime scene photos near the property’s dog kennel, where the bodies of Margaret and Paul found. The defense estimated there were 12 to 15 people inside in the first few hours after the bodies were discovered.

During his questioning on Friday, prosecutor John Meadors elaborated on the clothes Murdaugh wore in a Snapchat video his son shot just hours before the murders: khakis, loafers and a seafoam-colored T-shirt.

Simpson said that in the months following the murders, Murdaugh asked her if she remembered what she was wearing and said, “‘I had a bad feeling.'” She said she had asked if she remembered the shirt she was wearing which was the “Vinny Vines” brand.

But he said he only remembered a blue polo shirt.

“In my mind, I was saying I don’t remember a Vines jersey. It was the polo,” Simpson said. “I didn’t say anything, but I was kind of dumbfounded because I don’t remember her wearing that shirt that day.”

“Have you ever, ever, ever seen that shirt again?” Meadors asked later.

“Not that I know of,” Simpson said.

During cross-examination, Simpson testified that he never saw blood on the khakis he cleaned.

The prosecution’s case is expected to run into next week before the defense calls its witnesses.

If found guilty, Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison without parole.

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