The Shipman teen disappeared on Aug. 3. Her body has not been found.
In the sentencing portion of the hearing, Murphy’s mother, Laura Murphy, cried as she described what the last nine months has been like without her daughter, and a frustrated Taylor whispered to his attorney that he no longer wanted to be in the courtroom.
Before Circuit Court Judge J. Michael Gamble could respond to the request, Taylor darted from his seat and walked quickly toward the exit door without a glance at Murphy’s family.
Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks stood in his path and grabbed his arm to escort Taylor from the courtroom. He did not reappear for the remainder of Thursday’s proceedings, which lasted roughly half an hour.
His sudden, unexpected exit and the Murphy family’s appreciative reaction for the guilty verdict capped an emotional six days in the murder case that has captivated central Virginia.
Murphy, a 17-year-old preparing for her senior year at Nelson County High School, vanished Aug. 3. Her last-known location was the Liberty gas station in Lovingston where a clerk saw her talking with Taylor.
The only traces of the missing teen – a strand of hair, a diamond stud, a human nail, a bloodstained T-shirt of Taylor’s, and hair and eyelash extensions – were found in Taylor’s small camper about a mile north of the gas station on U.S. 29.
Her smashed cellphone, which family members said she never parted with, was found within 100 feet of the camper. The phone’s last-known activity was traced to the immediate vicinity of the camper shortly after 7 p.m. Aug. 3.
After six hours of deliberations Thursday, the 12-member jury reached verdicts of guilty for first-degree murder in commission of an abduction and guilty of abduction with intent to defile.