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Published On: Tue, Apr 29th, 2014

Randy Taylor set to go to trial for murdering Alexis Murphy in ‘no body’ case

Randy Taylor will soon go to trial in Nelson County, Virginia for the murder of Alexis Murphy. The case is unique because the teenager disappeared back in August and to this day, the search efforts continue, but she’s still missing.

Alexis Murphy

Alexis Murphy

Taylor’s trial is set to begin Thursday, but convicting someone of murder without the body of the victim is extremely unorthodox.

Virginia’s first no-body murder conviction happened in 1980. A student at Radford University went missing and within a matter of weeks someone was charged with her murder. WDBJ7’s Nadine Maeser sat down with the Commonwealth’s Attorney assigned to this case, and others familiar with her murder, to see how it changed Virginia law forever.

“The only thing we were lacking was a body,” said Everett Shockley of one of Virginia’s biggest murder cases in the state’s history.

Gina Hall was 18-years-old when she went missing on June 20, 1980. She was seen leaving a nightclub with a man by the name of Stephen Epperly. The two ended up going to a friend’s cabin at Claytor Lake after a night of dancing, and Hall was never seen again.

“We’re just assuming that we’re going to find the body,” said Shockley. “You just don’t think that the body isn’t going to show up somewhere, but we were wrong.”

Shockley told WDBJ7 the physical evidence in the Hall murder case was overwhelming. There were blood stains at the cabin and Hall’s clothes were found along a railroad trestle near Epperly’s house in Radford.

Murphy, a senior at Nelson County High School, was last seen by family members on Aug. 3, 2013. Murphy’s cousin, Tiffany Murphy, told The Huffington Post that the teen had left her house to go back-to-school shopping in Lynchburg, but never made it.

Video footage linked Taylor, 48, to the same scene and disappearnace of Murphy. Much of the evidence, details from the police investigation have been kept quiet and sealed from the media.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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