A Nelson County judge presiding over the Randy Taylor trial has denied a change of venue request.
Judge Michael Gamble said Friday that there has not been enough inaccurate, ill-timed, or inflammatory media coverage to prompt a change of venue.
Taylor's defense attorney Michael Hallahan made three motions Friday, including the change of venue.
Hallahan cited concerns over the media coverage of the case in such a rural area as well as the number of posters with Murphy's face on them.
According to Hallahan, law enforcement officers went door to door interviewing community members about this case. He said investigators had too much contact with residents in the area from the start of the case.
The Commonwealth's Attorney said there's been a number of high-profile cases in Virginia that have been successful during trial. He also noted his urgency to close Taylor' bond hearing to the media as well as the motion to file a gag order.
If the judge granted a change of venue, the trial could cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to move it to another location.
Judge Gamble said he did not think there was enough of an argument by Taylor's attorney to change the venue. He said he would reconsider if any controversial reports by the media came out prior to the trial.
Gamble said the courts will proceed with caution and keep a close eye on media reports in the weeks leading up to the May trial.
Hallahan was granted a motion to allow Taylor to wear professional attire during the trial.
Also, the judge granted a motion prohibiting the Commonwealth from mentioning other missing persons or murder cases in Virginia. Gamble said prosecutors must let the court know before mentioning any other missing persons or murder cases.
Taylor is scheduled to go on trial May 1 on charges including first-degree murder and abduction with intent to defile.
A pre-trial hearing will most likely be scheduled in early April.
The charges stem from the disappearance of 17-year-old Alexis Murphy of Shipman. She was last seen Aug. 3 at a gas station in Lovingston. Investigators found her car several days later in an Albermarle County parking lot. Taylor has maintained his innocence.