A Roy man's preliminary hearing on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder was delayed a week when a key witness failed to appear last week in Layton Circuit Court.

Judge K. Roger Bean continued the court date on Thomas W. Randolph Jr. to Wednesday, declining to dismiss the first-degree felony charge against him as defense attorney John Caine requested.Davis County Attorney Mel Wilson said the witness, Steve Williams, did not appear to testify against Randolph, who is charged with trying to hire the killing of a prosecution witness against him in the 1986 murder of his wife.

Williams was Randolph's cell mate in the Davis County Jail after Randolph was arrested Nov. 30 in the killing of his wife. Williams, an informant for the Salt Lake Metro Narcotics Strike Force, told jailers that Randolph was trying to arrange the murder, according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors allege an undercover narcotics agent, posing as an East Coast drug dealer and hit man, negotiated with Randolph by telephone and over the weekend of Jan. 6-8, finalized the arrangement.

On Jan. 8, Randolph's girlfriend, Wendy Z. Moore, 28, was arrested at a Layton convenience store when she delivered the title to a vehicle to the agent and Williams.

Moore was also charged with conspiracy to commit murder, a first-degree felony. A preliminary hearing on the charge was held Feb. 1, but Bean has not ruled yet on whether Moore should be bound over to district court for trial.

Randolph is charged with murdering his wife, Becky Gault Randolph, in November 1986 in their Clearfield home. She was shot in the head one time. Clearfield police initially considered the death a suicide, but further investigation led to the murder charge.

Randolph is scheduled to stand trial March 1. He could receive the death penalty if convicted.

A prime witness against Randolph, Eric Tarantino, testified at Randolph's preliminary hearing on the murder charge that Randolph plotted for six months to kill his wife, trying to make it look like an accident so he could collect on her insurance.

Prosecutors allege Randolph tried to arrange the murder of Tarantino, now living in California, to eliminate his testimony at the murder trial.