Thomas Randolph, also known as the “Black Widower,” is the subject of a three-part Dateline special and is a fascinating character referred to by a Dateline producer as the “Joe Exotic of true crime,” the Las Vegas Sun reported. He’s had six wives, four of which died under uncertain circumstances, including two deaths that led to murder charges for Randolph.
Randolph’s first and third wives are still alive but his second, fourth, fifth and sixth wives all died. Long before his trial in 2017 for the murder of his sixth wife Sharon Causse, Randolph, now 66, was charged with murder in the 1986 shooting death of his second wife, Becky Gault Randolph.
How did Becky Gault Randolph die and what happened during Randolph’s trial?
Becky Gault Died of a Gunshot Wound to the Head & Randolph Was Charged With Her Murder But Was Acquitted
Gault died of a single gunshot wound to the head in November 1986, at their home in Clearfield, Utah, and Randolph reported that she committed suicide. The two had been married for three years. After a two-year investigation, police charged him with first-degree murder, Deseret reported. Prosecutors said his motive was to obtain Gault’s life insurance and he collected $250,000 in insurance just 13 days after her death, according to the outlet.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Randolph said Gault had threatened to kill herself the day before her death and he told authorities that he replied she should go ahead and do it. He said he returned home the following day and found his wife dead in their bed with a gun in her hand, the outlet reported.
In April 1989, Randolph was found not guilty by the jury and he later had his record sealed. Gault’s mother told reporters after the verdict, “He’s guilty, and he’s just going to kill somebody else’s daughter, so beware,” the Las Vegas Sun reported.
Prosecutors brought forward their star witness, Randolph’s friend Eric Tarantino, who testified that Randolph plotted with him about the best way to kill his wife and came up with several ideas, Deseret reported. Tarantino also said that he warned Gault about the plot on her life and Randolph retaliated by beating him and putting him in the hospital, according to the outlet.
The jury wasn’t swayed by Tarantino’s testimony and after deliberation, they returned a verdict of not guilty. Randolph was also accused of soliciting an undercover police officer to kill Tarantino before his former friend could testify against him, court documents show, and he pleaded guilty to witness tampering. After his murder charge acquittal, he had the records expunged.
Randolph’s Prior Murder Charges Were Brought Up During the Trial for His 6th Wife’s Death & Caused His Conviction to Be Overturned
Three decades later, Randolph was put on trial for the murder of his sixth wife, Sharon Causse, who was shot and killed at their home along with their handyman, Michael Miller. Prosecutors argued that Randolph hired Miller to murder his wife and then shot and killed him, while Randolph said Miller was an intruder and he killed him in self-defense, Fox40 reported.
The jury heard evidence that Randolph had been on trial for the death of his second wife and they eventually found the 66-year-old guilty of the double homicide. However, in December 2020, the Nevada Supreme Court overturned the verdict and ordered a new trial, stating that the evidence of his prior trial should not have been admissible.
The decision stated, “the events surrounding the death of Randolph’s second wife” should not have been admitted because “the danger of unfair prejudice substantially outweighed any probative value.”