This article was originally published on The Daily Beast by Kate Briquelet on March 28, 2017.
A Florida man is accused of stabbing his roommate to death after she said goodbye to him on Saturday morning before she was set to leave town.
Cops charged 24-year-old Randy Herman Jr. with first-degree murder in connection to the slaying of Brooke Preston, 21, at a West Palm Beach residence.
Preston planned to return to their native Pennsylvania, the Palm Beach Post reported. But before she did, she gave Herman a hug, and he handed her a memorial T-shirt commemorating a mutual friend who passed away, police said.
Moments later, Herman allegedly stabbed Preston a dozen times with a hunting knife, piercing her back, throat and abdomen. The young woman, who was not romantically linked to her alleged killer, also had defensive wounds to her left hand.
According to an arrest report reviewed by The Daily Beast, Herman then drove Preston’s car to a park about one-fourth of a mile away and dialed 911.
“Someone’s been murdered,” Herman allegedly warned the dispatcher at 9:04 a.m.
When pressed for more information, he allegedly added, “I’m at Haverhill Park. Just send the police. It was me. I’m sorry,” before hanging up.
Herman isn’t the only one in his family to face murder charges.
In February 2015, his father, Randy Allen Herman Sr., was accused of fatally shooting his girlfriend, Gail Monahan. Pennsylvania state police obtained an arrest warrant for the 53-year-old and charged him with criminal homicide.
Cops conducting a welfare check at the couple’s home found the 50-year-old Monahan, who died of a single gunshot wound to the head. The day before she was discovered, Herman Sr. used her bank card at an Athens, Alabama motel, authorities said.
Two months later, Herman Sr. was found dead inside his Ford pickup truck, which was parked in a wooded area near Guntersville Lake—about 88 miles east of Athens. ATV riders spotted Herman’s vehicle, state police said.
Still, it appears Herman Jr. didn’t go on the lam like his father did. Instead, Herman allegedly called cops and confessed.
Herman sent text messages to his mother telling her that he loved her, as he waited for deputies to arrive to Haverhill Park, police say.
Cops would find Herman standing near a pavilion. He was allegedly covered in blood and had a cut between his left thumb and pointer finger—an injury police said was “consistent with his hand slipping on a wet knife and cutting himself,” according to the report.
The alleged killer urged cops to head to 813 Sarazen Drive because someone was “hurt really bad,” a detective wrote in the document.
Deputies peered inside Preston’s Honda Civic and saw blood on the steering wheel and a pillow in the front seat, the report states.
Back at the Sarazen Drive residence, cops found droplets of blood leading inside, as well as a large amount of blood on the walls and floor. Preston, who was declared dead at the scene, was found under a blanket.
Meanwhile, cops also say they discovered a “hunting-style knife,” along with bloody footprints, in the bathroom.
Herman was brought to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, where he agreed to speak after being read his Miranda rights, the arrest report states.
According to police, Herman was upset and crying. “He told me several times that he was sorry,” a detective wrote in the report.
During the interview with cops, Herman said Preston used to be his roommate but had recently moved out. He said he was drinking beer with her the night before but that she left to sleep at a mutual friend’s home.
The next morning, Herman allegedly texted Preston and learned she was having breakfast with the mutual friend, the report says.
The suspect told police that he was in his bedroom sleeping when Preston returned that day to get the rest of her belongings. Preston entered his room, hugged him and said goodbye, the police report states.
“Herman told me that all he could remember after giving Preston the T-shirt was seeing blood,” a detective wrote in the report.
Herman said “he must have done it,” the detective added, because Herman and Preston were the only people in the residence.
The friend whom Preston stayed with that night approached detectives on scene. He told them he once dated Preston’s older sister, who also resided in the home.
Preston allegedly told the friend that Herman was “acting weird and was drunk” and that she felt uncomfortable staying in the house alone with him. She asked to stay at the friend’s residence, according to the police report.
They returned at 7:30 a.m to retrieve Preston’s belongings, but the friend stayed in the car. Then they went to breakfast.
The friend told police that Preston dropped him off at home after breakfast.
But around 12 p.m., the pal received a call from Preston’s older sister, who said she was unable to get a hold of Preston or Herman.
The sibling was worried about Preston’s well-being after she received a phone call from Herman’s mother, who had received texts from Herman “that were out of character and concerning,” the arrest report alleges.
Friends told WNEP that Preston and Herman went to high school together in Wyalusing, Pennsylvania.
According to Preston’s obituary, she “was a spitfire who brought joy into everyone’s life that she touched. She lived life in the moment, grabbed every opportunity that came her way and made the most of it.”
She graduated Wyalusing Valley High School in 2013 and obtained an associate’s degree in business management from the State College of Florida.
Preston was prepared to move to Buffalo, N.Y., where she planned to start a job as a radiographer and live with her boyfriend, the obituary said.
Friends set up a GoFundMe page to help Preston’s family with funeral expenses.
They also took to Facebook to mourn their friend, who also went by the moniker “Cookie.”
“Cookie was a shining star in all of our lives,” one classmate wrote. “I will never be able to understand how such a terrible thing could happen to such an amazing person.”
One of Herman’s friends told The Daily Beast he was in “disbelief” over the murder charge.
Corbin Burger, 20, of Oklahoma, said Herman “was very unselfish … everything was about everybody else.” He met the suspect on the job: they both worked for a West Palm Beach marketing company.
Burger said Herman helped to pay for a plane ticket to attend his grandfather’s funeral in Oklahoma, before Burger moved back home for good. “Randy is one of the most caring human beings I have ever met in my whole life,” Burger told The Daily Beast.
He said Herman and Preston grew up in the same small town and were “best friends.” And that Herman, Preston and Preston’s sister relocated to Florida at the same time.
While Herman never said so, Burger got the impression he had feelings for Preston. “He would just talk about her with the biggest smile, like he was crushing on her,” Burger said.
Burger said his office would hold a “crew night,” where coworkers wold go out to a bowling alley or country bar and bring their families. Herman brought Preston and her sister one evening, Burger said.
“He’s not a monster. He’s not a bad guy at all,” Burger told The Daily Beast. “He loved [Preston and her sister] so much.”
Burger said Herman was very close to his mother. He knew Herman’s father died, but they never discussed what happened to Herman Sr.
“Randy’s not like that,” Burger said, referring to his father’s murder manhunt. “I didn’t like how they [news media] tried to compare him to his father.
“Randy was not that type of guy at all.”