Charlottesville Breaking News

Scant evidence? Prosecutors trump Taylor's request for open hearing

Anyone hoping to get more information about the evidence prosecutors might be mustering against abduction suspect Randy Allen Taylor would likely feel disappointed after an August 20 ruling closing Taylor's upcoming bond hearing to citizens and media clamoring to learn more about the disappearance of Nelson County teen Alexis Tiara Murphy.

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg, however, says he's not surprised that prosecutors in a small community like Nelson, whose population stands below 15,000, would try to shield their hand.

"How are you ever going to get a jury together if they know everything there is to know about the case in any sensationalized way?" Heilberg asks of the case that has also drawn widespread national attention.

Taylor, a 48-year-old Lovingston resident, was arrested August 11 and charged with abduction in the disappearance of 17-year-old Murphy. By his own months-earlier admission, Taylor is also considered a suspect in the disappearance of another teen, Orange County resident Samantha Ann Clark, who vanished in 2010, on a night when Taylor had repeatedly contacted her by telephone.

In the recent case, investigators have revealed little of the evidence that formed the basis for the arrest, and the warrants have been sealed. Through his attorney, Taylor has indicated he was told by investigators that they'd found a single hair belonging to Murphy in his trailer. His assertions admit that while he did see Murphy...

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Who shot Greg Rosson? ID of police officer still secret

August 16 was Gregory Rosson's 22nd birthday. His family brought flowers, his two dogs, and sang "Happy Birthday" to him— at Prize Hill Cemetery in Boonesville, where he was buried June 14. They also planned a bonfire because that's what he'd said he wanted before he died.


More than two months since Rosson was shot by an Albemarle police officer, questions remain for his family about the June 8 slaying, including the identity of the officer who killed him, and what the circumstances were that required lethal force. They also cite inconsistencies in the Virginia State Police press release issued following Rosson's death and information in the search warrant issued just hours after the shooting.

According to the state police press release, a 911 call was p...

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Taylor's encounters: Aquaintances recall abduction suspect as hearing looms

As accused kidnapper Randy Allen Taylor sits in jail issuing protestations of innocence through his attorney, one former friend says the 48-year-old Lovingston resident has a history of getting into trouble— and then getting out of it.

"He's a very smart individual; he knows how to play the system," says the former friend, who spoke with the Hook on condition of anonymity, and who spent time with Taylor in the late '90s and early 2000s.

After hanging out with Taylor for six months, the former friend says, it seemed to him "there was something off with Randy. Everything was always someone else's fault."

In 2004, according to Albemarle County District Court records, Taylor faced a number of charges, but despite pleading guilty to arson for the 2002 torching of a Dodge Ram conversion van, he served no time.

Also in 2004, Taylor was charged with brandishing a weapon and stalking, and an unrelated charge of curse and abuse.

"A white man driving a red Toyota followed me to the corner of Georgetown Road and Hydraulic Road then pulled a black pistol out and pointed it," wrote an Albemarle County man in an August 21, 2004, criminal complaint in Albemarle County General District Court describing an alleged encounter from the previous night. "I saw him again today," writes the man in that complaint.

Taylor, who lived on Georgetown Road at the time, was found not guilty of the charges of brandishing a weapon...

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Get Out! events, shows, things to do

Beauty and femininity are ageless and can't be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won't like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it's based on femininity. - Marilyn Monroe

Vaudeville vixens come to Charlottesville

Nuit de Fantaisie is The Jefferson's first classic burlesque and vaudeville showcase, presented by Richmond's number one voted burlesque performer, Deanna Danger. Audiences will travel back in time to the stage days of voluptuous vixens decked out head-to-toe in luxurious costumes and clean-cut gents who will charm the socks off you with their larger-than-life performances. There's going to be a variety of music, dancing, comedy,  and acting on this glamorous evening that benefits the Moulin Rouge music hall in Paris.

Danger, surely her stage name, describes burlesque as the art of striptease. "It is risque, it is adult-oriented, but it isn't just about 'the goods' as is the case with contemporary strip clubs. It's an art form...that builds anticipation to the big reveal but never gives it all away." An Orlando native and aka "The Warrior of Burlesque," Danger is a skilled performance artist based out of Richmond, who incorporates props such as swords, knives and aerial...

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Resources for identifying the bad guys

I am writing today to thank you for publishing the thoughtful and well-written essay, “Charm: A pedophile's secret weapon” [July 25 issue] by Janis Jaquith. Seeing this essay in the Hook was much appreciated, as it most certainly helped to increase awareness of this serious issue.

The author noted that the case she discussed took place outside of Virginia, and she wondered “how many single mothers, here and elsewhere, are dealing with this.” Unfortunately, the sexual, physical, mental, and medical abuse of children is more prevalent in Virginia and in our community/county than most people may realize.

The author also asked the question: “How are we to discern the good guys from the bad guys?” The good news is that there are resources available locally to help concerned parents, grandparents, and othersbto prevent and stop child abuse. The Foothills Child Advocacy Center (1106 East High Street) offers Stewards of Children, a free training
program that empowers adults to protect children.  The next public training is at 9am Friday, August 30, at the Albemarle County Office Building, 1600 Fifth Street, and people can contact our office to register. We also provide trainings for organizations and groups upon request.

We were established in 2006 as a not-for-profit, accredited agency designed to provide a coordinated system of effective...

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Editor's Note