Randy Taylor sentenced to two life terms in death of Alexis Murphy

Published: Jul. 24, 2014 at 5:21 AM EDT
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Randy Taylor
Randy Taylor
Alexis Murphy
Alexis Murphy

NELSON, VA (WWBT) - A judge sentenced Randy Taylor to serve two life terms in prison for the abduction and murder of Alexis Murphy, nearly one year after the 17-year-old vanished.

A jury found the Nelson county man guilty of the charges in May, but a judge decided Wednesday to follow the jury's sentence recommendation and hand down dual life terms. Taylor plans to appeal his conviction.

The drama intensified inside the courtroom, when Taylor offered to reveal where police could find Murphy's body. In exchange, Taylor requested a 20 year sentence.

Murphy's family and prosecutors vehemently rejected the offer, saying they would never trust Taylor to reveal the location.

"We are not going to bargain here," said Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney Anthony Martin. "We have to balance closure with public safety, and Alexis' life is worth more than 20 years."

Mike Hallahan, Taylor's court-appointed attorney, said a third person may be involved in the disappearance, adding that Taylor knows where the person hid Murphy's body.

Speaking outside the courthouse, Murphy's family said only Taylor "absolutely knows" where to find the 17-year-old, who disappeared Aug. 3, 2013.

"This just shows his cowardice," said Murphy's aunt, Angela Taylor. "He had his opportunity before he went to trial, and he chose to ignore it. So, now you have two life sentences to sit there and think about what you did."

Murphy was last seen in surveillance video captured at a Lovingston gas station, in which Taylor is shown holding the door for her.

During the trial, Taylor's fellow prison inmates testified the 48-year-old confessed to being sexually interested in the teenager. Jurors were also shown a shirt soaked with Murphy's blood and strands of her hair, both found in Taylor's camper after her disappearance.

At sentencing Wednesday, Taylor disputed both the credibility and existence of the DNA evidence.

"There was a blood spot on the shirt, it wasn't soaked," Taylor said. "There were no hairs on my bed... This is an attempt to hardball me."

Taylor stood up to address the court, saying that he did not kill Murphy, and personally addressed her family.

"I have no hard feelings for any of you, or for Alexis," Taylor said. "I didn't take any deal during the trial because I've never killed anyone."

Prosecutors read a letter to the court written by Murphy's mother, in which she said that it hurts to see her two boys without her daughter.

"My whole world revolved around finding her, and bringing her home," wrote Laura Murphy. "We get up, and cry, and pray and do it all over again. A feeling I wouldn't even wish on Randy Taylor."

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