A judge on Thursday sentenced career criminal Randy Alana to 131 years to life in state prison for brutally strangling his girlfriend, federal public defender investigator Sandra Coke, in Oakland two years ago.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Larry Goodman said that in more than 30 years as a judge, he has never seen such a "mountain of evidence" proving a defendant's guilt as he saw in Alana's 26-day-long trial, which included testimony by 82 prosecution witnesses and 150 exhibits.
Goodman said cellphone records, text messages, surveillance camera footage and records from a GPS monitoring device that Alana wore on his ankle as a condition of his parole all connect Alana to Coke's death.
On May 20, it took jurors less than two hours of deliberations to convict Alana, 58, of first-degree murder, as well as second-degree robbery for stealing items from Coke, vehicle theft for stealing her car and two counts of grand theft for using her ATM card.
Alana, who has a total of 17 prior convictions, was prosecuted on murder charges twice in the 1980s, but in the first case he was acquitted and after jurors deadlocked in the second case, he pleaded no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.
Coke, 50, who worked in Sacramento, disappeared from her home on Aileen Street in Oakland the night of Aug. 4, 2013, and her decomposed body was found in a remote area in Vacaville five days later. She met Alana in 1993 when he was in custody and she interviewed him on behalf of a death row inmate for whom she was working. They have a daughter together who was born in 1998.
Alana's lawyer, Al Wax, had told jurors during the trial that Alana should be found not guilty of all the charges against him, arguing that Alana
had no motive to kill Coke because he loved her and alleging that the prosecution failed to prove its case.
Alana testified during the trial that he didn't kill Coke and that he wanted to find the person who actually killed her.
Coke's mother, 85-year-old Delvies Coke, said in a letter read aloud in court on her behalf that it's "painful" to watch her granddaughter, who is the daughter of Alana and Sandra Coke, cry at night and "suffer from the trauma of losing her mother."
Delvies Coke said Sandra Coke "devoted her life to seeking justice for the disadvantaged," but "her naivete and trusting nature were her
Alana and Wax declined to say anything at the sentencing hearing.