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Trial set for next week in 9-year-old murder case

Updated June 7, 2017 - 8:34 pm

Thomas Randolph had six wives. Four are dead.

On Monday, lawyers are scheduled to start picking jurors for a trial on charges that Randolph hired a hitman to kill his last wife and then killed the hitman. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

But first, the 62-year-old needs to see a barber.

Randolph’s gray-white hair, which he wore in pigtails for a brief court proceeding Wednesday, has grown well past his shoulders. His lawyers, special public defenders Randall Pike and Clark Patrick, want him well-groomed for the jury.

When the murder trial starts next week, he is expected to have short hair again, like he did when he was arrested in January 2009 in connection with the May 2008 killings. Randolph’s is the oldest murder case yet to see a trial in Clark County, but that’s mainly a result of his own doing.

He has fired several attorneys through the years, including Yale Galanter, known for representing O.J. Simpson. Randolph retained Galanter for three years before firing him and receiving two Clark County public defenders, whom he also fired.

Prosecutors have said that Randolph wanted his wife, Sharon Clausse Randolph, whom he married in 2006, dead to collect more than $400,000 in insurance, a similar motive alleged in the death of one of his previous wives.

About two decades before the deaths of Sharon Randolph and Michael James Miller, a jury acquitted Thomas Randolph of murder in the death of his previous wife, Becky Randolph. She was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head, and Randolph collected $250,000 in insurance payouts after her death, according to news reports at the time.

District Judge Stefany Miley recently ruled that jurors can hear about those allegations but only when referred to as “the Utah case.” His defense attorney at the time said Randolph’s wife committed suicide, had suffered from a cocaine addiction and had previously attempted suicide.

Prosecutors at the time said Randolph and a friend, Eric Tarantino, plotted to kill Becky Randolph and make it look like an accident. Randolph pleaded guilty to tampering with a witness for conspiring with a fellow inmate to kill Tarantino, who was the prosecution’s prime witness against him.

Randolph met 38-year-old Miller in front of a convenience store about a year before the killings. The two struck up a relationship, and Randolph hired Miller as a handyman to work on his northwest valley home at 6517 Rancho Sante Fe Drive.

Two of Randolph’s other wives died of illness.

Should a jury convict Randolph of first-degree murder, Randolph’s first and fourth wives are expected to testify during a penalty phase that he threatened to kill them.

Contact David Ferrara at dferrara@reviewjournal.com or 702-380-1039. Follow @randompoker on Twitter.

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