May 12, 2014
Convicted killer Randy Taylor spoke out for the first time since his arrest last summer in connection with the disappearance and death of Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy.
Last week, a jury convicted him on those charges.
In an exclusive interview with Newsplex reporter Chris Stover, Taylor says he turned down a plea deal midway through the trial. The deal, he said, would've capped his sentence at 20 years.
"It's overwhelming because, like I said, turning down the deal, I figured I would get the truth out here," Taylor said. "If I would've done this as a guilty person, I would take the deal and be out in 16 years of a 20 year deal. But I had all my faith believing that I'd be exonerated of all these charges."
Commonwealth's attorney Anthony Martin has not yet confirmed whether a plea deal was offered.
From the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, where Taylor stays as he awaits his sentencing, he maintains his innocence.
"There's just too many things that haven't been told for me to be convicted of murder of Alexis Murphy," he said. "I did not murder Alexis Murphy. I did not abduct Alexis Murphy."
Over the course of the trial, prosecutors played audio tapes in which Taylor got caught up in his own lies.
"I was frightened at first because I thought she was just a runaway person," he said. "This was not local law enforcement. This was FBI. I did get a little upset about it at first that I made the statements. I wanted to correct the statement right after it happened."
One of the lies was about inviting the 17-year-old high school senior over to his camper on Route 29, just about a mile north of the Liberty gas station where Alexis was last seen. After denying having her in his camper many times, he finally admitted to investigators she had been there after they presented him with DNA evidence.
Surveillance video from the Liberty gas station also shows Taylor speaking with Alexis on the night she disappeared.
"I smoked marijuana before, and she had asked me about smoking marijuana before," he said. "That's all we were mainly talking about."
Since his arrest, Taylor has claimed a third person was also involved. He said a man, later identified by investigators as Dameon Bradley, joined Alexis at his camper.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence to suggest a third person was ever in Taylor's camper. Bradley testified as a witness for the prosecution, saying he's never met Taylor.
"I'm quite surprised because that's not what happened," Taylor said of Bradley's testimony. "He knows what happened. He knows he was there."
Last Thursday, after the verdict came down, Alexis' family made the following statement:
"It's like winning the lottery. Not that I've ever won the lottery, but it was pretty amazing," said Trina Murphy, Alexis' great aunt. "Just felt like justice has been served and wherever Alexis is, she can be at peace now."
Taylor, though, says he's still waiting for justice.
"Justice has not been done. There's two families hurting here now. Her family and my family," he said. "There's still no justice. There's still no closure. Until Alexis is found and returned to her family, and I'm free of these charges, there's no closure here."
Taylor says the entire ordeal since his arrest last August has taken an emotional toll. He's only briefly spoken to his teenage son since the conviction, and he said he hasn't gotten the chance to explain himself.
"I'm a good person. I'm not the person that they want people to believe I am," Taylor said. "I've hard life, but being a liar doesn't make me being a killer. Sure, I lied. But I didn't hurt nobody. And I can't believe that I'm going to spend the rest of my life behind bars."
The jury recommended two life sentences for Taylor, but a judge will make the final decision this summer.
Taylor said he plans to appeal the verdict, ideally seeking a re-trial in a different locality.