Watch live: Opening statements underway in Murdaugh’s murder trial

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(NewsNation) — Opening arguments in the murder trial of Alex Murdaugh began Wednesday at approximately 3:30 p.m. eastern time.

The judge began by giving the jury instructions before attorneys on both sides delivered their statements.

The lead prosecutor in the case, Creighton Waters, addressed the jury first and listed the indictments being brought against Murdaugh.

“The evidence is going to show there was malice,” Waters told the jury, “There was forethought.”

The jury in the trial was seated earlier on Wednesday, after three days of intense questioning. with 12 jurors and six alternates selected.

Jury selection began Monday morning as prosecutors and defense attorneys sifted through some 700 summonses to find 12 jurors and six alternates. More than 200 people were brought in for a first round of questioning that lasted nearly three hours, but only about 30 were deemed qualified for the pool of potential jurors.

Potential jurors faced a battery of questions, including whether they knew any of the nearly 200 law officers, friends, bankers and others on the witness list, as well as whether they had heard about or followed the case.

The trial is taking place in Colleton County, South Carolina, part of the state’s Lowcountry, where the Murdaugh family has been influential for decades. A portrait of Alex Murdaugh’s father usually hangs in the courtroom, but the judge ordered it removed for the trial.

Alex Murdaugh is charged with two counts of murder for the deaths of his wife and son, and the judge in the case has set aside three weeks for the trial. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty.

Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were found shot to death in the basement of the family’s estate in June of 2021. Law enforcement reportedly viewed Alex Murdaugh as a suspect from the beginning but didn’t arrest him until July of 2022.

The Murdaugh name held a lot of sway in Hampton County, where the the family held positions of power for decades. Shortly after Maggie and Paul Murdaugh’s deaths, Alex Murdaugh was shot in the head by a man who claimed Alex Murdaugh hired him to kill him, in what authorities say was an attempt at insurance fraud.

More twists and turns in the case unfolded as time went on. The family was linked to several mysterious deaths, including that of Mallory Beach, who was killed in an accident involving the family’s boat. Her family accused Paul Murdaugh of being responsible for the crash.

Then there was the family’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in an accident at the family’s home.

There was also Stephen Smith, a young man whose deaths was officially ruled a hit and run but whose family said was not properly investigated. Smith was rumored to be linked to the oldest Murdaugh son, Buster.

Authorities also found evidence that Murdaugh was involved in a number of financial crimes, including tax evasion, fraud and money laundering. He faces 100 counts in those cases, which have been postponed until after the murder trial.

This is a developing story, refresh this page for updates.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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