His wife threatened suicide the night before she killed herself because he wouldn't go with her to buy a quarter pound of cocaine, Thomas W. Randolph Jr. testified Thursday afternoon in his 2nd District Court trial.
Randolph, 34, of Roy, is charged with capital homicide in the Nov. 7, 1986, death of his wife, Rebecca Randolph. She was found, shot once in the head, in the bedroom of their Clearfield home.Randolph said his wife suffered from severe cocaine addiction and was abusing a variety of other drugs, including amphetamines, tranquilizers and alcohol. She would go on drug binges that lasted several days, he said, during which she wouldn't eat, sleep, or work.
She was on one of those binges the first week of November, he testified, and wanted to go to a bar in North Salt Lake with a friend to buy a quarter-pound of cocaine, partly for resale and partly for her own consumption.
Randolph told the jury he tried to talk his wife out of it and gave her an ultimatum that she had to decide by the next day, Nov. 7, whether she was going to continue her drug-oriented lifestyle or come and live with him and his son, resuming her role of wife and mother.
They argued on and off the evening of Nov. 6, he said, and when it became apparent that Becky Randolph wouldn't heed his advice and was still planning to go to the bar, "I told her to take her (wedding) ring off while she was whoring around down in the bars."
Her ring, police testified earlier, was found the next day on the window sill of the home, with a suicide note rolled up in it.
Randolph also testified that just before he left the house to return to his parents' home nearby where he was staying, he and his wife quarreled again, with Becky Randolph saying she wasn't happy and "she'd be better off just to take a gun and blow her head off."
Randolph said he didn't believe his wife was serious, but in his own fit of anger told her he was tired of hearing her make those kinds of threats and if she was going to do it, she should just go ahead and do it.
At that point in the trial, Judge Rodney S. Page recessed for the day. Randolph will resume his testimony Friday. The case could go to the jury Friday afternoon.
In addition to deciding if he is guilty or innocent, the jury has to determine if the death penalty is warranted.
Prosecutors maintain Randolph plotted for months during the summer of 1986 to kill his wife and collect more than a quarter million dollars in insurance benefits.
Earlier in his testimony, Randolph said his wife had a drug and alcohol problem for years, admitting he also had a cocaine addiction problem. "She (Becky) became horribly addicted to cocaine, to smoking it," he said. "Her and I both, her and I both."
As for the large insurance policies he carried on his wife, Tom Randolph said some of them were policies he carried on his former wife, and he simply switched them over to Becky when he married her.
He took out some additional policies on her and himself, he testified, adding he has always been a believer in insurance. He said he struggled to keep the policies in force and pay their premiums, even when they faced bankruptcy, because he feared with his own drug abuse problem and his record of getting speeding tickets, he wouldn't be able to buy new policies.
Randolph dismissed the testimony of the prosecution's key witness, Eric Tarantino, as a lie.
"It's not just incorrect, it's a lie. It's all a lie," Randolph said of Tarantino's statements that the two of them spent several months before Becky Randolph's death rehearsing ways to kill her and make it look accidental.