LYNCHBURG (WRIC) - Nelson County's prosecutor is seeking a gag order in an abduction case involving missing teenager Alexis Murphy.
The Commonwealth's Attorney says he wants to prevent potential witnesses and others involved in the case from disclosing information that could hamper impaneling an impartial jury.
"Sometimes publicity is not productive for the investigation," says legal analyst Cary Bowen. "Secondly, and it sounds like this is the case in Nelson, the prosecutor is already worrying about whether he can pick a jury and try the case in Nelson."
Randy Taylor was arrested not long after Alexis went missing and for much of the investigation, the details surrounding her disappearance and what evidence police have against Taylor has been kept from the public. He is scheduled to stand trial in February.
Murphy was last seen Aug. 3 at a gas station in Lovingston. Authorities found her car several days later in a parking lot in Albemarle County.
"It's okay if people know about a case and have read about it in the newspaper and seen it on television," Bowen says. "But it's not ok if they have pre-conceived notions of guilt and if they've gotten erroneous facts."
Bowen adds that sometimes both the prosecution and the defense will agree beforehand not to talk about the case until the trial is over. But in this instance, the commonwealth's attorney wants an official order granted.
"It's kind of naive to believe anyone in Nelson County hasn't heard about this case and been impacted by it," Bowen says. It's bad, but that's not at all who did it."
A hearing on Martin's motion for a gag order is set for Wednesday morning in Nelson County Circuit Court.
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