Investigation Discovery’s ‘Signs Of A Psychopath: He Thought We Were Buddies’ depicts how 40-year-old Randy Tomjack was brutally murdered inside his Keith County, Nebraska, mobile home in early October 2003. While the authorities arrested the perpetrator within hours of the crime, the alleged psychopath had them running in circles with contrasting stories. If you’re interested in learning more about the case, including the killer’s name and current whereabouts, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Randy Tomjack Die?
Randy Tomjack lived in a trailer in a rural area on the north side of Lake McConaughy in Keith County, Nebraska, in early October 2003. Around 1:34 AM on October 7, 2003, a 911 dispatcher received an anonymous call where the caller stated he required help and mentioned “the Angel of Death” a few times before hanging up. Even though he did not reveal a name or a specific address, he stated “Albee’s Subdivision” before the call ended. The dispatcher sent an ambulance, but the emergency responders had difficulty finding the exact trailer.
Albee’s Subdivision is a resort area comprising cabins and mobile homes that are generally unoccupied after the summer vacation. They asked around and sought help from several residents. Meanwhile, the dispatcher also sent a deputy with the Keith County Sheriff’s Office, who thought the caller could be Randy after hearing the 911 call. He immediately met with the emergency responders and went to the latter’s home, guided by the locals. On arriving at the scene, the officers found Randy dead, slumped on the couch and covered in blood.
Pathologist Dr. Peter Schilke testified he had counted the stab wounds and cuts and determined the 40-year-old had been stabbed 59 times. He stated Randy’s right chest bore the bulk of the injuries, piercing his vital organs, including his heart, lung, liver, and stomach. The medical examiner also noted one of the neck wounds slashed his jugular vein. Dr. Schilke said, “He had wounds on the right and left forearms and his palms. There were two wounds on his lower extremities. It is my opinion that the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.”
Who Killed Randy Tomjack?
Court documents stated Danny L. Ball was in the crowd outside Randy’s home when law enforcement officials discovered the deceased’s body. He repeatedly asked the officers present whether the victim was alright and badgered them about letting him meet his friend because he wanted to get cigarettes from him. The investigators had to eventually deter Danny by threatening him with arrest. He seemed agitated when it was apparent Randy was dead, and one of the locals offered to drive the drunk man home in his truck.
The woman, Renee Lucero, later testified Danny was crying and upset, saying he had lost his friend. She added he suddenly reached over and turned off the truck’s ignition, and the frustrated Renee got out and asked his employer to pick him up. Danny worked in a nearby restaurant, and his employer picked him up from the ditch he had passed out before driving him to his workplace. When the investigators met him later at the restaurant, he stated he showered after getting off work around 10:30 PM on October 6.
One of the investigators also testified he heard Danny sobbing loudly and stating, “Randy made me so mad because he was lying about all the hours he was getting in this new job, and he bragged about it, and he made me so mad about that. . . . But I didn’t want him to die.” Besides, the detectives checked Danny’s truck parked nearby and found blood on the steering wheel cover, the gearshift knob, near and in the ignition device, and the driver’s-side lap seatbelt. He was detained around 6:50 AM on October 7 and brought to the station for questioning.
While confined in a small room, the suspect punched holes in the ceiling tiles and had to be moved to a holding cell. His questioning began around 9:00 AM, and the detective tried to get Danny to admit he was in Randy’s home and had stabbed him. However, he accused the officer of “making up stories” and invoked his right to counsel before being escorted back to his holding cell. The officers informed Danny that he was being held on suspicion of murdering Randy. Around half an hour later, he told the jailer he wanted to talk again.
During the second interview, Danny admitted he went to Randy’s mobile home wearing a black mask, slipped in the back door, and stabbed the sleeping victim. He claimed, “I had been fuming for three or four months. In a drunken binge, I snapped and went over to Randy’s house and stabbed him … I went home and took a shower. Burned my clothes and shoes and the knife I stabbed Randy with.” Danny alleged he later returned to discover what damage he had caused and ran into law enforcement. He was arrested around 3:00 PM on October 7.
Where is Danny Ball Now?
Based on Danny’s confession, the investigators executed search warrants for his home and truck and collected critical evidence. They photographed the red stains in his vehicle, and the swabs later tested positive for blood. The detectives found the blade of a large knife in the ashes of the stove inside Danny’s residence and seized some pipes from the shower drain. While the State Patrol crime laboratory analyzed the retrieved items and found blood on the knife and the pipes, the sample size was too small for DNA comparison.
Luckily, the laboratory could match Randy’s DNA to the blood on Danny’s steering wheel cover. He was charged with first-degree murder and use of a deadly weapon to commit a felony. Even though Danny Ball maintained his innocence during his November 2004 trial and alleged the police violated his rights, the court found him guilty of all charges. He received consecutive sentences of five to ten years imprisonment for the weapon charge and life without parole for the murder. The 53-year-old is incarcerated at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln.