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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Andrea Cavallier

His testimony was key to Alex Murdaugh’s murder conviction. He says there’s no need for a new trial


Dr Kenny Kinsey captivated a South Carolina courtroom at Alex Murdaugh’s trial for the murders of his wife and son as he re-enacted the brutal killings, giving the jury crucial evidence to find the defendant seated in front of him guilty.

Months later, the forensic expert captivated a very different crowd with his retelling of the case - and belief that Murdaugh will not be successful in his ongoing bid for a new trial.

The latter show took place as Dr Kinsey, chief deputy for the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office and a seasoned expert in crime scene reconstruction, took the stage at CrimeCon in Orlando, Florida, where he pleaded with the attendees to remember the victims.

“Please remember the victims,” he said. “This event is to honor the victims.”

The event included talks by the double murderer’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin; and Kerri Rawson, the daughter of BTK serial killer Dennis Rader.

Just weeks earlier, Murdaugh’s attorneys filed a motion requesting a new trial for the former legal scion who was convicted in March of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul on their Moselle property on 7 June 2021.

The bombshell motion accused Colleton County clerk of court Rebecca “Becky” Hill, of improperly influencing the jury and betraying her oath of office for money and fame.

But Dr Kinsey told the crowd at CrimeCon on 22 September that he wasn’t buying it.

“I don’t give a cantankerous darn what’s being said,” he said. “I’m sure not gonna disparage the clerk of court until someone shows me something solid.”

“They [jurors] did their job until someone can prove to me they didn’t,” he added.

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh left to right
— (Maggie Murdaugh/Facebook)

Murdaugh’s attorneys, who also held their own panel on Saturday, doubled down on what they wrote in the motion, telling CrimeCon attendees that they were approached by jurors who said they were told by Ms Hill to not trust Murdaugh when he testified.

Some of the jury also claimed they were pressured to come to a quick verdict, refused their requests for smoke breaks during deliberations, and revealed Ms Hill had private conversations with the foreperson. Ms Hill has not yet responded to the allegations, but is assembling a legal team.

“If the allegations - that have been laid on the table - are proven, then yes, there needs to be a new trial,” Dr Kinsey said. “I just don’t believe it.”

The expert, who was called by the prosecution to testify at the widely watched trial earlier this year, joined the team late, but his impact on the jury was significant with Murdaugh ultimately being found guilty of the murders and sentenced to life in prison.

“The men and women of the jury did their job and I believe they got it right,” he said at CrimeCon.

A mysterious prediction

During a Q&A session at the event, a bold audience member asked Dr Kinsey point blank about whether or not the Murdaugh family was involved in the mysterious 2015 killing of gay teenager Stephen Smith.

“Were the Murdaughs involved in the killing of Stephen Smith’s death?” the unnamed woman asked Dr Kinsey.

Dr Kinsey had been hired earlier this year by Smith family attorneys Bland-Richter to lead an independent investigation into Smith’s death.

“I’m out here trying to bring a little justice to some families,” he said, before announcing that he’d be retiring the following weekend.

At the event on Friday, Dr Kinsey responded to the woman with “Oh I know the answer to that, but I can’t tell you what it is.”

Stephen Smith was found dead in a road back in 2015
— (Sandy Smith/GoFundMe)

He then revealed that he had submitted his report and that a pathologist and one other expert had as well, which are reportedly similar to what he has, he added. New information on the case is expected before the end of the year, he said.

Smith, a 19-year-old nursing student, was found dead on a road in Hampton County, South Carolina, in the early hours of 8 July 2015 – not far from the prominent Murdaugh family’s estate where Murdaugh later murdered his wife and son.

Despite Smith suffering blunt force trauma to the head and there being no skid marks or vehicular debris on the road, officials ruled his death a hit-and-run at the time.

Smith’s mother long questioned this official account and, for years, the Murdaugh name continued to crop up in connection to the case.

Murdaugh’s only surviving son Buster and Smith were classmates and there were unsubstantiated rumours that the two had been in some sort of relationship around the time of his death.

Smith’s mother Sandy Smith named Buster as the prime suspect in her son’s murder in a letter begging the FBI to get involved in the case back in 2016.

In June 2021 – mere days after Maggie and Paul’s murders – SLED announced that it was opening a new investigation into Smith’s death.

Buster Murdaugh gives first TV interview denying involvement in Smith homicide

Earlier this month, Buster broke his silence to deny any involvement in the killing of Stephen Smith. He spoke out in his first TV interview since his family was propelled to national attention, for the new three-part Fox Nation documentary “The Fall of the House of Murdaugh”.

In the interview, Buster slammed rumours that he too could have been involved in a heinous murder of Smith and offered an alibi for his whereabouts on the night the teenager was killed.

This April, the agency announced that Smith’s death was being investigated as a homicide and his body was exhumed for a private autopsy.

No one has ever been charged over Smith’s death and law enforcement have never announced anything linking Buster to the killing.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson demonstrates the defence portrayal of the shooting of Paul Murdaugh during testimony from Dr Kenny Kinsey

Dr Kinsey may be best known for being part of a graphic demonstration in the courtroom during Murdaugh’s murder trial as he and South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson acted out the defence’s version of how Paul was murdered – with the killer shooting him in the back of the head at point-blank range.

Dr Kinsey rubbished what he described as a “preposterous” and “unscientific” theory from the defence as he went into gruesome detail about the extent of injuries he has seen on victims who have suffered a contact wound to the head with a shotgun.

The crime scene expert also tore apart testimony from another defence witness who had claimed that Maggie was murdered by a 5’2” shooter – and not her 6’4” husband.

Maggie and Paul were both gunned down at the family’s Moselle hunting estate in Islandton on 7 June 2021.

Paul, 22, was shot twice with a 12-gauge shotgun as he stood in the feed room of the kennels.

The first gunshot struck his chest and wasn’t fatal, while the second struck him in the shoulder, neck and head – with the bullet blowing his brain completely out of his skull.

Maggie, 52, was then shot five times with a .300 Blackout semiautomatic rifle as she tried to flee from her killer.

Beyond the murders, the brutal double murders brought to light a series of scandals surrounding Mr Murdaugh including unexplained deaths, a multi-million-dollar fraud scheme and a botched hitman plot.

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