Randy Taylor Found Guilty of Abduction & Murder
The fate of 48-year-old Randy Taylor, the man charged with the abduction and murder of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, has been decided. After six hours of deliberation in Nelson County Circuit Court, a jury found Taylor guilty of first-degree murder in the commission of an abduction and abduction with intent to defile.
Murphy was last seen on August 3. She left her home in Shipman, reportedly heading toward Lynchburg. Surveillance video shows her at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston around 7:15 that night. Authorities arrested Taylor, 48, on Sunday, August 11, and charged him with felony abduction in relation to the case. He was charged with first-degree murder on January 6.
Each conviction carries a minimum sentence of 20 years and a maximum of life in prison.
The prosecutor asked for life sentences, reading Taylor's prior convictions of arson, fraud, burglary, and grand larceny. He said Taylor deserved it because he took the life of a young girl in her prime and "disposed of her in such a way that her family doesn't have a burial for their daughter."
The defense asked for leniency, saying, because Taylor is 48, "he's got a life sentence no matter what you give the defendant".
The jury recommended life sentences for each conviction.
After the verdict was read, Murphy's mother - Laura Murphy - approached the stand and glanced at Taylor. She told the jury the past 10 months have been a living hell for her family without her daughter. In tears, she said, "I have a son. I don't know how to tell him she's never coming home."
Then Murphy said, "If he was in my shoes, how would he feel?" and Taylor requested to leave the courtroom. He stood up and began to storm out before several deputies stopped him and escorted him out. He remained absent from the courtroom throughout the sentencing recommendation.
NBC29 legal analyst Bonnie Lepold says she's not surprised with the verdict nor the recommended sentence because there have been two other Virginia cases without a body that saw a conviction.
"A prosecutor knows that they have a huge burden when there is no body, so what they're looking for is putting together a very tedious timeline that demonstrates all the other facts and circumstances because they are missing the fact that they do not have a body,” said Lepold.
The judge will sentence Taylor July 23.