Prosecutors again ask for death for man who slit neighbor's throat

Defense argues Randall Deviney abused as child, could be rehabilitated

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter , Chris Parenteau - Reporter , Francine Frazier - Senior web editor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Prosecutors spent Wednesday trying to convince a Duval County jury that a man convicted and sentenced to death twice in the brutal 2008 murder of a neighbor should be returned to Death Row.

It's the third jury that has been asked to sentence Randall Deviney to death in the murder of 65-year-old Delores Futrell, who prosecutors said let Deviney do handy work at her home 

In August 2008, when Deviney was 18 years old, he slit Futrell’s throat and beat her during an attempted burglary, prosecutors said.

Futrell, a dialysis technician and mother of four, was described in court as loving life and having a thirst for knowledge.

"A person like my mom should have died a peaceful death," said Jacquelynn Blades, Futrell’s oldest daughter.

Deviney's father testified on his behalf Wednesday and Thursday the defense called forensic psychologist Dr. Stephen Bloomfield, who has met with and evaluated Deviney several times over the last three years. 

He described Deviney's childhood on the stand, saying he was born into a family with parents who were found guilty in the infant death of Deviney's older brother. 

Deviney was mentally and physically abused by both his mother and father, and Bloomfield testified that he was stabbed by a brother as a child, and when the doctors were treating him for the stabbing, they found several foreign objects in his body, including paper clips and metal pieces, which Bloomfield said was evidence of neglect. 

He told the courtroom the only time Deviney was touched as a child was when he was getting hit. 
Bloomfield also said that Deviney has shown remorse and could be rehabilitated. Closing arguments are scheduled to happen Thursday, and the case will go to the jury likely Thursday or Friday. 

Before calling witnesses to the stand Wednesday, prosecutors presented evidence and testimony in an effort to convince the jury panel that Deviney's crime was heinous enough to warrant the death penalty.

The crime

According to court documents, an officer responding to a 911 call from Futrell's townhome found her in a "sexual position." Deviney later told a psychologist that he placed her that way to make it look like someone else killed her. Investigators found no physical evidence that Futrell had actually been raped, court records show.

READ: Details of murder from court documents (Warning: graphic content)

According to detectives investigating the murder scene, evidence showed that Deviney cut Futrell's throat near a Koi pond in the backyard before dragging her inside the home and trying to cover up the murder by making it appear to have been a sexual assault. 

The autopsy showed that Futrell had struggled with her attacker before her throat was cut and that the wound sliced her larynx, preventing her from breathing, and she bled to death, according to court records. The Medical Examiner also found evidence that Futrell's killer had tried to strangle her either after she was dead or while she was still dying from her neck wound.

DNA found under Futrell's fingernails was matched to Deviney by analysts from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Deviney claimed he just snapped while talking with Futrell one day, but prosecutors argued that the murder was premeditated because Deviney wanted to steal from Futrell.

Court history

Deviney was first convicted of killing Futrell in 2010. The conviction and death sentence were overturned after it was found that detectives had coerced a confession out of Deviney without reading him his Miranda rights.

In July 2015, Deviney was found guilty again, and a jury recommended he be sent back to Death Row with an 8-4 vote.

The state Supreme Court upheld that second conviction, but later ruled the death penalty unconstitutional unless there is a unanimous jury recommendation.

Deviney's case is one of six Duval County death sentences overturned this year by the Florida Supreme Court.

Over the years, Deviney's behavior behind bars came under scrutiny. Before the start of his second trial, Deviney publicly made claims that Donald Smith, the man charged with murdering 8-year-old Cherish Perrywinkle, had told him about another murder he committed years before. He even attempted to use that information as leverage for a shorter prison sentence. The State Attorney's Office said Deviney's claims were not credible.

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