Big Island man sentenced to two years for killing son
By Peter Sur
HILO — Randal K. "Randy" Randrup was sentenced yesterday to two years in prison and 10 years probation for shooting his son eight times and throwing the body off a sea cliff.
The sentence, reached in a plea deal with prosecutors, counts time served since his arrest, meaning he will be released in February 2011.
The elder Randrup, 61, was originally charged with second-degree murder and firearms charges, but pleaded guilty in August to manslaughter for killing his son, Hans Christian "Chris" Randrup, 27, on Dec. 11, 2008. His nude body was found the next day, wrapped in a blanket at the bottom of a cliff at MacKenzie State Park in Puna.
Randy Randrup said he acted in self-defense because his son was beating him.
The defendant used a walker, a result of injuries he sustained in a near-fatal crash near Captain Cook, two days after the shooting.
Before Third Circuit Judge Glenn Hara handed down his sentence, Chris Randrup's mother, an aunt and a close friend addressed the court.
The mother, Lois Randrup, brought with her a large photo of her son catching a wave, along with a collage of seven photos of him. The unapproved display drew a rebuke from Hara, who then allowed the photos to be shown.
Lois Randrup, her voice wavering, lashed out at prosecutors for accepting a plea deal.
She said there would be no justice if the plea agreement stood.
"The prosecution's handling of Chris' murder left me totally frustrated — no, disgusted — that they are treating it like he mattered so little. I am here to say that Chris mattered a lot."
"This evil man killed my son, his own son, in such an obscene manner," she said. "We still have so many unanswered questions for such a horrible crime, your honor."
Lois Randrup's sister took her turn. "Chris did not deserve to be murdered," Sue Tompkins said in a barely audible voice.
Phillip Kissinger, a friend of Chris Randrup, poked at the defendant's statements.
"When he got away from his son, he could have went for help. He was able to avoid his son's grasp in attacking him, but he was unable to avoid his anger for revenge or justification."
"If he was able to get away, he was able to avoid the situation completely. Randy was already away from the problem before the shooting. He stepped back in the conflict, armed and fully ready to follow through with the worst that he did."
Randy Randrup's attorney, Francis Alcain, drew a starkly different portrait.
"The letters of support submitted on behalf of Mr. Randrup speak of a man who was loving, caring and peaceful, so that he goes out of his way to avoid trouble and conflict" Alcain said. "No matter the outcome of today's case, it is a tragic case.
"On the surface, the relationship that Mr. Randrup had with his son, it appeared to be relatively calm. But little tell-tale signs were present. Mr. Randrup would go to work with an injury one day that he didn't have before, or a cut, or a bruise, or pain and fear from a vicious kick over a dog. Little things. But the father-son relationship was marred by a pattern of abuse — violent, explosive abuse that continued to escalate in severity and concern."
Randy Randrup loved his son, Alcain said, prompting Lois Randrup to scoff.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Darien Nagata said that while Randy Randrup may portray himself as the victim, "the defendant had options and did not need to kill his own son."
"The state entered into the plea agreement based on the state's evaluation of the admissible evidence in the case," Nagata said. "The state made a decision that was not a popular decision, but what we thought was a necessary decision."
Randy Randrup, still seated, addressed the court. He spoke slowly and briefly: "Your honor, this is the worst thing that could ever have happened. I'm so sorry it occurred. I could go on and on, but believe me, I never in my wildest dreams would imagine this occurring. It's so sad."
From the gallery, Lois Randrup began clapping.
"Will you stop that?" Hara said. "You're demeaning this whole proceeding with your — whatever it is — anger?"
"I'm sorry," she replied.
Hara said the letters he has received on the defendant ranged from "loathing and contempt" to "admiration."
Hara said he understood why the state allowed Randrup to enter into a plea bargain, because absent a confession the indictment would have been difficult to prove.
"If your trial had proceeded without the confessions, there was a likelihood that without the confessions a jury might acquit you. You would have been completely absolved of this crime, and I think the prosecution took the route of deciding that half a loaf is better than none," Hara said. He suggested that the admissibility of statements Randrup made in a hospital could have been challenged.
"So, Mr. Randrup, this is something you will have to live with for the rest of your life. It will be a burden on you for the rest of your life," Hara said.
As the judge read the sentence, Lois Randrup sank her head into her hand, sobbing.
Kissinger rose as the hearing adjourned, and addressed Hara from the gallery. He had already been chided for appearing before the court in a T-shirt, shorts and slippers.
"Your honor, could you explain why you're giving such a short sentence? Explain anything?"
"Next case," Hara said.
Ellen DesJardins, whose boyfriend is a cousin of Chris Randrup, declared as she left the courtroom: "That murderer will be back on the streets in less than two years. Watch out, everybody. He did it to his own son. He'll definitely do it to yours."