Tom Randolph called 911 to report that his wife had been murdered by an intruder. When police began looking into this, they realized that Tom had been married 6 times and 4 of his wives were dead.
This twisted story is called the Widower and if you haven't seen the 3 part series on Dateline, I highly suggest checking it out. This all starts in Las Vegas on 2008 when Thomas Randolph also known as the Black Widower, called 911 to report that his wife, Sharon, had been gunned down by a home intruder. Tom says that he ended up killing the intruder. Tom and Sharon went to a local casino and were heading home for the night. Sharon got out of the vehicle first and headed in the house through the garage. Tom opens the door to the house and when you first go in, there's a long hallway. He sees Sharon lying on the floor in the hallway, face down and he started calling her name. Then, Tom saw a shadow at the end of the hallway. He slipped into the office and grabbed his 9mm semi-automatic. As Tom turned to go back into the hallway, the intruder, who was wearing a ski mask, came at him. Tom pushed the intruder away and began shooting him until the intruder fell to the floor in the garage and began groaning.
Tom went back to his wife and called 911 and said his wife had been shot in the head. The dispatcher said Sharon needed to be put flat on her back. During the call, you can hear Tom grunting, screaming, and being extremely loud and dramatic as he was trying to turn his wife over. The intruder ended up being Michael Miller, who was a handyman that did odd jobs for Tom. The first strange thing about Tom's story is the hallway. There was no physical evidence that proved the shooting occurred in the hallway. There was one casing, so one shot could have been fired by Tom in the hallway, but he says there was multiple shots. Most of the shots were actually fired in the garage. The next big problem with the story is Tom says he didn't hear anything. They brought him in for questioning on the night of his wife's murder and they asked if he heard a gunshot in his home. According to his story, he was sitting in the driveway when Sharon was shot. He was like, oh I'm really deaf, I didn't hear anything.
On the 911 call, the dispatcher asked if Tom was alone and he said well yea, as far as I know, I just heard the shot. Investigators began checking Tom's story about that night and they were able to confirm with surveillance footage that the couple had gone out to dinner at a local casino and they swung by a gas station to fuel up the car, just like Tom said. They left the gas station at 8:26 PM and they arrived home at 8:30 PM. This all leaves a crazy small window of time and Tom says he was on the phone with 911 about 2-3 minutes after opening the door to his home. A neighbor of Tom's was on the phone with a friend at 8:30 and was like, oh did you hear that gunshot? He says he heard 5 shots and according to his phone records, it was 8:33 PM, but the 911 call didn't happen until 8:45PM. Well that's just not matching up.
So they bring Tom back in for questioning and I'm just gonna hit you with some of the quotes from this because it's bananas. They asked how he would sum himself up and he said, “I'm a cocky fucker. Always have been. But I'm also really nice and generous.” I'm a smart motherfucker. I should have been on the Dream Team. Always wanted to be a lawyer.” He told them, “I worked for the lawyers for a long time, just as an investigator, as a paralegal, I ran a lot of their law offices.” This was confirmed later on, he really did work with criminal defense attorneys.
The interviewers asked Tom why Mike Miller may have gone in his house that night. He says that he always carries large amounts of money on him and that day, he took $20k out of the bank. At one point, he tells Detective Mogg, “I like you.” He points at the other detective and says, “You, I don't like by the way. I don't know why, I just don't like you.” Somehow, he almost built a relationship with Detective Mogg and says to him, “Ive talked to you more than anybody I've talked to in Las Vegas since I've been here other than Sharon or Colleen and the grandkids.” So, you're like my best friend, dude.” He goes on to let them know that he was ready to head out if they weren't arresting him and mentions that if they are arresting him, they fucked up and this case should be really easy for them due to the forensics. The interview came to an end and everyone is heading out of the room. Tom looks to the detective that he claims he didn't like and says, “Is your wife good looking?” Detective O'Kelley says, “What do you think?” and Tom Replies, “To kill for.”
Sharon's daughter, Colleen called Tom after her mom's murder. She asked what he did to her mother and he told her, I didn't do anything to her, Mike shot and killed her. Then, he hung up on her. Somehow, the family tried to hide their feelings about believing Tom was involved. He would call them and have really casual conversations like nothing happened. Colleen told Tom that they were all still family and acted as if she believed he was a hero for killing Mike. One day, out of nowhere, Tom showed a will to Colleen and he said everything was his. Colleen already knew there was a problem with this. A few days after Sharon's death, her friend Alice had already given a different will to Colleen. Sharon wrote a will in front of Alice and they went to get it notarized. Sharon told her friend that she needed to give the will to her daughter if anything happened to her. In this will, she left the house and everything to Colleen. Once this happened, Tom started leaving nasty voicemails for Colleen because he found out that his will wasn't valid. Tom was telling Colleen that she was a liar and it's no wonder that her mother didn't like her.
The investigators were looking through all of the evidence in this case and they did believe that Mike Miller was the one that shot and killed Sharon, but why? They flew out to Charlotte, North Carolina to interview his family members. They met up with his brother, Rufas Miller to see what he knew. Rufas says that Mike was approached on a street corner by Tom. He was told he could be his handyman and would get paid $600 a week. He didn't have a lot of information, but he was adamant that his brother wouldn't kill anybody. The detectives met up with their other brother, Reco. He said that he spoke to Mike often and he mentioned that his boss, Tom had given him a 9mm handgun recently. A friend of Mike's, Judy Archie, had known him for about 15 years and they were really close. She says that Mike called her and said Tom asked him to kill his wife. She urged Mike to go to the police with the information.
When the detectives left North Carolina, they just knew that Tom was involved in his wife's murder. Here is the theory they believed at this point: Thomas Randolph had married Sharon with the sole purpose of cashing in on her life insurance policy. He ultimately took out four policies on her and this totaled $360k. They think Tom met Mike Miller at a convenience store and started chatting with him. He's manipulative and may have decided this was the perfect person to groom for murdering his wife. On Mother's Day, he took Sharon out to dinner, so Mike could go in the house and wait. Mike had a key to the house and inside, there was a clock on the wall that could fold down and a gun was kept inside. Mike would have grabbed the gun and waited for Sharon to walk inside. He killed her immediately, took his ski mask off and began heading out the garage door as soon as Tom entered the house. The ski mask was found away from Mike's body in the garage and there was no blood on it and there were no bullet holes in it. Tom always maintained that the “intruder” had a ski mask on the entire time, but that's not possible. The detectives knew they needed more in this case, so they decided to start at the beginning and look into his past relationships. That's when they found out, this was bigger than they could have realized. Sharon was Tom's sixth wife and four of them were dead.
Colleen had all the locks changed in her mom's home, so Tom couldn't get back in. For protection, she went there with the detectives and they helped her. There was police tape all over the walls and the evidence was numbered. The detectives were in the middle of answering some of Colleen's questions and Tom walked in because the front door was unlocked. He came in SUPER hot and was agitated. Tom asked if they had a piece of paper stating he couldn't be there and Detective O'Kelley said no. Tom said, “well, that's what I thought, I think I'll stay in my house.” O'Kelley told him it's not going to work that way and Tom called him an asshole.
Now that Tom was locked out of the house, he wasn't allowed to take any of things out. The family had full control of hit and they began searching through his belongings. They found several Driver's licenses from his previous wives, a bullet proof vest, and 2 giant duffel bags with bullets. The family was now afraid that they were in danger. They had ruffled Tom's feathers by locking him out of the house and this guy was clearly dangerous.
The detectives wanted to start this thing from the beginning. It was time to track down wife #1. The first one was Kathryn and they got married in 1975. Kathy actually had two children with Tom and he never had a steady job. She says the first time she realized there was a problem, was over a bowl of oatmeal. She made oatmeal one day and Tom whipped the bowl at the wall and said his mother always put sugar in his oatmeal. He kept harassing her, seeing other women, and doing drugs. His parents kept bailing him out every time he was arrested. Tom took out a life insurance policy on Kathy and they divorced in 1983. Kathy says Tom was very scary, narcissistic and controlling.
Kathy is currently married to a man named Steve and this guy had been friends with Tom prior to marrying Kathy. Steve recalls a weird conversation he had with Tom one time. He says that Tom asked him several times if he would kill someone for money if he knew he could get away with it. Steve now believes that his current wife Kathy was the target.
Wife #2 was Beckie and they got married in 1983 and her death was ruled a suicide. Her aunt, Rosalie says that Tom was an arrogant smart ass and just didn't like him. Beckie had confided in her aunt about a room Tom had in the basement of their home. He always kept it locked and bring other girls down there with him. He would also make Beckie go down there and force her to watch him having sex with other women. When Tom and Beckie were together, they had a lot of financial problems. Their lights were turned off and they were behind on rent. They went to Rosalie and asked for money to get them out of debt. She loaned them $2k, but they didn't use it for rent. Beckie told her aunt that Tom used the money to pay the premiums on her 3 life insurance policies.
Beckie's family says the relationship was getting really bad and they were trying to get her to leave him, but she said she was scared of what he would do. She finally made up her mind to end things and told her family that she was running home to grab a few things. She was shot in the head and they knew it was suicide. The detectives decided to go back and talk to the people that were originally at the crime scene for Beckie's death. They were told that there was a suicide note on the kitchen counter and Beckie was in the bedroom on the waterbed, covered with a blanket and a gun in her hand. It was treated as a suicide from the moment the case started.
The lead investigator of Beckie's case said he was uncomfortable calling this a suicide. He said Beckie would have needed to be ambidextrous to pull this off herself. The position of the gun, wasn't right. It was upside down when it shot her, there's no way you would turn your hand upside down when you pull the trigger. The lead investigator also said he was under the impression that the home had been locked down and the scene was secured. When he got a warrant to go back to the house, he found out that all the carpet was gone, the walls were painted, everything was cleaned out. This was ruled a suicide, Tom got half a million dollars in life insurance and he was gone.
Beckie's death remained a suicide for the next few years. Retired Utah detective, Scott Conley received a call from the LA PD about Tom Randolph and he was like, here we go again. Detective Conley first heard about Tom when he was trying to be a major player in the Ogden drug scene. At the time, Tom was so into the Scar Face movie, that he demanded everyone refer to him as Tony Montana. Detective Conley received a call one day and a lady said her husband was approached by Tom Randolph about killing Beckie. Her husband's name was Eric and Tom had become friends with him and began grooming him to murder Beckie. Eric said he was very close with Tom and the two of them came up with several different plans to kill Beckie and he knew Tom had taken out life insurance policies on her.
The detectives knew they had to talk to Erica Tarantino and he agreed. Eric said Tom initially hired him as a handyman to do odd jobs for him. Tom was dealing drugs and would also send Erica to collect money that he was owed. Then he started asking Eric several times if he felt he could shoot someone. Tom and Eric were out shooting guns one day and that's where Tom told Eric he wanted him to kill his wife and Eric immediately said no. When the two friends had been discussing murder plots, he never realized it was for Tom's wife. Tom said well, you know way too much, so it's you, or her. Eric was now terrified of his friend and Tom began torturing him.
Tom began putting a gun to Eric's head when he'd walk into a room and would shoot at objects, like a chair and blow it to smithereens. Eric says Tom walked up behind him one day with a chloroformed rag and sat and laughed. Tom kept taking Eric out to practice shooting and they'd go over scenarios. Tom said they could all go camping. He'd get up to go to the bathroom and Eric could knock the vehicle into neutral to roll over Beckie and kill her, she could be accidentally shot, she could fall into a river, maybe there was a fire at the house. You may wonder why Eric didn't go to the police with this.....well, he couldn't. Tom was dealing drugs to local police officers and he knew the judges and lawyers in town. He didn't know where to turn and he didn't want to kill Beckie, he was good friends with her.
Eric decided to call Beckie and he told her that Tom was planning to kill her and gave her information about the life insurance policies. He packed his shit and took off. A year later, Eric's wife called him and said Beckie was dead. That's when Eric's wife called the police and told them everything and they ended up arresting Tom Randolph. This whole case was riding on Eric's testimony, so Tom decided to have him killed. He had a conversation with a hitman, but it ended up being an undercover police officer. The trial started in April of 1989 and Eric told his side of the story. He also mentioned that he remembered one time where Tom jumped up on a bed and began singing lyrics of a Rod Stewart song called Foolish Behaviour. The verse says,
Or should I act quite cold and deliberate
Or maybe blow out her brains with a bullet
They'll think suicide they won't know who done it
I'm gonna kill my wife I'm really gonna take her life
The jury ruled, not guilty. Tom Randolph only served 18 months in prion for his plan to kill Eric Tarantino. After his release, he sued for being prosecuted for Beckie's murder. He actually got paid off, they gave him a settlement and he left.
Right after Tom was acquitted, he married wife #3 Leona in 1994 and they were together for 11 months and then they got a divorce. She died a decade later form cancer, so there isn't a lot that's known about this relationship.
Gayna was wife #4 and they got married in 1995. She met Tom through an ad in the newspaper. Within a month of being together, Tom took out a life insurance policy on Gayna. Shortly after they got married, Gayna received a call from the police. Tom got into a bar fight that resulted in a shooting and a few people were wounded. Tom was arrested and Gayna had a good friend in the police department that had access to his file. He asked her if Tom had a life insurance policy on her and she said yes. They filled her in on Tom's previous history and she decided to stay with him. Shortly after she found this information out, Tom was sitting in the house cleaning his gun and it went off. Gayna was about 3 feet from Tom and there was a bullet hole in the floor right next to her. Tom tells her that he didn't realize the gun was loaded. Gayna waited for Tom to leave for work, she packed her shit, and dipped.
As it turns out, a man named Glen Morrison was approached by Tom to kill Gayna. When Glen met Tom, he was in need of a car. Tom said he could get him a car and money if he killed his wife. He said he wanted him to kill her, shoot him in the leg, stage a robbery and take off in his car. Glen turned him down on this. He knew that if he did it, Tom was going to shoot and kill him so there wouldn't be any witnesses.
Frances was Tom's fifth wife and they got married in 1997. Frances had a heart condition, but it wasn't serious enough to need surgery. Tom convinced her that she should just get the surgery, so she did. Everything was fine at first and she was recovering the hospital. One day, Tom went to the hospital and asked her daughter if she could leave so he could be alone with his wife for a bit. About 45 minutes later, Tom announced that Frances had passed away. The doctor asked if they should do an autopsy and Tom said no, he didn't want her cut up into a bunch of little pieces. He had her cremated and that was it. Her family always believed that Tom did something to Frances. Before she even went in for the surgery, her sisters say her face was swollen and they believe she was being poisoned. Tom cashed in on the life insurance policy for Frances and he also sued the hospital. The exact amount of the insurance hasn't been verified, but her sisters believe it was around $1.2 million. Frances had done her will on a VCR tape. You can hear Tom coaching her and she said she could be cremated.
In Nevada, they have something called the Marcum Notice. This is a notice to the defendant that the district attorney intends to seek an indictment against them. This was served to Tom Randolph and was just calm as fuck and said alright. After a lot of waiting, detectives were given the arrest warrant for Tom and they fled to his place. Tom had moved to his mom's place in Utah, so they drove all through the night to get there. When Tom opened the door, he was told to put his hands on his head. He shifted his body sideways and leaned against the door frame, holding his right hand inside the house. Tom was tazed and fell in the snow on the front step. He was walked to the car in his boxers and was very theatrical the entire way. He was being arrested for the murders of Sharon Randolph and Mike Miller.
Tom Randolph was in love with the idea of the dream team that represented OJ Simpson. He wanted OJ's lawyer, Gabriel Grasso. He advised him to keep his mouth shut and not to admit to anything. Gabriel says Tom was completely acting like he was running the show, he was cocky. He did end up withdrawing from the case about four months in. Gabriel says he did this because Tom didn't have the money to pay him, but then he realized, this was all part of Tom's plan. He was trying to buy himself more time and would need to ask for the trial to be pushed out so he could get a new lawyer.
Since Tom was acquitted of killing his wife Beckie previously, the records were supposed to be sealed and not used against him in the case of Sharon's murder. The information is obviously necessary to paint the whole picture. The stories are basically the same and it would show he had a pattern. His attorney, Brent Bryson, was able to tell the judge that Tom didn't have a significant criminal history. Luckily, the judge ultimately ruled that the previous case for Beckie could be used.
During meetings between Tom and Attorney Bryson, Tom would tell him things he wanted him to say to the jury to get them on their side. He wanted to be in control of every detail and he loved all the cameras and attention. Tom did end up firing Brent Bryson and pushing out the court date again. He went through ten lawyers. It was a difficult case and Tom was a horrendously difficult client.
Everything was very circumstantial and the investigators were getting nervous that Tom would find a way out this. The star witness was Eric Tarantino because he lived to tell his side of the story and Beckie's case mirrored Sharon's. On the day of sentencing, when Tom was able to address the jury, he showed up to court in a Cowboys football jersey. His daughter and mother describe him as loving, caring. His son, justice, pretty much said there are two very different realities. He hears the one reality where Tom is a murderer, but he was a great father and he never experienced anything bad with him. Tom addressed the jury and told them he missed Sharon and Frances. He was rubbing his hands together in a horrendously distracting way, the entire time he talked. It looked like he was washing his hands. He let the jury know that he didn't want to die or spend the rest of his life in prison.
Tom was found Guilty of first degree murder for Sharon Randolph and Michael Miller. He was sentenced to death. Tom was interviewed afterwards and with a smile, he said it's really no big deal. It's just sad it took nine years to get here, but in three more, I'll get a fair trial. Three years later, the courts ruled that the information about Beckie's death shouldn't have been allowed during the trial about Sharon. The sentence was reversed and he's getting a new trial. Tom actually stands a chance of beating the death penalty for a second time. Nevada has a law with prevents evidence of prior “bad acts”. Since he was acquitted of Beckie's death anyways, it should not have been admissible.
I'll leave you with a quote from Sharon's daughter, Colleen, “Everybody needs to know he's guilty. He's 100% guilty. It's painful, but I'm mad now. This just not right, this in not justice for me and my family. He can't get out, he's a killer, he will do it again.”
NBC's The Widower 3 part series