James McDowell, whose brother was a witness in the double murder trial, described the jury's deliberations on 'Fox & Friends' days after Alex was convicted of murdering his wife, Maggie, and his son, Paul.
James McDowell served on the jury that found Alex Murdaugh guilty of the murders of his wife and son. McDowell spoke out on "Fox & Friends" Tuesday about the six-week process and how he came to his decision.
McDowell’s brother, a law enforcement agent, served as the second witness in the trial. McDowell explained to co-host Ainsley Earhardt that he was upfront about his connection to the case, but he maintained that he could be a fair juror.
"Both sides had the option to exclude me and both wanted me on the jury," he said. "I think they made a good decision because I think I was a fair and honest juror."
ALEX MURDAUGH JUROR REVEALS FINAL MOMENTS DELIBERATING VERDICT, HOW DOG KENNEL VIDEO PROVED KEY TO CASE
Alex Murdaugh listens to defense attorney Jim Griffin give his closing arguments in Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. (Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool)
McDowell said he kept two lines of thinking while evaluating the evidence and witness testimony: One where Murdaugh was innocent and telling the truth on the stand and a second where Murdaugh was guilty.
"Whenever we got to the closing arguments, the storyline of him being there, him doing it, that's the one that made the most sense. The other one, it was full of doubt. It was full of holes. It was full of confusion," McDowell explained.
Earhardt then asked McDowell what he thought when Murdaugh used nicknames to refer to his wife and son while testifying.Video
"We watch all of these videos of the body cam footage and the interviews, and he never refers to Paul as ‘Paw Paw’ in those and he never refers to Maggie as ‘Mags,’" McDowell said. "But then as soon as he gets on the stand, it's almost-- he doesn't use their actual names, he only uses those. So I feel like that was very much so to try to appeal to the jury."
McDowell said he felt that Murdaugh was "overcompensating" by using endearing terms. He said the video of Alex Murdaugh at the dog kennels, the site of the murders, was the deciding factor and without that piece of evidence, deliberations would have been "much tougher."
As for Murdaugh’s history of lying and allegedly stealing money from clients as an attorney, McDowell said he had to "separate" those facts from the murder trial. Judge Newman, who presided over the case, told the jury not to form opinions of Murdaugh’s character based on that information.
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James McDowell, a juror in the Alex Murdaugh trial is interviewed by Rebecca Rosenberg in Walterboro, SC, Friday, March 3, 2023. (Rebecca Rosenberg/Fox News Digital)
McDowell attended the sentencing hearing after the guilty verdict was delivered. Some jurors opted not to attend or had other engagements, but McDowell said he felt it was important to be there.
"We had been there for six weeks," he said. "The day before we had decided the verdict of a man's life, and it was important for us to be there for the sentencing for a decision that we had made and to see it to the end."
And though McDowell said he believes Murdaugh is guilty, a decision he explained wasn’t made lightly, McDowell said there is still reason to pray.
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"I was asked the other day, ‘Do we pray for Alex?’ And I think absolutely we do," McDowell said. "We serve a very merciful God. And we know that Paul was a murderer – not Paul in the case, but Paul biblically – and he ended up becoming a disciple."
"So I think absolutely we pray for him as much as we can."Video
dog kennel video
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