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Alex Murdaugh murder trial gets underway with jury selection

Potential jurors reported to the Colleton County courthouse at 9:30 a.m. ET Monday morning.

WALTERBORO, S.C. — Monday was the first day of the Alex Murdaugh trial in Walterboro, South Carolina. The disgraced disbarred attorney is accused of killing his wife Maggie and youngest son Paul.

The first order of business was selecting the jury pool. This process began at 9:30 a.m. ET. Out of some 900 potential jurors summoned, 215 showed up in three panels throughout the day Monday. 

For context, Walterboro is a city of about 6,000 people. 

These potential jurors sat in the Colleton County Courthouse to answer a slew of questions. That's what Monday was like for over 900 potential jurors.

Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill asked a potential juror some questions.

"Juror 258, good afternoon. Now, do you work currently? 

"No ma'am, the potential juror answered.

"Have you ever worked?" Hill asked.

"No ma'am, the potential juror answered.

"Are you married or single?" Hill asked.

"I'm single," the potential juror answered.

One of the most interesting questions today was "Are you related to Alex Murdaugh?" To said they were, through a son-in-law and grandmother.

And most notably, "Have you heard or read about this case?" Over 35 said yes, from local news outlets, documentaries, and a big one, word of mouth.

Of course, the most important question for a potential juror is "Can you make a fair, impartial decision based solely on the evidence in this case?"

Judge Newman explains that answer needs to be yes. 

Judge Clifton Newman reminded these selected Walterboro locals of the most important part of their job in all of this.

"Once you have become a part of the jury pool, then you are to not engage in any form of personal investigation, exposure. You're not to read, discuss, seek to inquire any information concerning this case and you're not to discuss it with any other jurors or anyone else," Judge Newman said.

A Columbia-based criminal lawyer not involved with this case tells News19 this process to narrow the jury pool could take a while.

"You have to weed out those jurors that you believe can't be fair and impartial and that have already made up their mind," Justin Kata said. "Well, the smaller the pool of people, the harder it is." 

One local News19 spoke with said everything is in God's hands at this point. He tells News19 jurors are called to be fair, but we don't know if they'll be right in their decision or not.

"You might get away, but you're not getting by with God," Colleton County resident Herbert Brown said. "So, all I can say today is I pray for both families that they'll bring it to an end. And somebody's going to win and some are going to lose."

According to Judge Newman there are four panels of potential jurors. The clerk of court for Colleton County tells News19 the last group of jurors will come in tomorrow morning at 9:30 a.m. 

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