Anthony Martin, the Nelson County commonwealth’s attorney who got a murder conviction without a body in the case of missing teen Alexis Murphy, resigned from his position January 26 after being reelected in an unopposed race in November.
In an e-mail, Martin says, “[R]eally it boiled down to wanting a change after 10 years of prosecution. An opportunity to go back into private practice came up and I decided to take it.”
Martin did not say which firm he will join March 1. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jerry Gress will be sworn in as acting commonwealth’s attorney until a special election is held.
In May 2014, Martin prosecuted Randy Allen Taylor for the murder of 17-year-old Murphy, whose disappearance in 2013 right before the start of her senior year at Nelson County High rocked the region. She was last seen with Taylor, who was sentenced to two life terms. Martin accomplished the extremely rare legal feat of obtaining a conviction without a body.
“There’s precedent, but such cases are few and far between,” legal analyst David Heilberg told C-VILLE after the trial. The last such local case was the 1983 conviction of Glenn Haslam Barker for the year-earlier murder of 12-year-old Charlottesville schoolgirl Katie Worsky. “Murder cases are difficult enough, especially if you have no body,” he said.
Heilberg says he’s sorry to hear about Martin’s departure. “I really like working with Anthony,” he says. “He’s a good guy and a straight shooter.” Martin is “tough but fair,” adds Heilberg. “That’s not easy to do as a prosecutor.”