Alexis Murphy murder case heads to trial - NBC12 - Richmond, VA News

Alexis Murphy murder case heads to trial

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NELSON, VA (WWBT) -

Jury selection is underway in the Alexis Murphy murder case. Thursday in court, 48 year old defendant Randy Taylor plead not guilty to murdering the missing Nelson County teenager.

There were more than 150 potential jurors on hand and all parties involved want to make sure the dozen who are selected are impartial and can arrive at a verdict.

It's the first day of Randy Taylor's murder trial and throughout the county, there's a community pleading for answers.

"Not knowing is the hardest. Not knowing is really hard," said Ebony Crawford, a friend of Alexis.

"Alexis was my best friend and were cousins," Malaysia Page added.

The case still makes many here emotional.

"She was great at volleyball. We were teammates. Oh my gosh," Crawford said while thinking about her missing friend.

This month marks 9 months since the teenager went missing, last seen at a Lovingston convenience store. What still has so many here perplexed, the defendant is charged with murder but there's still no sign of a body.

"I'm sad for the family because they have to go through this and still don't have her body or if she's still alive. They really don't have answers," said Shirlene Shaver.

In court Thursday - the defense said after the jury is seated, it plans to bring two dozen witnesses to the stand. The Commonwealth says Alexis' mother will also testify, as well as two employees who worked at the store where the 17 year old was last seen.

"I believe everyone's sitting on the edge of their seats," Shaver said.

Neighbors are hoping as this trial begins, so will the process towards closure.

"She didn't even get to finish off her senior year or anything like that. Just looking at this man in his face. It's just.... just tell us what happened," Page said with concern.

Thursday, the judge dismissed several potential jurors including a neighbor who lives near Alexis Murphy's family, someone who attended school with her relatives, a man who worked on the search and rescue of Alexis, and an employee who works at the school she attended. The trial will resume Friday.

Commonwealth Attorney Anthony Martin told the court Virginia law does not require prosecutors have evidence of a body to move forward with a murder trial. The trial is scheduled to last two weeks.

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