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Richard Barry RANDOLPH






A.K.A.: "Malik Abdul-Sajjad"
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Robbery - Rape
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: August 15, 1988
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: March 3, 1962
Victim profile: Minnie Ruth McCollum (convenience store manager)
Method of murder: Beating - Strangulation - Stabbing with knife
Location: Putnam County, Florida, USA
Status: Sentenced to death on April 5, 1989

Florida Supreme Court

opinion 74083 opinion SC93675

A.K.A. Malik Abdul-Sajjad

DC #115769
DOB: 01/03/62

Seventh Judicial Circuit, Putnam County, Case #88-1357
Sentencing Judge: The Honorable Robert Perry
Attorney, Trial: Howard Pearl – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Direct Appeal: James R. Wulchak – Assistant Public Defender
Attorney, Collateral Appeals:  Rachel Day – CCRC-S

Date of Offense: 08/15/88

Date of Sentence: 04/05/89

Circumstances of Offense:

Richard Randolph was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Minnie Ruth McCollum.

Minnie Ruth McCollum managed a Handy-Way convenience store in Patatka, where Richard Randolph used to work. 

On 08/15/88, witnesses Terry Sorrell, Dorothy Patilla and Deborah Patilla, saw Randolph wearing an employee shirt and locking the front door of the Handy-Way convenience store. 

The women questioned Randolph about why the store was closed and where McCollum was.  Randolph told the women that McCollum’s car had broken down and McCollum had borrowed his car.  He informed the women he had fixed McCollum’s car and was going to pick her up. He then left the store. 

The three women looked in the window of the store.  They saw that the security camera was pulled out of its normal location and wires were in the trashcan.  The women noted the store was in disarray with the trashcan overturned and the counter disordered.  They called the sheriff’s office and reported the situation.

A deputy responded to the call and broke a window to gain entry to the store.  The deputy found McCollum, who was alive and moaning, lying on her back with blood coming from the back of her neck and head.  McCollum was also naked from the waist down.  The deputy had her transported to the hospital immediately.

After leaving the convenience store, Randolph drove to the home of Norma Janene Betts, his girlfriend and the mother of their daughter.  Betts testified that Randolph told her he had robbed the convenience store and attacked McCollum.  Randolph also told her he was going to a store in Jacksonville to borrow money from the manager of a grocery store and to cash in lottery tickets. 

According to Betts, he promised to return for her and their daughter and take them to North Carolina. Randolph, however, was arrested at the grocery store while he was awaiting his money advancement.

Detective William Hord testified as to what Randolph told them after his arrest.  Randolph told the police he went to the convenience store with a toy gun, which he hid behind the store. 

He told police that he knew the stores routine and attempted to rob the safe while the manager was attending to the gas pumps and would not see him.  McCollum, the manager, returned quickly from the gas pumps and saw Randolph at the safe. A struggle ensued between the two. 

Randolph claimed he dragged McCollum into the back room and hit her until she stopped moving.  When Randolph saw McCollum begin to move again, he took the drawstring out of his hooded sweatshirt and strangled her with it until she stopped moving.  Randolph was not able to open the safe, so he took only lottery tickets. 

At this point, McCollum begin to scream and Randolph hit her until she quieted down.  McCollum made noise again, and Randolph stabbed her with a small knife and strangled her again with the drawstring from his sweatshirt. 

According to Randolph, he then raped McCollum to make it appear a maniac committed the crime.  Randolph put on a Handy-Way uniform, ripped out the store video camera and put it in the trashcan, and left the store. 

He also told police that on the way to Jacksonville he had thrown away the losing lottery tickets and his bloodied clothes and shoes at a McDonald’s.  The police were able to recover the items.

Dr. Kirby Bland, a surgeon, testified that McCollum was in a coma upon arrival at the hospital.  He determined she had been severely beaten and had received multiple hits to the head.  McCollum had many lacerations on her scalp, face and neck.  McCollum’s jawbone was fractured.  She also had a knife cut to the side of her neck and a stab wound near her left eye.  McCollum died six days after the incident from severe brain injury.

Additional Information:

A psychologist examined Randolph and testified that several nonstatutory circumstances existed which contributed to the offense.  He testified that Randolph, who was adopted at five months old, had problems getting along with people in school which resulted in him being referred to psychotherapy for a year in the third grade. 

Randolph’s mother was emotionally unstable while raising him and was hospitalized for psychiatric reasons several times.  Randolph’s dad was physically abusive.  He would discipline Randolph by tying him and beating him with his hands, a broomstick, and a belt. 

Randolph graduated from high school and joined the Army.  He was honorably discharged for marijuana and crack cocaine use.  According to the psychologist, Randolph’s addiction and prolonged use of crack cocaine is responsible for his abnormal personality and criminal behavior on 08/15/88.   

Trial Summary:

09/01/88          The defendant was indicted on the following counts:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder

Count II:          Armed Robbery

Count III:         Sexual Battery with Deadly Weapon

Count IV:         Grand Theft

02/23/89          The defendant was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

02/24/89          Upon advisory sentencing, the jury, by an 8 to 4 majority, voted for the death penalty.

04/05/89          Randolph was sentenced as follows:

Count I:           First-Degree Murder Death

Count II:          Armed Robbery9 Years

Count III:         Sexual Battery with Deadly Weapon 27 Years

Count IV:          Grand Theft – 9 Years Concurrent with count II

Case Information:

Randolph filed his Direct Appeal in the Florida Supreme Court on 04/21/89.  Randolph contended that the trial court violated his due process protections and erred in denying his motions for individual voir dire and for a mistrial.  Randolph also argued that irrelevant, prejudicial photographs of McCollum’s body were improperly admitted into trial, the state improperly questioned the medical examiner; and, the trial court could not have found the murder to be heinous, atrocious or cruel.  Randolph made other claims, but they were rendered meritless, warranting no discussion.

The Florida Supreme Court did not find errors that warranted a reversal, so the court affirmed the convictions and sentences on 05/03/90. 

Randolph filed a Petition for Writ of Certiorari in the United States Supreme Court on 10/09/90.  The Petition was denied on 11/26/90.

Randolph filed a 3.850 Motion (I) in the circuit court on 04/07/92.  The motion was denied on 04/02/93.

On 05/01/93, Randolph filed another 3.850 Motion (II) with the circuit court.  On 01/26/98, he filed an amended 3.850 Motion with the circuit court.  The circuit court denied claims 1 through 19 and 21 on 02/24/98.  An evidentiary hearing was held for claim 20 on 04/24/98.  On 05/14/98, the motion was denied.  

On 06/18/93, Randolph filed a 3.850 Appeal (I) in the Florida Supreme Court.  The main issue raised was conflict of interest of defense attorney, Assistant Public Defender Howard Pearl, who was also a deputy sheriff at the time.  Randolph was unaware of this information during his trial. The Florida Supreme Court, however, reversed the denial of the 3.850 Motion on 03/07/96 based on the fact that Randolph’s due process rights were violated by not having the opportunity to cross-examine several witnesses.  

On 08/13/98, Randolph filed a 3.850 Appeal (II) in the Florida Supreme Court.  Issues raised were ex parte communication, ineffective assistance of counsel during the penalty phase, denial of a full and fair evidentiary hearing, conflict of interest of his defense attorney and the unconstitionality of the heinous, atrocious or cruel aggravating factor. The Florida Supreme Court affirmed the denial of 3.850 relief on 04/24/03.

Randolph filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 12/27/01.  In this petition, Randolph argued ineffective assistance of counsel based on five claims.  The Florida Supreme Court denied the petition on 04/24/03.

Randolph filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus in the Florida Supreme Court on 06/25/03.  The petition was denied on 11/21/03.

On 11/17/04, Randolph filed a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus with the United States District Court.  The petition is currently pending.



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