James Michael Randall murdered sex workers Wendy Evans and Cynthia Pugh, this episode of Evil Lives Here examines his crimes.
October 20, 1995, in Oldsmar, Florida, and a pizza delivery driver found the body of prostitute Wendy Evans in a lane, she’d been strangled to death. Detectives did find some evidence in the shape of tyre tracks at the scene, but it would take another murder before they homed in on a suspect.
That killing took place on January 18, 1996, when sex worker Cynthia Pugh was also murdered. Like Evans, Pugh was strangled to death and the tire marks at the crime scene matched that where Evans was killed.
Police managed to identify the vehicle that left the tracks as a Dodge D-50 pick-up and their break came when they went to interview Randall on June 27. When they attempted to question him a second time, he fled the scene in his truck and a high speed chase ensued. Randall managed to escape on foot but was arrested a few days later.
Detectives soon discovered Randall had served time for sexual battery and kidnapping. They also found out that his sexual preferences included consensual erotic asphyxiation. His girlfriend at the time, Terry-Jo Howard, also described several violent attacks he’d made on her, including some where he tried to choke her.
In April 1997 Randall was found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder and sentenced to two death sentences. However, he appealed and in 2000 the Supreme Court of Florida ruled that he’d most likely choked the women for pleasure and not to murder them.
The show also examines Randall’s relationships and how women he dated like Linda Wittmier and Terry Jo Howard were lucky to escape his arms alive!
Evil Lives Here – In the Lion’s Cage airs at 6:00 PM on Investigation Discovery.