Man convicted of killing Nelson County teen whose body was never found gets 2 life terms

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LOVINGSTON, Virginia — A man convicted of abducting and killing a Nelson County teenager was sentenced Wednesday to two life terms in prison.

Nelson County Circuit Judge J. Michael Gamble imposed the sentence recommended by jurors who convicted Randy Taylor in the August 2013 death of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy, according to media outlets. Her body has never been found.

Asked by Gamble if he had anything to say before sentencing, Taylor said: "I didn't kill Alexis Murphy. It's probably one of the biggest things to happen in Nelson County, and I'm sorry to be a part of it."

Mike Hallahan, attorney for the 49-year-old Taylor, began the hearing by asking Gamble to set aside the May convictions for first-degree murder in commission of an abduction and abduction with intent to defile.

"The closest the commonwealth came to proving her death was the lack of her appearance," Hallahan said.

Gamble denied the motion, saying murder can be proven even without a body.

Surveillance footage showed both Murphy and Taylor at a gas station in Lovingston just moments before the teenager disappeared on Aug. 3. Taylor was arrested on Aug. 11 after FBI agents discovered DNA evidence, including a hair and a torn fingernail or toenail, matching Murphy inside the camper he lived in.

A subsequent search also revealed a bloodied T-shirt with hair extensions and artificial eyelashes balled up within the shirt. Video surveillance shows Taylor wearing the same shirt the night Murphy vanished.

Tests performed at FBI laboratories in Quantico found DNA traces on the shirt, hair and eyelashes matching the missing teenager.

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