Transcribe your podcast

In the late 1980s, Randall Padget was a poultry farmer and family man in the small town of Ayran, Alabama, who by his own admission made the biggest mistake of his life when he stepped out on his wife, Kathy, with a co-worker named Judy Smith. The affair was on and off again over the years. During one of those Onegin times, Judy and Randall took a road trip to Florida, only to be awoken the first night they were there with some harrowing news.


On August 17th, 1990, Cathy's body had been discovered in her bed. She had endured a violent struggle and had sustained forty six stab wounds, which ultimately killed her. And to make matters worse, semen was found inside of her, even though there was no indication that she had been raped the night before this Florida trip, that Padget children had stayed with Randall in his tiny trailer. They knew he hadn't left in the middle of the night to do anything, much less kill their mother.


But with no signs of a break in at her home, Randall became the suspect and he was arrested when the semen turned out to be is the state would commit misconduct during the trial involving blood found at the crime scene that didn't match Kathy or Randall. This misconduct was one of the factors that led ultimately to Randall being sentenced to death. The prosecutor of misconduct would result in a retrial and a defense investigation would uncover some of the craziest perversities proving that Padget had been innocent all along and rescuing Randall from death row.


This is wrongful conviction with Jason Pflaum. You know, we create these podcasts with the aim to educate as well as to inspire action. Now, we'd love to hear from you. We'd love for other listeners to hear what you've been inspired by when listening to these incredible human stories and what you've been inspired to do. Have you written a letter, talk to a friend or parent about it? Have you donated money or dedicated some of your time? What's your story?


Come leave all of us a note in the review section of Apple podcast. Tell us how you've been moved. And and remember, and I truly mean this. No action, no story is too small to share. What's yours.


This episode is sponsored by AIG, a leading global insurance company, and Paul Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton and Garrison, a leading international law firm. The AIG pro bono program provides free legal services and other support to many non-profit organizations and individuals most in need, and recently announced that working to reform the criminal justice system will become a key pillar of the program's mission. Paul Weiss has long had an unwavering commitment to providing impactful, pro bono legal assistance to the most vulnerable members of our society and in support of the public interest, including extensive work in the criminal justice area.


Welcome back to Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom, that's me. I'm your host, and today I'm actually I kind of have butterflies, I've got to be honest, because today you're going to hear a story that I've been wanting to tell for as long as I've known about it. And and when you hear it, you'll understand why, because this is one of the craziest stories, I believe, in the history of American jurisprudence. And to help tell the story, we have an attorney who is a personal hero of mine.


Richard S. Jaffe is with us. So, Richard, welcome to wrongful conviction. I'm so happy to be here, Jason. And today we're going to be telling the incredible saga of Randall Padget. Randall, as I always say, I'm sorry you have to be here, but I'm happy you're here.


I'm real happy to be here. I've been a lot worse places. Well said. Randall, let's start with you, because you grew up in a small town in Alabama, a town called Arab. I had never heard of Arab. But can you just give us an idea of what your life was like before everything went so crazy? OK.


The town is pronounced, right? I grew up in the 50s. Matter of fact, I was born in that same 50 small town population, probably about 7000 now. Grew up on the farm or this simple good parents.


I worked hard. They carried church and well, I went to college. I got a degree in business and started to work this plant. I always live outside. And so I ended up buying about for.


Got married, had two children and had a pretty good life. Thirty two acres of land and a house and the land paid for the house almost paid for. And I made probably the biggest mistake in my life. I had an extramarital affair. And you're referring to Judy Smith now, you used to work together when all that started, was it when you already had the poultry farm?


No one was eating corporation of the plant and. We live close together one day during work. She had a swimming pool. Something was said about. Went skinny dipping. So remember when we'd been working late? And almost at home and I seen her car in front of me and she pulled up in her driveway, so I kept thinking about the skinny dipping jokes or what my headlights and bonder. Trying to scare everybody knew it was me, and then I went on home, didn't think anything else about it on the next day or I chickened out.


So next night, same thing.


I got almost to her place, which was just before I got my burka, is against all men properly. OK, let's go skinny while she starts stripping. I'll close up all it's all a big joke that we get totally naked and wanted to do the deed. So I said no, I'm going home.


Will be a long weekend and all weekend the devil got my brain and said You should do it. What you should do. Then I did it once and then just more and more and more.


And I was I was miserable. I guess it was mainly sex. And my wife and Kathy, her name was Kathy. We had separated and. She got murdered of stabbed numerous times and more, right, that she was dead. My children, I learned later they were six and 11 at the time, but they were the ones that found the body of the mother and I'm thinking about all that stuff.


And I got physically ill when I first found out about it, but it was like a nightmare, especially when the police were kind of pointing their fingers at me.


I couldn't even mourn the death of my wife without it hanging over me. And I felt a lot of guilt. If I would have been home with my wife or I should have been, she would probably be along.


And well, the police accused me of doing it, which I can understand why I've seen now the TV news about the affairs and all of that stuff, but DNA was brand new back in 1991 to which people and I was just learning about DNA.


Most people didn't know about that stuff back home, so I willingly gave my blood sample. And so I can't wait to list the United States back, so they will start looking at the right place because I wanted every human life to be found. I read about your case in Richard's amazing book. It's called Quest for Justice Defending the Damned by Richard Jaffe. And now there's a second edition out. And this case is extraordinary in so many ways. But I I can understand why the jury voted to convict you, because even though there was significant evidence that it couldn't have been you.


But this one thing was really almost impossible for your attorneys to overcome. And, Richard, you talk about this in your book. So this murder happened on August 17th of nineteen ninety.


Randall and his paramour, Judy Smith, went to Florida on a scuba diving trip. It's about six or seven hours from Arab while in Florida on the evening of August 16th, the early morning of August 17th. Nineteen ninety Randle's asleep. I just got there in a phone call comes from Randall's brother saying that his wife, Kathy, was murdered. Randall immediately went and threw up and then Judy and Randall immediately turned around and drove back and they drove right to the sheriff's department.


The interesting thing is that you would think that Randall was so shook up, so distraught that Judy would have driven the whole way back. But apparently Judy was up all night and couldn't keep the car in the road on these windy rural roads in Florida. And after about 30 or 40 minutes, they were about colliding with everything. And Randall had to drive the entire way back. And Judy went to sleep on the passenger side. They go straight to the station and both give interviews separately.


And then the next morning, Randall invited them out to his home, the home of the murderer, and he was videotaped for forty five minutes, going through the entire house and basically excluding himself from not being a suspect, because every time he was offered an opportunity to, I guess, put himself out of harm's way. He did, for example, or the scuff marks in the door, are they fresh, meaning maybe the house was burglarized? Randall said, no, they were old.


When was the last time you had sex with your wife? Kathy Randall said. Oh, it's been many months, three or four months, which if he were guilty, he would have probably said within the last few days explaining what turned out to be a DNA match and on and on and on. And then Randall gave a polygraph test and he voluntarily gave his blood for DNA testing. And then he thought as soon as it comes back, he'll be excluded as a suspect.


But it didn't happen that way, so the circumstantial evidence starts to mount, right? It looked a little strange that Randall and Judy had left town the morning after the murder. And of course, with the affair and it being a small town and everything else, people are going to think whatever they think. But at the same time, they put out these crazy theories, like the idea that Randall might have been after the life insurance when we know that she only had ten thousand dollars in life insurance anyway, which would barely cover the cost of the funeral.


And it never made any sense on the face of it. Why would Randall want to make his children who nobody had anything to say other than that he loved and they loved him? And why would he want to make them effectively orphans or at a minimum, even if he got away with it, take their mother from them? Can you talk a little bit about that, the circumstance and then where ultimately it went when the DNA test came back for, you know, the first suspect, of course, is the spouse.


But at the same time, when the authorities focus on one person, they get myopic and tunnel vision and they never look at anything else in the investigation then is all about finding information to confirm their suspicion or their bias or their focus. In this case, though, nothing made sense. As you point out initially, clearly, Kathy was in a fight for her life. She was in the bed. She was accosted by her killer, and there was a life and death struggle.


Kathy was stabbed forty six times, almost all of those were defensive wounds, and it took a long time for finally a couple of stab wounds to penetrate her organs and kill her. Randall is six foot one, two hundred and thirty pounds. Kathy was very demure, very small. In addition to that, the alleged rape was clearly staged. The body was moved from a normal sleeping position to across the bed. The left leg was propped down. The right leg was propped up on a table where an alarm clock was.


No one could be raped in that position. All the blood was consistent to the body being moved. The underwear was neatly cut off with scissors of Kathy. There was zero trauma to her vaginal area zero, not zero. And what the pathologist testified to in both trials was that Kathy was dead before the semen ever entered her vagina, meaning that if someone had raped her, that person would have raped a corpse. So you had an extraordinary amount of information that clearly showed that someone else committed this crime other than Randall Padgett.


And there's a lot more to that. The idea that she was allegedly raped in that position with one leg up on the nightstand, but that the alarm clock was undisturbed, didn't make any sense. Very little of this made any sense. But the detectives ignored the statements of Randall's children who had been in the trailer with him all night, including one the little one that slept in the bed with him. And they had told the detective that he had never left the trailer that night and that they would have heard it if he had that he hadn't showered.


He had no blood on them, of course, which we know it was a bloody struggle. They didn't search his residence or his car, nor did they search Judy's residence or car and an investigator clumsily, supposedly accidentally, let's call it that, destroyed a bloody fingerprint on Cathy's body. So six weeks go by October 5th. Nineteen ninety. Randall, they come and arrest you. And then you were charged with capital murder. I was at my in-laws home.


I went over there, me man, the kids. I guess the police were following me or what?


I don't know how they knew I was there was in a town about 30 miles away from where I live. There was a knock on the door and my mother in law said there was someone to see me.


I went outside and like you said, you're under arrest for the murder of Kathy. That's the rest in the wrong person. I got the handcuffs on me, and so let me go back in to my children by now. You can't do that. And. They are out of my mind was spinning, I didn't know what was happening, and I was. Gravely concerned about my kids, they don't have a mother and father, don't have a father and what's going to happen to them.


But I was an I was only in jail, I think, about three days.


I didn't need a thing I couldn't eat. But anyhow, we got bonded out after about three days. So that part of my incarceration was kind of quick.


But the other part I got, the problem was that it's kind of long. That's a whole different story. Death row. We'll get to that. But Richard, in your book, you talk about the first trial. And unlike most of the people that we've interviewed on the show, Randall had not just competent but highly skilled attorneys on the first trial, but they were up against it because the state well, they broke the rules, to put it mildly.


They withheld evidence that I think will be deemed to be exculpatory until the very last minute. And there was other stuff going on. So can you walk us through to first trial and explain to us how it ended up the way did?


Randal did have good lawyers and they retained a expert in DNA and when the expert was cross-examined. The expert had to concede that the DNA testing of the semen was consistent with the DNA of Randall, meaning that the expert basically confirmed the state's case. So once Randall testified, the jury was pretty interested because they made up their mind.


And there's more to this than that as well, because what I was making reference to before is the fact that there was blood at the scene, which is typical in a case where someone is stabbed numerous times because the stabber in this case, the murderer, would normally cut themselves because the knife gets slippery and done a demonstration. So many times you just take a pen and you stab a book or a table or whatever, and by the third time down your hands already down one, what would be the blade?


So that's why we almost always find blood from the person doing the stabbing at the crime scene. And in this case, that was also the case. Plus, it was a violent struggle. And we know that Cathy fought for her life and she scratched the assailant numerous times. So there was blood found at the crime scene that was not Cathy's and it was not Randle's during the first trial. There was one point in time when the zoologist was on the stand testified that blood change from one day to the next and he had never seen that happen.


And the was twenty five years of work. I thought, well, I'm not going to tell you, I'm going to go home today.


So the serology is up on the stand saying Randall's blood type changed, which we know isn't a thing. It can't. I mean, so. So the conclusion is that there was blood from the scene that they were testing that did not belong to Randall and was also not Cathy's. So mixed in with Cathy's blood, someone else's blood was at the crime scene. But the prosecution did not hand over that evidence until after the DNA experts who had come to town to testify had already left.


And then Randall's lawyer appropriately asked for a mistrial and the judge seemingly inappropriately denied the motion. So this is where things start to really stack up and where you can start to understand or I can how the jury would have found Randal guilty because it was hard for them to get past the idea of how could his sperm have ended up inside of her when he said he hadn't seen her in such and such amount of time. And that is a that's a pretty big albatross.


But there's other evidence was either ignored, withheld. There were searches that were not done. There was all sorts of leads that left unexplored.


The huge pink elephant in the room was Randall's ex paramour, Judy Smith. Neither side was willing to call her to testify in the first trial. The state would have given her immunity if she would have implicated Randall, but she wouldn't do it. So Judy never testified in the first trial and the video that we talked about earlier of Randall going through the crime scene with the detectives was not played either. The interesting twist in this case is that the jury found him guilty and recommended a life without parole sentence.


And that time Alabama had an override statute and the trial judge overrode it and sentenced Randall to death.


So, Randall, that's May twenty second. Nineteen ninety two. Can you take us through that awful, awful moment?


Well, my point was, no.


Matter of the sentence went well a lot. But how could anybody think that I would do such a thing? And then they're going to kill the wrong person.


Somebody is out there and that really done this and it's not me and the whole world is going to believe what the court says or say is I'm guilty and and that I must be put to death as a father myself. The idea of you being torn away from your kids who you now have even a more intense responsibility to care for and protect after everything they've been through and now they're effectively being orphaned. And you're thrust into the most horrible situation imaginable and being torn away from the people you love the most.


At the same time, you know, it's horrible and helpless. Like, I can't help myself. Nothing I can do is going to help my children. I got the president that was. It was, I don't know, about 10 o'clock at night and never been in a prison go in and out while people walked up there screaming and you can hear the metal doors slamming shut and open and all your clothes off and right down with some kind of chemical handcuffs shackled on your legs and a chain going from your hands to the chain around your waist.


And our law so little bitty steps back to where death row was and guard would holler and somebody would slide a metal door open and then slide behind the then the other inmates is yelling at you and all of this stuff and screaming to get back to my little cell, which is I think was five feet, eight or nine feet.


And there's no God and there are a lot more of the shot and we saw completely dark. And get in there of I mean, slammed the door behind me, and I'm I'm all alone on a different planet. And I can remember. I think I'm going to get out of here, I'm going to get out of here, I'm going to get out of here, but I after the years went by. I remember. Curled up one in the fetal position and just wanted to give up and.


I'm going to die in this place. Nobody don't. I don't care about world, I'll be glad when I do. But finally, I got closer to God than ever been in my life, I was confident that God wouldn't let me die for something that. And he didn't get me out of there through Richard jerkish. Wow. Richard, the tables turned when you got involved, but how did you come to be involved? And I'm so fascinated by the process and the way you describe it in the book, the decisions that you had to make, which are actually literally life and death decisions because you are the backstop, right?


Had you failed, Randall would have been put to death. So can you take us through that whole process?


The way that I met Brenda Massengill, who later and currently became Randle's, why they hardly knew each other. But I was speaking at the 16th Street Baptist Church in nineteen ninety two. That's where the four young girls were murdered in the bombing of the church. And we were speaking on the death penalty. It was kind of a small rally. Brenda approached me after I spoke and asked me if I had heard of Randall's case. I had and I refused to intervene at that point because he was well represented.


And I didn't expect ever to hear from anyone again about that. And then a few years later, in ninety five, Randal's family called the office Brenda and wanted to meet with. Randall's case had been reversed because the prosecution had failed to disclose the blood type, the evidence that was, as you say, exculpatory. And because of that, Randall was given a new trial. So when I got involved, I began to learn immediately all kinds of things about Judy, about her history, about how she was totally obsessed with Randall to the point where she actually constructed in her home a duplication of Randall's children's bedroom.


And Judy had actually confronted Cathy prior to the murder in a church parking lot. Judy had a raincoat on and sunglasses on a Wednesday night. Cathy went to church every Wednesday night. Judy was hiding in Cathy's backseat. There was a confrontation. A church deacon broke it up.


When you told me about that, Judy came up with, you know, I just wanted to talk to him and I was dressed up anything more than my normal dress.


And so I don't know.


I guess the devil told me and the kind of believe in that, Judy, was about anything that was no good. And the police didn't get the look I should have.


And it was just a crazy model of the problem that Judy was having with patients, because Randall separated from Cathy several times, but each time came back to her. On this occasion, when the brutal murder happened, it became clear to me that Judy wasn't going to take the chance of the divorce not going through. So apparently she took matters into our own hands. And then now we have a gory, horrific, unimaginable crime scene that ultimately led to Randall's arrest, conviction and death sentence.




Were there any other moments besides the church parking lot incident that kind of made you think to yourself, you know, Judy might just be a little bit off thinking back through all this stuff?


I remember one time when this was before Cathy killed, when I was at Judy's place. So a Ziploc bag with some I'm a smoker and some cigarette butts in it and some fingernail clippings. What is this?


And it's not so much I only to say these, you know? And I said, well, one of the things I was sort of thinking, but thinking back, you know, she might have been of some mischief with that.


So I don't know.


And then then things get weirder. Your investigator, who I'm forgetting his name now, who was the investigator in this case?


Our investigator was Rick Blake, and he was our in-house investigator and he was amazing.


What was really fascinating is, is that after the murder, Judy took two weeks off from work, two weeks off, and we developed evidence that Judy had scratch marks all up and down her arms, meaning that she was apparently in some type of vicious life or death struggle. And so she stayed at home until those scratches healed. Another thing is, is that Judy's blood was never tested. Her DNA was never tested. Her home was never searched. Her car was never searched.


The place, for whatever reason, completely ignored her as a suspect.


Listen, if somebody had done this work that you did all those years later, initially, it's entirely possible, maybe even likely, that the trial, the first trial would have ended up and an acquittal because there's more. Right. There's also a truck driver who came forward who said that he had seen a car matching the description of Judy's car, which was a very distinct car. Right. Hubcap was in color, leaving Cathy's home in the middle of the night.


That's pretty powerful. And it's hard to come up with a good excuse for that. But then comes the craziest part of all of this. Right. And again, your investigator said, you know, I reread the chapter in your book this morning talking about how he had gone to beauty parlors, trying to find people who knew Judy, thinking that in a town, a small town with only a few beauty parlors, she might have frequented one of them.


And sure enough, he found people that knew her. And what he discovered from that point turns out to be really important evidence and really bizarre.


He found three different people that told him clearly that Judy had this fetish with saving her then ex-husband, Tommy Smith Saiman, and putting it in milkshakes.


I can remember before Cathy was killed. Usually five to six, we would both come down, but two would go to sleep, I don't know. Weeks before Kathy was killed, after six two days, she would immediately go to the bathroom. So while I'm sitting there in prison, I'm thinking, what was she doing in the bathroom when she saved some stuff? I don't know.


But I don't know, Rick, like our investigator. He found three different people. We tried to get all three to court, but we could only get one. The milkshake lady, she was one of the three that Judy had discussed this with on many occasions. And we call her to testify. And it was dynamic and powerful. And the prosecution did everything they could to keep it out. I mean, I've told this story to a fair number of people, and it doesn't get crazier than that.


And that was wasn't all, though, Richard.


The trial itself, the biggest decision that I've ever had to make in any trial was whether to call Judy to testify. That was crucial because, again, the prosecution kept holding out immunity if she testify against Randall. We were back in the judge's chambers, time would run out. The judge looked up and said, all right, call your next witness. And I said, we're going to call Judy Smith. And at that point, the prosecutors jaws dropped to the floor.


There was stunned silence because no one believed we had the I guess, the guts to call her and we did, and her testimony was the most both powerful and bizarre testimony anyone could envision. On the one hand, she testified that she prayed every night. She loved Randall so much that every night she prayed that something would happen to Kathy and that she would get killed in a car wreck so she could be with Randall and she still loved him. When I ask her about her ability to enter the home, it slipped from her mouth almost that there was a.


And I knew she meant key that was hidden in a particular place for Randall's children to get when they returned home from school, she knew about it, where it was hit and that slipped out of her mouth almost. She tried to take it back, but she could. And jurors remembered that during deliberations. But the most powerful thing was and again, you point out something very, very so, so crucial as every question asked of a witness in a death penalty case, especially a witness like her, Judy, could be the bomb that destroyed you.


It could be the landmine that blows the case up. So every question had to be so measured, but I ask her if that is Randall's DNA in Kathy's vaginal canal. How do you think it got there? It's an objectionable question, but the prosecution didn't object because clearly they thought that she would either say, I have no idea. But her answer was, if that was Randall's DNA, then they had to have come from me and that standing room only courtroom and you could hear a pin drop.


We would really appreciate your support while we continue to tell these stories of triumph over tragedy, unequal justice and actual innocence each week, and now you can do it with style. And here's what I mean. Your purchase of a wrongful conviction podcast, t shirt, coffee mug, reusable water bottle, or the newest item in our collection, the hot new tote bag. The footage and tote bag will sort of casually let everyone at the grocery store know that you're repping the freedom fighters that are out there doing the work to help free the wrongfully convicted of wrongful conviction.


Podcast Dotcom and click on store and I'll see you out there.


So the jury now has heard her try to walk back her explanation of how she could have gotten into the house, because, of course, one of the things that the prosecution theory hinged on was the idea that there was no break in, there was no signs of breaking and entering. So it must have been somebody logically who knew Kathy and was admitted into the house. But now that the key and the location of the key was known to Judy and that was out in the open, that was one thing.


And that, of course, her making this unbelievable admission in open court is a huge moment. But even still, the jury goes to deliberate. Randall, what did you think? They were gone for close to three full days. Did you allow yourself to hope that they would come back with a not guilty verdict? Or were you what were you thinking? Well, I don't think I slipped in here in those three days, one back and forth, the jail to just go straight to the courthouse, but I have hope.


And Richard, so the jury's out two and a half days and the judge is basically at his wit's end, I would say, and is on the verge of declaring a mistrial, which would have been devastating. You talk about this in the book as well, how the judge called you and the prosecution team into his chambers, I guess, right, for a conference. He did, and he was very clear, he said, gentlemen, I'm going to declare a mistrial.


I don't believe in forcing jurors to give up their feelings and beliefs. And I tried to talk them out of it and he would know I've made up my mind. And this is a judge that when he makes up his mind, he does.


As we filed out into the courtroom, I was the last one other than he was behind me.


As we began to enter the courtroom, I turned around, I looked at him right the eyes and I would judge just ask the jurors if they think they can come to a verdict. He didn't say anything. We sat down, he faced the jury. He said, ladies and gentlemen, I have no choice but to. And then he paused just for a second, and he turned to his left and looked me right in the eye and we locked.


And then he turned back around to the jury and he did a 180, he said, is there anyone on the jury that believes that you could come to a unanimous verdict and two or three people nodded their heads and said yes. I was stunned. What a reversal. The jury went back to deliberate. The courthouse continued to be totally packed, standing room only and people were basically in prayer. And forty five minutes later, they came out and it was not guilty.


Now, I'm not going to lie, I cried this morning when I read the book and I knew the story, I'd read it before Randall. What was that moment like when you were vindicated and you were on the verge of being returned to your family, to your community, your good name was given back to you? I can't imagine. Can you please explain? Well, I don't know if I can, but I had been held underwater to the point of ground and I had to come up here.


And I'm at the point where either drowned or not. And then but not guilty verdict. Just put me up in the air. I can breathe again and I'm going to leave. It was just total jubilation. And you hadn't really slept or eaten in a few days, as you said, so, you know, I remember saying you're free to go, Mr. Padget and Daylor came over to take me back to the jail with that person to get my stuff and your back to deal and keep my stuff, you know, and then my son, who had grown and got his driver's license to drive his daddy home.


It was just wonderful. Wonderful. Richard, what about you? It was it was a feeling of elation that it's really hard to imagine unless you have heard not guilty on death penalty cases before this being a retrial made it all that much more. Unimaginable. You have the best job in the world, at least on days like that, you do. Now, before we go to the closing of the show, talk about the juror who approached you on your way out of the courtroom Richard.


Probably the credit for the jury's correct, not guilty verdict. A lot of it goes to her at the end of the day.


That's exactly right. What happens in these trials, having tried hundreds myself, you often misread jurors.


We thought that the older lady and a younger lady, the one you're talking of, probably in her 40s, we thought that they hated us, but it was the opposite. The initial vote was eight to four for guilty, we later learned. And when we walked out of the courtroom towards our car, the one you allude to, the female, the 40 year old, 40 something year old, walked up to me and said, Mr. Jaffe, can I have a word with you?


And I said, sure, she said. And she just looked at me right in the eye. I was like a foot from her. And she said, you know, only a woman would know you can't have sex in that position.


So I climbed on the table and put my right leg up in my left leg down. And I made it clear to the mostly male jury that Randall Paget could not have had sex with Kathy in that position and that other jurors and ultimately all 12 found Randall not guilty.


The last thing she said to me was, you tell Randall Padgett to stay away from Judy Smith and go spend time with his kids. And then we walked away. And the truth is that Randall hadn't seen Judy since the night at the police station when they arrived back from Florida. And he, of course, has it says, do you know what became of Judy Smith after all these years? I don't know.


Richard, is it strange to you that they never prosecuted her?


It's not strange because the prosecution had already publicly made it clear that they didn't think she was involved at all and do nothing. So the chances of them getting a conviction while it existed were really high and I think the prosecution was just done with that case they had. Pretty much been embarrassed enough, I guess, and Randall, before I keep saying this, but one last question before we get to the wrap up, how are your kids doing, these poor children, to live through a nightmare that is unimaginable, you know, losing their mom and then almost losing their dad or losing their dad for six years?


How are they doing now?


Well, they're doing good. And I've got three granddaughters now from them.


My son, those two little girls, he lives in Nashville and he's an architect. My daughter, who lives in Alabama and one time was president of the company she worked for. She's since moved to a different place of employment. But she has one little girl. I'm so proud of them and love them. That thesis. Well, that's great. And I wish them all the blessings in the world because they deserve, as do you, everything good.


So now we come to the wrap up of our show, which is a segment that is my favorite part called Closing Arguments, where I first of all, thank both of you. Richard Jaffe, criminal defense lawyer, author and amazing advocate. Thank you for being here. And of course, Randall, thank you, Randall Padgett, for sharing your story so eloquently and beautifully. And this part of the show is where I get to kick back in my chair, switch off my microphone and let you just chair any other thoughts that you may want to share with our audience.


Randall, we're going to save you for last. That's OK. Richard, your first.


It has been a true privilege, honor and joy to get to know and represent Randall Padget. And become close with he and his now wife, Brenda Masvingo, of 15 years. This is the kind of case where the reality really trumps fiction, because had it not been for the failure to disclose the exculpatory conflicting information of blood typing. Randall would never have the chance for a new trial, and it amazes me that the prosecution hid that until it was too late.


The only other thing I would say would be that law enforcement often excludes a wider investigation once they focus on one suspect. And when that happens, the wrong person can easily been convicted. And a really thorough investigation would have revealed the truth that Randall was innocent. And I thank God that Randall is here with us to share his story. He is a true salt of the earth human being. Randall, I would just like to say, I think, Mr.


Richard, death is the greatest attorney in the world.


He believed in me. He believed the truth. I want to thank Richard. I love you, Richard, very much. One thing about me, I guess I was naive about the justice system in America.


I had heard of people getting wrongfully convicted.


I didn't pay much attention to it, but but I thought, you know, when you go to trial in the United States, the foremost thing in the court's mind is supposed to be the truth. But I don't think it works that way. I think of that piece of truth comes that's bad for whichever side I think it gets twisted around or tried to cover or something.


And I guess for people listening to this, if you're ever sitting on a jury.


I would ask that you don't just believe because a defendant has been accused of something but that he probably did something or he wouldn't be there, and I would ask that you would make the prosecution show you some concrete proof to back up what they're actually in. If I got just one other minute, I'd like to talk about my friend and now wife Brenda when I was in prison, she was so nice to me.


She was trying to raise money for me and brought in legal aid places. I think she wrote the governor and I don't know. And I thought, why is this woman being so nice to me? I thought she's a spy for the prosecution because I was pretty sure I was going to get a retrial because the prosecution withheld exculpatory evidence. And I know it's going to be a retrial. And she's and she kept wanting to come visit me and I wouldn't let her out if I don't let her come down here.


She can't say she said something. But if I do let her come, she can go back and say, Randall said this. Randall said that I would let her come in a couple of years. All my letters went all the way here except hers.


And so finally, a letter. I got to trust her and to not be a spy, but a great help. And after I got out, we married about five years later. It was the most wonderful person.


Don't forget to give us a fantastic review wherever you get your podcast. It really helps. And, you know, I'm a proud donor to the Innocence Project and I really hope you'll join me in supporting this very important cause. And in so doing, helping to prevent future wrongful convictions. It's easy. Go to Innocence Project dot org to learn how to donate and get involved. I want to thank our amazing producers, engineers and editors, Connor Hall and Kevin Amortise the music and the show is by three time Oscar nominated composer DJ Ralph.


Be sure to follow us on Instagram at wrongful conviction and on Facebook at Wrongful Conviction podcast. Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom is a production of Lava for Good Podcasts in association with Signal Company No. One, Northparkes. From NPR ex.