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Attorney questions mental capacity of Laurel Mountain man accused of killing girlfriend

Rich Cholodofsky
| Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
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.
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.

The long-delayed trial of a Laurel Mountain man accused of bludgeoning his girlfriend to death in 2014 will be put off a little longer as his attorney explores a mental infirmity defense.

Defense attorney Brian Aston in Westmoreland County Court on Thursday said his client, Gregory Randall, had suffered a traumatic brain injury in an automobile crash that could have left him unable to form a specific intent to commit murder.

Randall, 60, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 52-year-old Angela Marie Cavalero. He is accused of beating her 29 times in the head and face with a hammer and a wine bottle during a domestic dispute. Her body was found six days after the beating, police said.

Aston wants Randall to be evaluated by a neuropsychologist to determine the extent of his mental ability at the time of the killing.

“I have a question if that injury impacted his cognitive abilities and that goes to the degree of guilt,” Aston said.

Randall would face a mandatory life sentence if he is convicted of first-degree murder. He could be eligible for parole if he is convicted of a lesser offense such as third-degree murder or manslaughter.

Judge Richard E. McCormick ordered Aston to finalize efforts to have Randall examined within the next month.

The prosecution has said that Randall and Cavalero lived together for more than a year before the slaying.

During testimony at a preliminary hearing last year, an inmate at Westmoreland County Prison testified that Randall said he attacked his live-in girlfriend after she hit him in the face with a frozen TV dinner.

The first-degree murder case against Randall was initially dismissed following a preliminary hearing before District Judge Michael Mahady, who ruled the prosecution's evidence was speculative and could not be sustained at trial.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck refiled the case with another district judge, who, after a second preliminary hearing, allowed the case to move forward.

Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-830-6293 or rcholodofsky@tribweb.com.

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