Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 13, 2013

Suspect in Va. missing teen case appears in court

Associated Press

LOVINGSTON, Va. — The Virginia man charged in the disappearance of a Nelson County teenager will remain behind bars until a January following a court appearance Tuesday, as details of his criminal past began to emerge.

Randy Allen Taylor, 48, of Lovingston, was arrested Sunday and charged with abduction in the disappearance of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, who was last seen Aug. 3 by her family. Her car was found in the parking lot of a multiplex in Charlottesville three days later.

The search for Murphy is ongoing.

Taylor appeared in Nelson County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, handcuffed, shackled and wearing a gray jail-issued jumpsuit. He was appointed an attorney, and a preliminary hearing was set for Jan. 9.

Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin refused to comment beyond a statement in which he said the preliminary hearing will determine whether there is probable cause to send the case to a grand jury. Meanwhile, Taylor will remain at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail without bond.

Court records show Taylor’s criminal record stretches back more than 20 years, The Daily Progress reported Tuesday.

Virginia Beach court records show Taylor was convicted of statutory burglary and grand larceny in 1992 and sentenced to 10 years behind bars, with all but 4  1/2 years suspended.

Albemarle County court records show Taylor was convicted of arson in February 2005. He was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay about $6,300 in restitution. His suspended sentence was revoked in June 2011, after he failed to pay restitution. His sentence was immediately re-suspended on conditions of good behavior and that he pay at least $50 a month toward his restitution.

An employer and acquaintances of Taylor’s described him as a quiet, hardworking man, who kept mostly to himself and worked off and on at a local used car lot and doing odd jobs in the area.

Tere Vann, Taylor’s employer at the Ruckersville car lot where he’s worked periodically for the past five years, said: “We knew he had a past, because he’d been honest with us.”

“I would’ve never dreamed it,” neighbor Jim Matheny told the newspaper while watching from his front porch as investigators searched Taylor’s property.

FBI agents on Monday combed the area near Taylor’s home carrying shovels. A sport utility vehicle and camper also were hauled from the property.

Among those at Taylor’s home Monday was Evans Oakerson, the lead investigator in the unsolved September 2010 disappearance of 19-year-old Samantha Ann Clarke of Orange, said Orange County Commonwealth’s Attorney Diana Wheeler. Like Murphy, Clarke went out one night and never came back. Neither Wheeler nor other authorities working the two cases would say whether they believe the two cases are connected.