When James Randall was apprehended for the murders of two women, authorities suspected he was also involved in the murders of others.
Ex-partner testimony on his proclivity for autoerotic asphyxiation was heard during the trial. ‘Evil Lives Here: In the Lion’s Cage,’ a documentary on Investigation Discovery, examines James’ heinous actions and interviews those who knew him about them.
So, if you’re interested in learning more about this case, you’ve come to the right place.
Who Were the Victims of James Randall?
Wendy Evans, 42, was discovered dead in Oldsmar, Florida, by a pizza delivery driver on October 20, 1995.
Cynthia Pugh, 27, was found dead near a factory in Palm Harbor, Florida, a few months later, in January 1996.
The parallels between the two incidents were startling. Wendy and Cynthia were both known sex workers who were discovered naked and without jewelery or identification.
Asphyxiation by manual strangulation was the cause of death, and both had bruises on their bodies.
The authorities quickly narrowed in on James Randall. He was residing in Palm Harbor with Terry-Jo Howard, a former sex worker, at the time.
After speaking with James, the officers noticed him driving away in his truck and attempted to make a traffic stop.
He did, however, lead the cops on a high-speed chase. A few days later, James was detained.
James was linked to the murder through evidence, and his prior lovers testified about his proclivity for choking during sex.
The hair recovered on Wendy and Cynthia’s bodies matched that of the dog who lived at James and Terry’s home.
The carpet fibres discovered on the bones were comparable to those found on a rug in the house. In addition, tyre tread evidence in the area where Wendy was discovered matched James’ truck.
In Massachusetts, he had already been convicted of kidnapping and sexual battery. He escaped and relocated to Florida after being released.
James was also suspected of killing Holly Cote in 1984, according to the investigators. He was married to Linda Wittmier at the time, who was good friends with Holly.
Her body was discovered floating in an area frequented by James, and authorities suspected she had been strangled.
Holly was spotted drinking with a group of friends, including James, according to friends. There was, however, insufficient evidence to link him to Holly’s death.
The only suspect in the deaths of Ladonna Jean Steller and Peggy Darnell in Clearwater has also been identified.
What Happened to James Randall?
James, then 42, was never charged with the deaths of the other women but was tried in early 1997 for the murders of Wendy and Cynthia.
James was diagnosed with sexual sadism and had trouble controlling his urges, according to a defence expert.
However, a prosecution expert refuted the accusation, claiming that James used Wendy and Cynthia to act out his sexual fantasies.
He was convicted of two charges of first-degree murder and condemned to death in April 1997.
The sentence was eventually reversed by the court, which determined that there was insufficient evidence to indicate the killings were planned.
As a result, James was found guilty of two counts of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.
He is still detained at the Jefferson Correctional Institution in Monticello, Florida, according to prison records.