Defense Attorney Talks Taylor’s Chances for Appeal
Randy Taylor is about a day into his new life behind bars as a convicted killer. The jury says he's responsible for the disappearance and death of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, even though her body has never been found.
After being convicted Thursday of first-degree murder in the commission of an abduction and abduction with intent to defile, what’s next for Taylor? Murphy’s missing body may be one of his linchpins should he file an appeal.
NBC29 spoke with a criminal defense attorney about how likely it would be for Taylor to use the fact that Murphy's body was never recovered as a way to reduce his sentence. The jury recommended a life sentence for each of his two convictions, but Judge Michael Gamble will sentence him July 23.
Criminal defense attorney Bonnie Lepold said, "The judge has the discretion and he has an obligation to exercise that discretion. He may ultimately decide to impose the sentence that was recommended by the jury but he certainly has discretion to lower that sentence."
But the judge’s sentence will likely be followed by an appeal. Lepold says, even if Taylor were to say where he put Murphy's body, any chance of him getting a reduced sentence is unlikely.
“I don't know what benefit it would be to Mr. Taylor at this point unless he has assurances that it will have an impact or lessen his sentence in some way,” Lepold said.
Deals like that are handled through the prosecutor and Taylor's fate is now in the hands of a judge who does not get involved with deals.
“Procedurally it would certainly be difficult. His timing may be off and the train may have left the station,” Lepold said.
Taylor will have 30 days after his sentencing to file with the Virginia Court of Appeals. At this point it is unclear on what grounds he or his defense would site for an appeal.