Medical tests on Rebecca Randolph did not determine conclusively whether she was murdered or committed suicide on Nov. 7, 1986, the former Utah medical examiner testified Friday in the murder trial of the woman's husband.
But Dr. Edwin Sweeney, who performed the autopsy, also said the medical evidence does not rule out a homicide. He also acknowledged that had he known about Rebecca Randolph's $250,000 insurance policy, he would have had a more critical eye.Sweeney said Friday he signed her death certificate and ruled it a suicide based on the information he had at the time. It wasn't until two years later that her husband, Thomas W. Randolph Jr., 33, was charged with homicide. If convicted, he could get the death penalty.
Showing the jury slides of the entrance wound on Becky Randolph's right temple and the exit wound through her left ear, Sweeney said the gun was pressed up against the side of her head when it fired. The state crime laboratory determined that her right hand had residue on it from a gun that had been fired, Sweeney testified. He also said it is possible that a gun was fired and then put into her hand.
Earlier Friday, Clearfield plice investigators told jurors how they were first called to the home of Tom Randolph's father on a report of a gunshot victim.
When they arrived, detectives said, they found Tom Randolph Jr. and his father. The detectives said they were told the body was at the son's Clearfield home, about five miles away.
Patrolman Scott Gianchetta testified when he came in the elder Randolph's home, Tom Randolph Jr. was on the telephone, apparently talking to his attorney. Gianchetta said the younger Randolph ignored the police for some time, finishing the conversation.
Tom Randolph Jr.'s demeanor and actions made him suspicious, the patrolman testified, so he arrested him on suspicion of murder and took him to the Clearfield station. Randolph was later released.
It wasn't until two years after Becky Randolph's death, on Nov. 30 of last year, that murder charges were filed against Tom Randolph. Davis County Attorney Mel Wilson, prosecuting the case, told the jury Thursday in his opening statement that Randolph had plotted to kill his wife almost from the start of their marriage.
He collected more than $250,000 in insurance benefits on her death, Wilson said. Tom Randolph is also charged with filing a false insurance claim, a third-degree felony.
Clearfield patrolman Randy Slater testified Friday he was the first to arrive at Tom Randolph's house at 2265 S. First West and found the doors and windows locked, although one rear window was broken out.
Slater said when he entered the house, he found Becky Randolph's body in the master bedroom, stretched out on a waterbed, with a gunshot wound to the head. Slater said he did not call for medical assistance because the woman was obviously dead.
In her right hand, Slater testified, he found a semi-automatic handgun with one bullet in the chamber and several more in its clip. Slater also testified he found no puncture wound in the bed or the pillow and never found an expended bullet in the bedroom.