Randy Taylor is charged with the murder of Alexis Murphy, even though her body has yet to be found. Legal experts say, in Virginia, it's relatively rare for that to happen, but it's certainly not unheard of.
NBC29's legal analyst, Lloyd Snook, says there have been a few prior cases, but not many. That's why he says it is likely there is some kind of new evidence. Now that charges have come down, this case is eerily similar to another one that rocked Charlottesville's community to its core almost 30 years ago.
Snook recalls the 1982 disappearance of Katie Worsky. It took Charlottesville prosecutors almost a year to collect enough evidence, but they charged Glenn Barker with her murder. Barker was convicted and spent nine years behind bars, though he maintains his innocence. Investigators are still searching for Worsky's remains.
Now it's clear Nelson County authorities no longer expect to find Alexis Murphy alive either.
Now charged with murder, Taylor was first arrested and charged with felony abduction on August 11. That's eight days after Alexis was last seen - caught on surveillance video at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston.
“At that point, it was within a matter of a week to 10 days of Alexis Murphy's disappearance, and obviously a week to 10 days out, it's kind of hard to say that she's dead,” Snook said.
Despite countless searches over the past four months, a body has not been found. On August 6, her white Nissan was found at the old Carmike 6 Theater in Albemarle County - and dogs traced a scent from the car to Arden Place apartments. In September, the FBI confirmed Alexis’ cellphone was found.
“At this point, clearly, they must have some reason to believe, some new evidence to believe that she is in fact dead,” Snook said.
Due to a gag order in the case, any further evidence is expected to only be revealed during court proceedings. In terms of the gag order, Snook says the commonwealth's attorney is walking a line, but based on Monday morning’s press conference, is still providing information deemed within the public's right to know.
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