Randall Deviney, 19, and Delores Futrell, 65, were close friends and neighbors in Jacksonville, Florida. But in an instant, prosecutors say Randall Deviney snapped and sliced her throat with a fish filleting knife as she sat on the edge of her Koi pond in the backyard. Randall Deviney, a troubled young man, became enraged when Delores brought up his childhood. Defense attorneys have hoped his bizarre background would save his life. However, a jury has convicted and sentenced Deviney to death three times since the 2008 killing.
Dispatchers received a 911 call on August 5, 2008, from a townhouse located at 5618 Bennington Drive on Jacksonville’s Westside. When they arrived, they found the home unlocked with the lights on and TV blaring. In the living room, lay the body of a black elderly female. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear, and she was partially nude. The detective later recalled the killer had posed the body in a strange position. Delores Futrell was pronounced dead at the scene.
Whoever had killed Delores Futrell was allowed inside her home. The evidence suggested that she was murdered in her backyard near her beloved Koi pond and dragged inside and left to die. Her male companion of 30 years was in New York at the time of the murder and had taken Delores’ precious dog, Prince, with him.
An autopsy report showed that Delores Futrell struggled with her killer despite her severe multiple sclerosis diagnosis. DNA under her fingernails led to a CODIS hit, which linked Randall Deviney to the killing. Family members couldn’t believe it. Delores Futrell, a mother of four with grandchildren of her own, was like a godmother to him. She loved Randall and often cooked delicious meals for him and even baked his favorite raisin cookies. She’d known him since he was a young boy. He’d often walk her dog, and as he grew older, he performed odd jobs around her house, such as yard work, and he even helped build her a Koi pond with his father.
Randall Deviney denied killing her at first but eventually confessed. He said he completely “lost it,” when she brought up his background. He knew it was horrible and didn’t like talking about it. Court records show that his parents, Nancy Mullins and Michael Deviney, had been convicted in the death of their toddler son Christopher before Randall was born. When Randall was three-years-old, his brother stabbed him.
After his parents moved to Florida, he saw them assault each other and argue constantly. As a result, Randall had a hard time in school and was placed in special education programs to help him. By the time he was a teenager, he was so used to hearing his father bad-mouth his mother that he was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. All of his problems appeared to be a direct result of a culmination of negative life experiences before the age of five.
This information did little to convince a jury to throw out the possibility of death as a punishment for the savage murder of Delores Futrell. Prosecutors said the murder was premeditated and happened during a burglary and an attempted assault. Today, Randall Deviney still sits of Florida’s death row.
Jacquelyn Blades, Delores Futrell’s daughter, wrote a book dedicated to her mother called Memories of My Momz Delores Ann Futrell.