Nelson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Anthony Martin confirmed Wednesday he is resigning from his position by the end of February this year.

"I accepted a position at a private law firm in Central Virginia after a lot of thought," Martin said in a phone interview.

Martin said his staff and family have been very supportive of the decision.

"It's time,” he said. “I've been doing this for 10 years.”

Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Jerry Gress will serve as interim commonwealth’s attor-ney until a special election is held.

Martin was first elected in 2011 and succeeded Phil Payne. He ran unopposed for a second term in November. His second term began this month.

A 1992 graduate of Nelson County High School, Martin worked as an assistant in the Amherst County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office prior to becoming Nelson’s chief prosecutor.

His most high-profile case was the prosecution of Randy Allen Taylor, the Lovingston man convicted in May 2014 of abducting and killing 17-year-old Alexis Tiara Murphy. The Shipman teen was last seen at a Lovingston gas station on Aug. 3, 2013; her body has not been found.

Taylor was sentenced to two life terms in July 2014. He has maintained his innocence.

The Murphy family embraced Martin and other law enforcement personnel shortly after Tay-lor was convicted. Speaking to reporters after the jury’s verdict, he asked the community to pray for the Murphy family.

Trina Murphy, the aunt of Alexis Murphy, said Wednesday she was disappointed and sad-dened to hear of Martin’s departure.

“I consider it a huge loss to the Nelson community,” she said. “I’m sure he has made the best decision for himself and his career. It’s a huge blow to this community.”

Lyle Carver, Amherst County Commonwealth’s Attorney, said Martin helped train him as an intern in 2007.

He recalled Wednesday serving with Martin as an assistant in the office under Stephanie Maddox, who last summer became a General District Court judge, from 2008 to 2011.

“He encouraged me both in my election and as a new Commonwealth’s Attorney,” Carver said Wednesday. “I wish him the best in his new endeavors.”

Contact Rachael Smith at (434) 385-5482 or rsmith@newsadvance.com.