The Alex Murdaugh saga has taken another dramatic turn after a random Georgia man became the focus of the convicted murderer’s bid for a new murder trial, thanks to his now-deleted Facebook rant about his wife’s aunt.
Back on Feb. 15, Timothy Stone ranted on his Facebook page about how the family member had “poked her nose into my business,” according to court documents.
Mr Stone said he made the post in response to a private argument between the pair and later felt “horrible” about it and deleted it the next day.
He then posted an apology on his account the next day, saying he was driven by “Satan.”
Mr. Stone had no idea that this brief family dispute would become the focus of the so-called “Trial of the Century” at the Colleton County Courthouse – and convicted murderer Murdaugh’s efforts to get a new trial for the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
Earlier this month, Murdaugh filed a motion for a new trial on the grounds that Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill allegedly pressured jurors in the case to return a guilty verdict against him.
At the heart of the bombing was the circumstances surrounding Juror Number 785 – who became infamous as the “egg juror” when she sparked light-hearted relief after being released from the jury room by asking to have her “dozen eggs” removed from the jury room Jury room to pick up case hours before deliberations begin.
Murdaugh’s lawyers claim the juror was dismissed from the case after Ms. Hill told Judge Clifton Newman about Mr. Stone’s posts, claiming they were written by the juror’s ex-husband as evidence that they were made outside the courtroom talked about the case.
Now, in a new court document filed Monday by Murdaugh’s attorneys, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin say it was a case of mistaken identity.
They say that the Mr. Stone behind the posts is simply someone with a similar name to the juror’s ex-husband and that the post “had nothing to do with anyone associated with this case.”
The Mr. Stone behind the Facebook posts submitted an affidavit to Murdaugh’s legal team.
“Mr. Stone lives in Georgia and has a similar name to the ex-husband of Juror #785. Mr. Stone was the author of the “apology” Facebook post previously filed as Exhibit E to Exhibit 1 and which the “Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill presented evidence. Juror #785 had previously discussed the evidence presented at trial with her ex-husband. “Deliberations began,” the document states.
“In his affidavit, Mr. Stone maintains that he was never married to Juror No. 785 and that he never posted anything in the Walterboro Word of Mouth Facebook group. He did post what Ms. Hill described as an “apology post” from Juror No. 785’s ex-husband, but it was posted on his personal Facebook page and not in the Walterboro Word of Mouth group.”
According to the motion filed earlier this month, Ms. Hill went to Judge Newman on Feb. 27 – the day after Murdaugh testified at his trial – and claimed she had seen a post from Juror 785 in the local Facebook group “Walterboro Word of.” Mouth” seen former husband Tim Stone.
The post allegedly claimed that the juror had been drinking with her ex-husband, and while drunk, she expressed her opinion on whether Murdaugh was innocent or guilty.
In a follow-up post from an account called Timothy Stone, he apologized for the post and said it was driven by “Satan.”
When Ms. Hill confronted the jury about the posts, the jury said she had not seen her ex-husband in 10 years, the motion states. Ms. Hill allegedly told the jury that SLED and members of the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office went to Mr. Stone’s home and that he confirmed that he had taken over the post.
She then reportedly asked Juror 785 whether she was inclined to vote guilty or not guilty – to which she said she hadn’t decided yet.
Murdaugh’s lawyers claim the original post was “fictional” and that a download of Mr Stone’s Facebook page shows he did not write either post.
After the prosecution’s closing argument on the morning of March 1, Juror 785 said the clerk asked her again about her verdict. When the juror said she thought prosecutor Creighton Waters’ closing statement was good but that she had questions because the murder weapons were never found, Ms. Hill allegedly told her “that everything Mr. Murdaugh said were lies and that I that should be forgotten. “Guns, you’ll never see them again.”
The juror said she was dismissed from the jury about 10 minutes later – just hours before jury deliberations began.
During her release, she was accused of speaking to at least three people about the case.
Outside of the Facebook post and her ex-husband, the court was contacted by a colleague of the juror’s tenant who said the tenant said her landlord was a juror and had expressed an opinion when a refrigerator was delivered to the property.
The motion from Murdaugh’s lawyers included affidavits from Juror 785 and her former husband, Tim Stone, who denied ever making the posts.
Disgraced lawyer scion Murdaugh made several more damning allegations against Ms Hill as he accused her of tampering with the jury in his high-profile double murder trial – driven by fame and a desire to secure a book deal.
In the motion, Murdaugh’s lawyers allege that Ms. Hill “manipulated the jury by advising them not to believe Murdaugh’s testimony and other evidence presented by the defense, pressuring them to quickly reach a guilty verdict, and even “Misrepresented important information essential to the trial.” Judge in her campaign to remove a juror who she believed was favorable to the defense.”
Specifically, they allege that the clerk instructed the jury not to be “misled” by the evidence presented by the defense and told them not to be “misled” by Murdaugh’s testimony when he did took the witness stand.
She allegedly instructed the jury to “watch him closely,” “watch his actions” and “watch his movements on the witness stand” — which at least one juror said they understood Murdaugh was guilty.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office responded to the allegations on Friday, saying investigators looking into the allegations had already identified “significant factual disputes” with the claims.
Prosecutors did not explain what “factual disputes” might be involved, but pointed to the number of media interviews Mr. Griffin and Mr. Harpootlian conducted about the application.
The latest twist comes on the same day that Murdaugh reached a deal with federal prosecutors on a series of financial fraud charges after he stole millions of dollars from law firm clients.
In the agreement signed Monday, the double murderer will plead guilty to 22 federal charges, including wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
Murdaugh faces more than 100 state and federal charges stemming from the multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
While he has agreed to the federal charges, he faces trial on the state charges in November.
Murdaugh appeared in court last week for a hearing on the state’s charges, which included stealing more than $4 million from the family of his dead housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died on a mysterious trip in 2018 fell on the family property.
It was the first time he had been seen in court since his conviction in the murder trial.
Former boyfriend and alleged co-conspirator Cory Fleming was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to the charges.
Meanwhile, former friend and Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte is also awaiting trial.
Murdaugh is also charged in a botched hit-man plot in which he claims he paid an accomplice to shoot him two months after the murders of Maggie and Paul.
However, Murdaugh is currently behind bars at McCormick Correctional Institution in South Carolina, where he is serving two life sentences for the murders of his wife and son.
Maggie and Paul were found shot to death on June 7, 2021 on the family’s 1,700-acre Moselle property. Alex Murdaugh had called 911 and claimed to have found their bodies.
During his high-profile murder trial, jurors heard how Paul was shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun while standing in the feed room of the kennels on the wealthy family’s 1,700-acre Moselle property. The second shot to his head ejected his brain almost completely from his skull.
After killing Paul, prosecutors say Murdaugh grabbed a .300-caliber Blackout semi-automatic rifle and opened fire on Maggie as she tried to flee her husband.
During the dramatic six-week trial, Murdaugh admitted to lying about his alibi on the night of the murders but continued to maintain his innocence in the murders.
The jury disagreed and the disgraced lawyer was convicted of the brutal murders in March.