For those in the Low Country interested in why people put their lives on hold to watch the Alex Murdaugh trial and others – a new book tackles this topic and more, and you’ll have three upcoming chances to meet the authors:

  • Friday, July 12th from 12 -4 pm at the McIntosh Book Shoppe, at 917 Bay Street in Beaufort 
  • Friday, July 12th from 5 – 6:30 pm at the Beaufort Bookstore, 2127 Boundary Street, Beaufort
  • Saturday, July 13th from 11 am – noon at the Main Library at 2002 Bull Street in downtown Savannah.

Co-authors of the new book, Trial Watchers, Neil Gordon and Mike Petchenik will be on hand to discuss the book, provide complimentary bookmarks, and sign autographed copies.

It’s hard to believe almost a year has passed since Neil Gordon and embattled former Alex Murdaugh trial clerk Becky Hill published Behind the Doors of Justice: The Murdaugh Murders.

Neil and his wife almost lost their livelihoods over the allegations of Becky’s jury tampering and her plagiarism, and they spent hours

Neil Gordon

speaking to SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement) and SC Ethics investigators related to Becky’s alleged actions.

Over the last year, something good came out of this tough situation; Neil and Melissa encountered amazing true crime fans who inspired their new project, “Trial Watchers,” an anthology of short stories that explore the true crime obsession.

Three of those stories chronicle experiences of women traveling to the Low Country to attend the Murdaugh trial.

Janet Campbell came from Kansas City, Missouri, and was glad she did:

Mike Petchenik

I came into town, embarrassed to say I was there. I felt like a groupie until I checked into my hotel and realized others from out of town were there to watch the trial as well.” She loved being part of all the action outside the courtroom. She ended up getting interviewed on her “go-to station,” Court TV, and spent time sitting at Nancy Grace’s makeshift studio and talking with her. “It was a circus atmosphere, not somber like the tragedy. There were food trucks, media everywhere. Kids ran around. I was looking for bounce houses and Traeger grills for a cookout,” she mused. Janet was walking on Main Street in Walterboro after court adjourned in the late afternoon when she noticed Harpootlian and his co-counsel, Jim Griffin, laughing and joking. They were near a shop selling buttons inscribed with “I survived the Murdaugh trial.” It was just after the closing argument, while the jury was out deliberating. “They were as nice as can be,” she said. They took a selfie with Janet, which she will always keep as a memento.

Trial Watchers also covers these topics:

  • Behind-the-scenes on Becky Hill-related issues
  • True crime, social media, and how hurt people hurt people
  • Trial watchers who travel all over the country
  • How true crime fans seek justice in their own lives
  • Media watch: Crime reporting ethics and lack thereof

Gordon and Petchenik will donate 10% of the book’s quarterly profits to victims’ charities, including those associated with the Community Foundation of the Low Country.

For more information, visit