NELSON COUNTY, Va. — The Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney has ordered an analysis of social media accounts held by Alexis Murphy, CBS 6 reporter Laura French confirmed Thursday. The exact number of accounts and nature of the analysis remained unclear.
The analysis was requested by the attorney for Randy Taylor. Taylor was sentenced to two-life terms for abducting and killing Murphy, even though her body was never found. Taylor’s attorney wanted to determine if there were any social media connections between Murphy and Jesse Matthew Jr.
Murphy, 17, disappeared last summer when she left her Nelson County home for Lynchburg to do some shopping. Matthew, 32, is in jail charged with abducting 18-year-old University of Virginia student Hannah Graham last month and sexually assaulting a Fairfax woman in 2005.
He has also been linked to the disappearance of Morgan Harrington, the Virginia Tech student who disappeared in Charlottesville in 2009. Harrington’s body was found several months later on an Albemarle County farm. That farm is just a few miles from where human remains, which tests could reveal to be Hannah Graham’s remains, were found over the weekend.
Matthew's DNA would not have been tested during the Murphy case because it was in a state database prior to Graham's disappearance, French said. Matthew's DNA profile is now in both the state and federal databases.
Murphy’s family members said they did not think the testing would change anything in the case against Randy Taylor.
"I’d be surprised if it did. Honestly, I would be surprised," Alexis' aunt Trina Murphy said.
Last month Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin stated there was no evidence Matthew was connected to Murphy's disappearance.
"In recent days, there has been much discussion in news reports and on social media as to whether or not there is any connection between the case involving Jesse Leroy Matthew, Jr., charged in connection with missing UVa. student Hannah Graham and Randy Allen Taylor who was convicted in May 2014 for abduction with intent to defile and the first degree murder of Alexis Murphy,” Martin wrote on September 24.
Specifically, he said, Matthew Jr. was not the man Taylor tried to “implicate in his trial of being with Alexis Murphy when she left Taylor’s camper in August 2013.” Taylor implicated another man, who was later cleared, Martin said. Martin said neither Matthew’s name nor any vehicle that matched the description of Matthew’s car came up during the Taylor investigation and subsequent.
"Some have questioned whether or not the surveillance video from Liberty Gas Station the night Alexis Murphy disappeared show her walking behind the back of an object some say looks like Jesse Matthews’ vehicle," Martin said. "FBI and Virginia State Police have re-examined that footage in light of these concerns and are confident that the orange object is not a vehicle, but a portion of a sign hanging from the window."