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Big Surprise From Her Brother In Law


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Murdaugh cited paranoia from his opioid addiction, his distrust of state investigators, and his growing suspicions as police swabbed his hands for gunpowder residue and asked about his relationships with his family.


"People just kept piling in, just more and more people kept showing up," said Mark Ball, Murdaugh's former law partner. There was nothing to keep cars away, and first responders were walking around inside a taped-off area, he testified, adding that he saw water dripping from the kennel roof onto Paul's body.


Despite the large and complex crime scene, state law enforcement released Moselle back to the family on the morning after the murders, according to Murdaugh's brother, John Marvin. He recounted cleaning up parts of Paul's remains that were still sitting out in the open.


The Blackout rifle has been mentioned repeatedly, as experts concluded that rifle shell casings from the murder scene matched tool markings on weathered casings found near the house, indicating they were cycled through the same gun.


The Murdaughs originally had two custom Blackout rifles, given to Paul and his brother, Buster, as Christmas presents. Paul's was apparently stolen in 2017, and a replacement was bought; that newer gun has not been found.


Prosecutors also rejected the idea that Murdaugh was too tall to have fired the shots that killed Paul, citing numerous variables such as the likely chaos at the scene and the potential of firing from a kneeling position.


The outfit matches testimony from Turrubiate-Simpson, the housekeeper, who even recalled fixing Murdaugh's collar that morning. She also told jurors about a conversation with her employer two months after the murders.


Smith said Murdaugh stopped by that night for 20 minutes. But, she added, Murdaugh later tried to convince her the visit was more like 30 to 40 minutes. Smith felt so uncomfortable, she said, that she immediately called her brother, who works in law enforcement.


Judge Clifton Newman allowed prosecutors to present allegations that Murdaugh stole huge amounts of money from his law firm, clients and friends. Newman said the defense "opened the door" by asking witnesses about Murdaugh's character and possible motive.


Paralegal Annette Griswold described Murdaugh as a "Tasmanian devil" who showed up late for work and was all over the place. It was Griswold who first discovered missing settlement fees from early 2021. Griswold said she initially assumed Murdaugh had misplaced them. But she grew suspicious and told the firm's chief financial officer, Jeanne Seckinger.


Dred Scott was born to slave parents in Virginia sometime around the turn of the nineteenth century. His parents may have been the property of Peter Blow, or Blow may have purchased Scott at a later date. The mystery of exact ownership is one that would follow Dred Scott, and later his family, throughout their lives as slaves. With few records extant, it is difficult to identify exactly when ownership of the family was transferred to various parties. By 1830, Peter Blow had settled his family of four sons and three daughters and his six slaves in St. Louis. This was after having moved from Virginia to Alabama, to attempt farming near Huntsville, and, when that failed, a move from Alabama to Missouri. In St. Louis, Peter Blow undertook the running of a boarding house, the Jefferson Hotel. Within a year, though, his wife Elizabeth died and on June 23, 1832, Peter Blow passed away.


The Blow children remained in St. Louis after the deaths of their parents and became well established in the city's society through marriage to prominent families. Charlotte Taylor Blow married Joseph Charless, Jr., in November 1831; his father had established the first newspaper west of the Mississippi River and had been a leading opponent of slavery while editor. Charless, Jr., operated a wholesale drug and paint store, Charless & Company (later Charless, Blow, & Company when brothers-in-law Henry Taylor Blow and Taylor Blow became partners). Martha Ella Blow married attorney Charles Drake in 1835. Drake is better known in history for his role in the creation of Missouri's 1865 constitution. As a leader of the Radical Republican Party after the Civil War, he was determined to punish those considered Southern sympathizers; the constitution he helped author took away many of their rights, including enfranchisement. Peter Ethelrod Blow married Eugenie LaBeaume in 1833. She was from an old French banking family; her oldest brother was a wealthy businessman who, in partnership with Blow, formed Peter E. Blow & Company. She had two other brothers; one was the St. Louis County sheriff for a time in the 1840s, and one, Charles Edmund LaBeaume, was a St. Louis attorney who played an important role in Dred Scott's freedom suits. All of these St. Louis connections proved helpful to Dred Scott.


One of Dred Scott's ownership mysteries concerns the date of his sale to Dr. John Emerson. It was sometime after the Blows arrived in St. Louis in 1830 and before Dr. Emerson reported to Fort Armstrong in Illinois on December 1, 1833. There is no extant record of the sale, although several theories have been posited. It is possible that Peter Blow sold Dred Scott to Emerson before his death. It is also possible that Blow's heirs sold him from the estate. On June 30, 1847, Henry Taylor Blow testified in Dred Scott's circuit court trial for freedom that Peter Blow sold Scott to Dr. Emerson. Emerson's attorneys did not object to this testimony or cross-examine Blow on its accuracy, so it is probable this is the manner in which the ownership of Dred Scott passed to Dr. Emerson.


John Emerson came to St. Louis sometime before August 1831. He served as a civilian doctor at Jefferson Barracks for a time before his October 25, 1833, appointment as an assistant surgeon in the United States Army. He left St. Louis on November 19, accompanied by Dred Scott, to report for duty at Fort Armstrong, Illinois (the stay referred to in court documents as Rock Island). Emerson's assignment lasted for nearly three years and, under the conditions of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, entitled Dred Scott to his freedom. That ordinance prohibited slavery in regions between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers and the Great Lakes, except as punishment for crimes. In addition, when the state of Illinois was created from part of the Northwest Ordinance territory in 1818, the state constitution prohibited slavery.


On October 20, 1837, Emerson left Fort Snelling for assignment to St. Louis, which he had repeatedly requested. He traveled from the fort by canoe because the upper Mississippi River was already frozen and steamboats were not making the trip. Due to the mode of travel, he left behind most of his possessions, including Dred and Harriet Scott. The Scotts were left in the care of someone else, to be hired out until Emerson could make arrangements to send for them. They had opportunity to escape slavery by running away in his absence, but they did not. Nor did they attempt to sue for their freedom during this time.


On May 29, 1840, Emerson was transferred to Florida, where the Seminole War was being fought. He left his wife and slaves in St. Louis, where Irene Emerson's father, Alexander Sanford, resided on his plantation, called California, in north St. Louis County; Sanford owned four slaves. Dred and Harriet Scott were hired out to various people during that time. Emerson was honorably discharged from the United States Army in August 1842. He returned to St. Louis but, unable to maintain a successful private practice in the city, settled permanently in Davenport, Iowa, on land he purchased in 1835. He began practice there in the summer of 1843. Irene Emerson joined him and gave birth to their daughter Henrietta in November 1843. On December 29, 1843, Emerson died suddenly; he was forty years old. The official cause of death was listed as consumption, but it is possible he died of complications from syphilis. An inventory of his Iowa estate mentioned slaves, but the inventory is no longer extant, so it is impossible to determine if this reference was to the Scott family. There is no mention of any slaves in Emerson's Missouri estate inventory, although it is likely that Dred and Harriet Scott were living in or around St. Louis, hired out. After Emerson's death, Irene Emerson returned to St. Louis with her daughter and lived with her father. His proslavery sentiments probably influenced many of her decisions after Dred and Harriet Scott filed for freedom.


By March 1846, Dred and Harriet Scott were hired out to Samuel Russell; he was the owner of a wholesale grocery, Russell & Bennett, located on Water Street in St. Louis. At some prior point, Dred Scott had been in the service of Irene Emerson's brother-in-law, Captain Henry Bainbridge. Later reports claim that he traveled with Bainbridge to Corpus Christi, Texas, but returned to St. Louis at the outbreak of the Mexican War. No mention of this travel is made in official court documents. There is no mention of where Harriet and Eliza Scott were during the time that Dred Scott was with Bainbridge.


On April 6, 1846, Dred and Harriet Scott each filed separate petitions in suits against Irene Emerson in the St. Louis Circuit Court to obtain their freedom from slavery. These documents, identical in nature, stated that the petitioners were entitled to their freedom based on residences in the free state of Illinois (Rock Island) and the free Wisconsin Territory (Fort Snelling).


The suits were brought under a Missouri statute that specifically allowed anyone held wrongfully in slavery to sue for their freedom. Specific procedures for filing suit were outlined in the statute. First, a petition to sue was filed in the circuit court. If the petition contained sufficient evidence that the plaintiff was being wrongfully held, the judge ordered that the petitioner be allowed to sue; security for all court costs that might be adjudged had to be presented to the court. The judge would also order that the petitioner have liberty to attend to counsel and court, and not be removed from the jurisdiction of the court, or subjected to any severe punishment because of the freedom suit. Although proslavery in sentiment, Judge John M. Krum approved the form of the petitions, which Dred and Harriet Scott signed with their marks, an "X," and granted them permission to sue. 59ce067264






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