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Laurel Mountain murder suspect arraigned in Pittsburgh

| Tuesday, May 13, 2014, 9:51 a.m.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
Holding a Bible, Gregory R. Randall of Laurel Mountain is led into the office of Magisterial District Judge James Falcon on May 13, 2014. Randall is accused of slaying Angela Cavalero, 52, his roommate for the last year.

A Laurel Mountain man, who is accused of fatally bludgeoning his roommate on May 3, told a friend that day that a cat caused a large gash on his hand, according to a police affidavit.

Gregory Randall, 57, was detained overnight in Robinson and arraigned twice on Tuesday, first in the morning before Allegheny Common Pleas President Judge Jeffrey A. Manning, and a second time before Youngwood District Judge James Falcon on one count of criminal homicide. He was denied bail by Falcon and ordered held in the Westmoreland County Prison.

Randall is accused of killing Angela Cavalero, 52, formerly of Sharpsburg.

Randall carried a Bible in his handcuffed hands as he walked into Manning's courtroom in Pittsburgh.

When Randall proclaimed he didn't have a lawyer, public defender Lisa Middleman, who was in the room on another case, pulled him aside and could be overheard telling him not to talk to anyone about the case.

Randall called her “a fox from heaven,” which drew laughter from the judge and other spectators.

Cavalero's body was discovered on Friday in an unlocked home at 16 Locust St. in Laurel Mountain, after family and friends asked police to check on her well-being.

Ligonier police Officer William Nicol found blood in the kitchen and then found Cavalero's body in the back of the home near a door, according to an affidavit of probable cause filed by county Detectives Will Brown and Robert Weaver.

Investigators found numerous adhesive bandages, according to the affidavit.

“Leading from the area where the victim was found, numerous blood drops were observed, indicating that someone was injured and left the scene,” the complaint said.

A friend of Randall's told detectives that Randall had visited in the late afternoon or early evening on May 3. Randall claimed a cat caused the injury to his hand, the friend told police.

The suspect told his friend that “Angela would not leave the residence and he wanted her to leave” and that he was “afraid of losing control with Angela and he was afraid of what he might do to her,” according to the complaint.

A search warrant indicated Cavalero was bludgeoned with a blunt instrument.

As Falcon was outlining the criminal charge against Randall and informing him that he could apply for a public defender if he could not afford a private attorney, Randall complained he had “no money.”

“My girlfriends took all my money. I only have a dollar in my wallet,” Randall said.

During the brief proceeding, Randall turned toward county Detective Frank Galilei, who had questioned him earlier, and told Falcon that he had discussed his relationship with Cavalero with Galilei. Detectives said that Randall did not admit to the slaying.

“I already told Detective Frank what a bad woman (Cavalero) was and how she mistreated me,” Randall said before Falcon cut him off.

Falcon told Randall he eventually could tell details to his attorney, but not during the arraignment.

As Randall was led in handcuffs from Falcon's office by Ligonier Borough Police Chief John Berger, he told reporters, “Innocent until proven guilty ... innocent 'til proven guilty.”

Cavalero's survivors, including her 31-year-old son, Raymond Bixler of Latrobe, were not amused by descriptions of Randall's sometimes bizarre behavior on Tuesday.

“Don't get me wrong, (Randall) has some issues, but that, today, is all an act. I've known him for awhile, and when he's been around us he has acted normal,” Bixler said.

“I'm very happy they got him in custody. My mom loved her family and friends, did everything for anyone, and we're really going to miss her,” Bixler said.

Bixler said the couple occasionally fought, but a few days before she went missing he could sense the relationship was becoming more strained.

“She had asked me about getting an apartment. ... They had been arguing about all the foul cats he kept around. They argued once in awhile, but nothing ever became physical before,” he said.

“Mom told him before they got together how much time she spent in family-oriented activities and how important her family is. Geez, we used to include him in all of our holidays like Christmas and Easter, and then he turns around and does this. ... No one ever expected this,” he said.

Berger said Randall had been staying with another female acquaintance in the Robinson Township area since at least Saturday, and “she kicked him out after seeing the television news reports he was wanted.

“They then telephoned 911, and police there picked him up late (Monday) night,” Berger said.

Westmoreland County Coroner Ken Bacha ruled Cavalero's death a homicide.

Falcon scheduled Randall's preliminary hearing for May 23 before Ligonier District Judge Denise Thiel.

Adam Brandolph and Paul Peirce are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach Brandolph at 412-391-0927 or abrandolph@tribweb.com. Reach Peirce at 724-850-2860 or ppeirce@tribweb.com.

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