A Bradenton man who killed the man his wife claimed to be having an affair with so he would stop cheating could be released from prison in a few years after taking a plea deal in court on Wednesday afternoon.
Derrick Frazier, 34, had been charged with second-degree murder with a firearm in the 2016 fatal shooting of Dequan Randolph and was facing up to life in prison if convicted as charged.
Frazier's wife had grown tired of his repeated affairs, an investigation by the Manatee Homicide Investigative Unit revealed. When Frazier was confronted by his wife and refused to stop his extramarital affairs, she decided to make him jealous and claimed to be having an affair of her own with Randolph.
On Wednesday, Frazier was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by five years of probation in exchange for his plea of no contest to manslaughter. The state also dropped the second charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
Outside the courthouse after the hearing, the victim's wife, Rosemary Randolph, said she was very disappointed with the outcome of the case.
"Seven years isn't enough because we have to live the rest of our lives without my husband, their father, the rest of their lives," she said. "His child gets to talk to him ... afterward his wife gets to reconnect with him. What about me? That was my husband, my husband."
Rosemary Randolph made a reference to how Frazier handled the situation when his wife told him that she was having an affair with her husband.
"If he acted like an adult, he would have come to me, or he would have said something to his wife or get a divorce," Randolph said. "That's what you do. You talk about it. You don't go get a gun and kill somebody because you're mad at them for a moment."
Since there wasn't enough proof, Randolph said Frazier instead took it out on her family.
Her husband was hardworking, loving and always helped others, the grieving wife shared. He would not hesitate to get out of bed to help family or a friend whose car had broken down.
"My kids say, 'When daddy gets done being in heaven, is he going to come back home?' " Randolph said and got choked up as she shared her response to them. "I just tell them, 'Baby, Daddy had to go fix God's car,' because what else am I supposed to tell them other than that their dad's not coming home anymore."
During the hearing, several family members of the victim spoke in court including his son, Dequan Randolph Jr.
"Why did he kill my daddy," the young Dequan questioned and paused before continuing, "That is really sad. That just hurts my feelings."
The boy's mother stood behind him as he spoke and then spoke herself.
"I am very hurt and discouraged due to the fact that Derrick Frazier is family of mine," Warreneisha Thomas said. "When I got the news that my cousin took away my kids father, it really hurt me."
The victim's brother said he contemplated retaliation when he initially heard the news of his brother's death.
"I have no words that can express the sorrow I feel knowing that someone who died a violent death," Judge Brian Iten said before officially accepting Frazier's plea. "But I implore all you hear today, let's not compound it with further acts of violence."
Frazier did not address the courtroom, but his defense attorney Liane McCurry said it was a tragedy for all involved.
"There's no winners in this case, and the state attorney’s office did a great job with what they were provided," Bradenton police lead Detective James Curulla said after the hearing.
On the early morning of Nov. 3, 2016, Frazier's wife was outside a home in the 1100 block of Fifth Street West talking to Randolph when Frazier pulled up, got out of his pickup truck, walked up to Randolph and shot him in the chest. Randolph died at the scene.
Less than three hours after the shooting, Frazier was spotted and arrested by the Bradenton Police Department about a mile from the crime scene. When initially questioned by detectives, Frazier denied even having been at the scene. Ultimately, Frazier said that he had gone to the home to confront Randolph about the affair with his wife, and that a physical struggle ensued between them during which the gun went off and shot the victim.
About a month ago, Frazier's defense sought to restrict the testimony of medical examiner Dr. Suzanne Utley and prohibit her from testifying about the manner of death, according to court records.
"Dr. Utley, per her deposition, is unable to testify if the manner of death was a homicide or an accidental shooting," McCurry stated in the motion to the court. "The question of whether the manner of death was a homicide or excusable, is the ultimate issue for the jury to decide; and any opinion by Dr. Utley would not assist the jury in determining the act at issue, and further would invade the province of the jury."
The defense's motion cited Utley's testimony during the Jan. 16 deposition in which the medical examiner said there were "no autopsy findings possible that would prove or disprove" Frazier's claim that the gun went off when he was tussling with Randolph.