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UPDATE: Cashier Testifies Alexis Murphy, Randy Taylor Talked - abc27 WHTM

UPDATE: Cashier Testifies Alexis Murphy, Randy Taylor Talked

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Nelson Co., VA - The defense and prosecution gave their opening statements Friday in Nelson County Circuit Court, where Randy Taylor is on trial for the abduction and murder of Alexis Murphy.

Much of the testimony Friday afternoon focused on what happened at the Liberty Gas Station on August 3rd. That's the last place Alexis Murphy was seen.

Surveillance images shown in court show Randy Taylor holding the door for Murphy as she entered the store. The cashier working that day says Taylor didn't buy gas but was parked at the pump besides Murphy car.

The cashier testified that she watched Murphy walked out the store and turn her head as if someone was saying something to her. She said she then she saw Murphy walk over to Taylor's camo colored SUV and talk to him.

Another surveillance video shows Taylor's SUV heading toward Charlottesville on 29 from the gas station followed by Murphy's car. Thr cashier and another store employee testified that Taylor would regularly back into a parking space there in the parking lot of the store and watch teenagers hanging out there in the parking lot and it was creepy.

One of the women says she was always friendly to Taylor because he was a store regular but she would never want to be alone with him.

The defense says neither woman had called the police on him and it wasn't until the FBI came to talk to them that they thought Taylor was creepy. The defense even suggested that Taylor was there in the parking lot to use the free wifi at the McDonalds beside the store, but the employee said the wifi wouldn't go as far as Taylor was parked.

In his opening statement the Commonwealth's Attorney took 45 minutes to preview the testimony that jurors will hear.

He told the jurors that on August 3rd Randy Taylor is seen on surveillance video at the Liberty Gas Station holding the door for Alexis Murphy, saying they left in separate vehicles around the same time.

The next night, around 10 pm, he says another surveillance camera captures the car Alexis was driving the night she disappeared, being parked outside a Charlottesville theater.

It is too dark to see who the driver is.

Randy Taylor shows up at an Applebees within walking distance of that theater about a half hour later, according to the commonwealth, and Taylor takes a cab to Nelson County.

On August 7th, investigators found a diamond stud torn fingernail and long dark hair inside Taylor's camper.

All of those turned out to be matches to Murphy's DNA according to the commonwealth.

When confronted with that information, Taylor apparently told investigators, "You might as well take me in, I'm getting tired."

During a second search of the camper after his arrest, authorities found the shirt Randy Taylor was wearing in the gas station surveillance picture.

They say that shirt was balled up underneath the couch and there were hair extensions and fake eyelashes inside of it and blood on it, they say again matching Murphy's DNA.

In his less than ten minute opening statement, Randy Taylor's defense attorney stopped short of accusing investigators of planting that shirt under the couch, saying they missed it during the first search and that they had locked the trailer up after Taylor's arrest.

He told the jury police should be looking at a friend of Murphy's named Damien Brown who left for Alabama around the time she disappeared.

The defense called that fleeing the state.

After the opening statements, the commonwealth began to call witnesses, including Laura Murphy, the mother of Alexis Murphy.

When she took the stand she was crying at times, especially when recalling the last conversation she had with her daughter before her daughter left the house the night she disappeared.

Also at times Laura Murphy darted her eyes over at Randy Taylor.

Murphy pointed out that she says the image that you saw of her daughter on Twitter, on Facebook, a party girl, was not the Alexis that you saw at home.

Alexis' dad Troy Brown testified that he let Alexis borrow his car to work on August 3.

Brown's car is the white maxima found in Charlottesville.

The next day, Alexis' mother called Brown to tell his she had not come home and he thought something was wrong because she normally wouldn't stay out with his car like that.

Brown would tell Murphy to bring the car back and Murphy was supposed to have it back Saturday night.

Brown testified he thought it was strange the car was in Charlottesville because Murphy said she was going to Lynchburg to get hair extensions.

Murphy didn't know her way around Charlottesville; she was new to driving there, Brown said. Murphy worked in Charlottesville.

Brown identified the car as his and said it was clean when Murphy borrowed it.

Brown also testified that he had never heard of Randy Taylor.



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Nelson Co., VA - The jury has been decided in the Randy Taylor trial in Nelson County.


There are eight women, six men, one African American, and one Latino on the jury.

Taylor got to court around 9:25 a.m. wearing a button down shirt, khakis, and loafers. A judge allowed Taylor to wear business attire instead of his jumpsuit during the trial.

Taylor was then arraigned, pleading not guilty to first degree murder, first degree murder during an abduction, and abduction with intent to defile.

Many jurors were excused from the trial. The reasons varied from seeing too much in the media to knowing members of the Murphy or Taylor family.

One juror was let go for helping search for Alexis. Another juror was excused for towing away Taylor's truck off his property for the state.

The Commonwealth pointed out to potential jurors the law does not require there be a body to convict someone of murder.

The defense objected saying there is no proof Alexis Murphy is dead and the Commonwealth would have to prove that, but the judge overruled the motion.

The judge expects the trial to go well into next week.

Trina Murphy spoke to the media after court was adjourned.

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Update 12:20 p.m.

Nelson County, VA - An update now on the first day of Randy Taylor's murder trial. Our Angela Hatcher is inside the courtroom as he goes on trial for the murder of Alexis Murphy.

Taylor got to court around 9:25 a.m. wearing a button down shirt, khakis, and loafers. You may remember a judge allowed him to wear business attire instead of his jumpsuit during the trial.

Taylor was then arraigned and pleaded not guilty to first degree murder, first degree murder during an abduction, and abduction with intent to defile. So far 26 jurors have been questioned and 16 have been excused. The reasons varied from seeing too much in the media to knowing members of the Murphy or Taylor family. One juror was let go for helping search for Alexis Murphy. Another juror was excused because he towed Taylor's truck off his property for the state.

The Commonwealth did point out to potential jurors that the law does not require there be a body to convict someone of murder. The defense objected, saying there is no proof Alexis Murphy is dead and the Commonwealth would have to prove that. But the judge overruled the defense's motion.

The judge expects this trial to go well into next week, possibly until May 14th.

We will have much more starting tonight on 13 News at 5.

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Nelson Co., VA – The family of Alexis Murphy, 17, is ready for the man accused of killing her to stand trial. Randy Taylor’s trial starts Thursday in Nelson County Circuit Court.

Trina Murphy, Alexis Murphy’s aunt, calls the trial of Taylor the next phase of the nightmare the family has been living for the last nine months.

Alexis' body still has not been found. The family would consider a conviction to be justice, but they say even that would not bring them any closure.

The family plans to be in court, some family members have been called to testify.

"I think we all have a good understanding of what we're going to hear,” said Trina Murphy. “From the very beginning, the Commonwealth's Attorney, the police, the FBI and everyone involved, they've told us what they could. We've been very accepting of that."

Trina Murphy says while the family is confident in the Commonwealth's case against Taylor, he deserves to be able to defend himself in court
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