Laurel Mountain man’s attorney to present new defense theory at murder trial
The lawyer for a Laurel Mountain man awaiting trial on charges of bludgeoning to death his live-in girlfriend in 2014 said Monday his client suffers from a mental condition preventing him from forming an intent to kill.
Defense attorney Brian Aston said a brain injury sustained by Gregory R. Randall years prior to the murder of 52-year-old Angela Marie Cavalero should prevent Randall from being found guilty of first-degree murder.
“This becomes as question of fact,” Aston said. “If we use diminished capacity (as a defense) it is not consistent with his previous statements.”
Prosecutors said Randall, 62, initially told police he did not beat Cavalero 29 times in the head and face with a hammer and a wine bottle in May 2014.
Prosecutors contend Randall killed Cavalero during a domestic dispute and then fled the scene. Cavalero’s body was found six days after she died. Randall was eventually found in Robinson Township, Allegheny County.
Randall’s murder trial, after years of delay, is scheduled to begin Sept. 9 before Westmoreland County Judge Meagan Bilik-DeFazio.
District Attorney John Peck said he will object to the new defense theory. Peck said Randall should be prevented from seeking a conviction to a lesser charge because diminished capacity was not appropriate. Randall, he said, previously claimed he was not involved in Cavalero’s murder.
Aston said he intends to ask jurors to consider evidence that Randall, at the time of the murder, suffered from neurological deficiencies related to a traumatic brain injury he sustained years ago. Randall, according to the defense, was seriously injured and lapsed into a coma after a car crash when he was 19 .
The judge earlier this year, after hearing testimony about Randall’s condition, ruled that he was competent to stand trial.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, [email protected] or via Twitter .