May 5, 2014
Jurors have not heard from Randy Taylor directly in the first three days of his first-degree murder trial in Nelson County, but on Monday, they heard from the 48-year-old in the form of taped conversations with investigators. Both tapings occurred prior to Taylor's arrest in the case.
Seventeen-year-old Alexis Murphy went missing on August 3, 2013 after she was last seen at the Liberty gas station in Lovingston. Taylor is charged with abducting and killing the teen.
Despite video surveillance showing the two interacting at the gas station the day she disappeared, Taylor says his memory is foggy.
Tape 1: August 5, 2013
On August 5, Nelson County investigator Billy Mays and an FBI agent went to Randy Taylor's home -- a camper parked on his ex-girlfriend's mother's property on Thomas Nelson Highway -- and recorded the audio of their conversation with him.
In the nearly 40-minute tape, Taylor is heard telling investigators he does not remember stopping at Liberty gas station on August 3.
He's shown a photo of Alexis Murphy and asked if he's ever seen her. He says, "no."
When asked if he remembers talking with the teen, he says he does not, but that "I talk to a lot of people, a lot of people talk to me."
He also mentions that he had about five beers that day and went four-wheeling with a friend in Orange County.
Taylor tells investigators he drove to Madison Heights that night to go to Sheetz, but Mays testified Monday that Taylor or his camouflage suburban were not spotted in any surveillance video there.
While he maintains he doesn't recall being at Liberty gas station on August 3, he says, as a pack-a-day smoker, he did frequent the shop to pick up cigarettes.
Taylor reiterates that he does not remember going to Liberty that evening, seeing or talking to Murphy.
During the conversation, Taylor allows investigators to take a look inside his camper, pointing out some of the work he has done to it.
"I've never had a problem in this county at all," Taylor is heard telling investigators as Shark Week plays on the television in the background.
Tape 2: August 7, 2013
Investigator Mays and another FBI agent return to Taylor's home on August 7. Taylor is willing to talk to them.
In the audio recording, investigators tell Taylor there is video of him at the Liberty gas station on August 3 -- the day Murphy went missing. They tell him the images show the two conversing at the pump.
This time, Taylor says he recalls "sitting at the pump for a while" and believes he went inside to buy cigarettes, but doesn't remember talking to Murphy.
Investigators tell him there is video of the two "side by side."
"If I was talking to her in the video, then I was talking to her," Taylor says, though he maintains he does not recall the conversation.
Taylor mentions he had about half a dozen beers that day and says he had smoked marijuana.
He says after his stop at Liberty that evening, he drove south to purchase marijuana from a friend.
He admits he lied about going to the Sheetz in Madison Heights during the conversation with investigators on August 5 because he didn't want to rat out his dealer friend.
Investigators ask if Taylor's conversation with Murphy could have been based on marijuana or finding a hookup for weed. Taylor can't recall.
When they ask Taylor if Murphy had been in his camper or truck, he's "positive" that she has never been in either, saying he would "definitely" remember.
Earlier in the day, investigators also presented DNA evidence matching Murphy's DNA to that found in hair, pulled out hair extensions, a nail, an earring an a blood-stained T-shirt, all found in Taylor's camper.
The shirt was the same color and design as the one Taylor was wearing in the surveillance video taken at the Liberty gas station when he was spotted alongside Murphy.
"That was very difficult to look at. I had seen pictures of the shirt before, but to actually see it and know that was my niece's blood on there, it was difficult," said Murphy's great-aunt, Trina Murphy, after court wrapped up Monday. "It's just very painful and difficult to look at and know that she had some sort of struggle, and then it's also comforting to know that she fought. She fought for her life."
Trina Murphy says she doesn't buy Taylor's version of what he was up to during the days surrounding the teen's disappearance.
"I don't think it's that he doesn't have his story together. I think it's that he's a habitual liar," she said.
Day four of the trial is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at Nelson County Circuit Court.