August 14, 2013
Abduction suspect Randy Taylor remains behind bars after his initial court appearance on Tuesday, but now the rest of the legal process is taking shape.
Taylor declined an interview request from the Newsplex on Wednesday. He's being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail for his abduction charge in connection with the disappearance of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy.
"Presumably, there's at least some circumstantial evidence, whether it's surveillance footage, fingerprints, DNA, anything at all that would put them together," said David Heilberg, a lawyer with Dygert Wright Hobbs & Heilberg who has no connection to the case.
Taylor's new attorney is Michael Hallahan of Charlottesville, appointed after his previous attorney cited a conflict of interest. But Taylor's next hearing isn't until January, and Heilberg says five months between the alleged offense date and the preliminary hearing is an unusual amount of time.
"I'm sure the commonwealth requested it because the investigation is ongoing and they might supercede the pending warrant with other charges between now and then at any time," he said.
Ever since Taylor's arrest on Sunday, authorities have been tight-lipped about what ties their suspect to the missing Nelson County teen. Heilberg says the lack of sharing information is in everybody's best interest to ensure a fair trial.
"You need a jury trial, and Nelson County is a small place," he said. "There's not a huge population. There's not going to be anybody in Nelson County that doesn't know about the case or know people involved."
Now that Taylor has a court-appointed attorney, he can re-apply for bail. If prosecutors want to keep him behind bars, they're going to have to release some information about their case in a public courtroom to argue why Taylor's bail should be denied.
"I think the concern for the commonwealth would be if they don't have a lot of evidence that the court would have to consider bail," Heilberg said.
But for now, probable cause is enough for authorities to place their suspect under arrest. Whether there's proof beyond a reasonable doubt that Taylor abducted Alexis Murphy will play out in court.