Charlottesville authorities have charged Xavier Grant Murphy, 23, with second-degree murder in the slaying of the 21-year-old mother of his daughter. Murphy was a cousin of slain Nelson County teenager Alexis Murphy.
Authorities said Tatiana Wells died Friday night after she was transported to the University of Virginia Medical Center from the Charlottesville Days Inn at 1610 Emmet St. Police found Wells wounded in a hotel room after a shooting was reported.
In a Facebook post Saturday morning, Trina Murphy said her son left her granddaughter without a mother and father. The post says Wells’ life was cut short by “a violent relationship.”
“My son is the perpetrator,” Trina Murphy wrote. “The very thing I advocate against has been committed by someone I once carried inside me.”
In a statement, the nonprofit Help Save the Next Girl expressed solidarity with Trina Murphy, who was an aunt of Alexis Murphy, who went missing in Lovingston in 2013 when she was 17 years old. In 2014, Randy Taylor was convicted of her abduction and murder, though her body has not been found.
“The devastating ramifications of this murder are magnified to us because it happened within the Help Save the Next Girl family, to our dedicated colleague and [a] strong advocate who combats gender-based violence …”
Sgt. Tony Newberry, a spokesman for the Charlottesville Police Department, verified that Xavier Murphy and Wells had been in a relationship for several years and had a young child together.
Newberry said the child was not present at the time of the shooting and is now in the care of relatives. He did not give the child’s age and could not verify Wells’ or Murphy’s place of residence.
Newberry said Xavier Murphy contacted authorities after the shooting.
“All I can say is that we’re continuing to investigate,” Newberry said. “We’ve talked to him and other witnesses.” He said police are continuing to look into the history of the couple’s relationship and the circumstances that led to the crime.
Police also charged Murphy with use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Online records for Charlottesville General District Court show Murphy was found guilty of misdemeanor assault in 2016.
Murphy is being held at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Online court records do not yet show a hearing date in the case.
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