How Randy Taylor Was Charged With 1st Degree Murder, Without Alexis Murphy's Body

Lovingston, VA - Randy Taylor has been charged with killing Alexis Murphy. His trial is set to begin May first. But one major question remains; how was a first degree murder charge reached, when a body hasn't been found?

"Without the victim's body, it's a huge advantage to the defense" said Andrew Childress.

Lynchburg Criminal Defense Attorney, Andrew Childress described an uphill battle that awaits the Nelson County Commonwealth's Attorney.

"There's no way to prove cause of death, there's no way to prove time of death, there's no way to prove that this person isn't alive and walking around somewhere that just doesn't want to be found" he said.

There is one major piece of evidence, still missing in the Randy Taylor murder trial; Alexis Murphy's body.

Nine days after Alexis' disappears, Nelson County investigators charged Taylor with Murphy's abduction. Fast forward to January five months later, a grand jury indicted Taylor on first degree murder charges. In that time, search crews scoured Taylor's property. A car, a cellphone were all found, still though no body.

A judge would eventually place a hold on releasing any evidence relative to the case, a sign Childress said, the prosecution has something just waiting for that court room.

"To bring the charge, particularly with this much attention, I would be very surprised if there wasn't some piece of evidence, some circumstantial evidence that really attaches these two people together" he said.

With sealed evidence, who knows what was discovered. Childress says DNA, even a body part, could be in the prosecution's arsenal. But with no body, no autopsy, and no death certificate, the defense may argue Alexis, is alive.

"It can be done, it has been done, but it's very hard and a lot of times, they're not winnable" said Childress.

In 1980, Stephen Epperly was convicted of first degree murder in Radford for killing Gina Hall. Her body was never found. In that case, blood stains, clothing, and hair follicles were all used to get a conviction.