Michael James Miller wasn’t wearing a black ski mask when he was executed after killing Thomas Randolph’s sixth wife, Sharon Causse, inside the couple’s home, prosecutors said Monday in Randolph’s double murder trial.
He wore a black baseball cap, one he wore regularly around those he knew.
Randolph told police that he noticed a man in a dark mask after finding his wife shot in the head in an entrance hallway of their northwest valley home in May 2008.
But prosecutors Jacqueline Bluth and David Stanton poked holes in that statement during closing arguments.
A plastic tag remained on the inside of the mask, near the space for a nose, Bluth told jurors. There was little DNA evidence on the mask. No blood, no bullet holes and no hair, even though Miller was shot in the head, Stanton said.
The prosecutor said Miller’s hat likely fell off after he was shot while slumped over in Randolph’s garage, and Randolph tossed the ski mask next to Miller’s body.”
“Miller’s a tool,” Stanton argued. That’s all he is — a means to an end. A man who doesn’t have the guts to pull the trigger himself, he has somebody else do it for him.”
Randolph was arrested in January 2009, and it took more than eight years for the case to go to trial. Jurors are expected to resume deliberations Tuesday morning.
Randolph is facing the death penalty if convicted of first-degree murder. Prosecutors say Randolph was motivated by greed, and stood to gain upward of $360,000 in insurance money from Causse’s death. That was less than the roughly $500,000 in insurance money he collected after the 1986 death of his second wife, Becky Gault.
Bluth pointed to similarities in Gault’s death and the 2008 killings, but Deputy Special Public Defender Clark Patrick called Gault’s death a “red herring.”
Gault’s body was found tucked in her waterbed inside the couple’s Clearfield, Utah, home with a bullet to the right side of her head, and a coroner ruled that she died by suicide. Randolph ultimately was acquitted after being tried for murder, but he pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness for offering an undercover cop a car title and cash to kill Eric Tarantino, the star witness in the Utah case.
Tarantino told authorities about a year after Gault’s death that Randolph had asked him to kill her. But Tarantino refused; he warned Gault and fled town.
Randolph’s last marriage was steady, money wasn’t a problem and the couple talked of buying property in Utah, while fixing up their northwest Las Vegas home before the killings, his attorney said. Randolph married Causse in 2006, and the couple renewed their vows a year later.
Patrick told jurors that Randolph was assaulted by a man who had just killed his wife “and had every right to defend his home.”
Should he be convicted of first-degree murder in the 2008 killings, his two living ex-wives are expected to testify at a penalty phase that he threatened to kill them.
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