COLLETON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) — Disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh is set to stand trial next week in the killings of his wife and youngest son.

Margaret Mudaugh and her son, Paul, were found shot to death near their Colleton County home in July of 2021. Alex Murdaugh was indicted by a grand jury in July 2022.

The trial in Colleton County is scheduled to begin with jury selection on Monday, and officials said it could last through Feb. 10.

News2 talked to Susan Williams, a Lowcountry defense attorney and former prosecutor, about how the first few days of the trial will likely play out.

Williams said there is a pool of more than 100 Colleton County residents who could potentially serve as jurors. The process of picking 12 jurors and two alternates could take up to two days, she said.

A person can be a juror as long as they can remain impartial despite knowledge of Murdaugh, Wiliams said.

After the jury has been selected and seated, Williams said opening statements will begin with the prosecutors, who have the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Murdaugh’s defense team will then give an opening statement before prosecutors begin calling witnesses to testify. The defense will have an opportunity to present testimony, but Williams said they are not obliged to do so.

What impact could this trial have on South Carolina moving forward?

“If he’s found guilty, then I think that, like any profession, there are people who do not represent the entire South Carolina bar,” Williams said. “If he’s found not guilty, I believe that we can still pull from this that whatever it is that caused him to be found not guilty… it shows that people can be found wrongfully accused of something, and when they have their day in court, they can be found not guilty.”

Williams went on to say, “Regardless of what happens in this case, lawyers, law enforcement, and anyone involved in the criminal justice system – I think they will be more careful about what they do at work on a professional level. I think that it will improve day-to-day what is going on with the way people are doing their jobs.”

Judge Clifton Newman has issued a special order stating that none of the jurors’ names or identities may be made public for their protection.

Murdaugh is currently being held at the Richland County Detention Center on charges related to financial crimes. He was denied bond in a July 20 hearing.