Life, twice: Court rejects Randy Taylor’s last-minute offer

Photo: Nelson County Visitor's Bureau/Inset by Lisa Provence Photo: Nelson County Visitor’s Bureau/Inset by Lisa Provence

A Nelson County Circuit Court judge sentenced Randy Taylor to two life sentences in prison for the abduction and murder of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, whose body has never been found. Taylor has maintained his innocence, but during the July 23 sentencing hearing, his attorney said Taylor would disclose Murphy’s whereabouts if the court reduced his sentence to 20 years and repeated the allegation that someone else was responsible for her disappearance.

Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin and the Murphy family dismissed the offer. “We have definitely done our best to give this family some closure. We have to balance closure with public safety,” Martin said, according to the Daily Progress. “His criminal history goes for four pages.”

Trina Murphy, Alexis’ great-aunt, said “I’m not bargaining with a murderer,” she said, according to the Progress. “He will never do this to another young girl or a community.”

Prior to Murphy’s disappearance in August 2013, Taylor was a suspect in the 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Town of Orange resident Samantha Clarke, but in the aftermath of her disappearance he accused police of harassment and had several unrelated charges against him thrown out when a judge agreed investigators had been illegally tracking him with a GPS unit without a warrant. Taylor detailed his story in a feature on Clarke’s disappearance in the Hook in 2012.

In the Clarke case, Taylor claimed he’d been at home with his son without anyone to corroborate his account, and he said he’d made multiple texts and calls to Clarke that night because he’d heard someone else make a threat against her. After his arrest in the Murphy case, he also implicated someone else, claiming Murphy left his home with another man the night she vanished. That man testified at his trial and is not considered a suspect.

Surveillance footage from the Liberty gas station in Lovingston showed Taylor and Murphy walking by one another August 3, the night Murphy went missing. Although evidence including hair, blood, clothing, and her phone was found in and around Taylor’s home, her body has not been discovered.

Taylor plans to file an appeal.