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Man Who Claimed To Have Murdered His Friend While Sleepwalking Wants New Trial

Randy Herman Jr. — who claims he killed his friend Brooke Preston while sleepwalking, a case profiled in the upcoming documentary "Dead Asleep"  — has filed a motion for a new trial.

By Gina Tron
Randy Herman Jr Pd

A man who was convicted of murdering his roommate, who said he committed the crime while sleepwalking, wants a new trial.

Randy Herman Jr., 28, has filed a motion with the 15th Judicial Circuit in November asking for his 2019 first-degree murder conviction to be vacated, the Palm Beach Post reported on Tuesday.

He was convicted in 2019 of stabbing 21-year-old Brooke Preston to death in their West Palm Beach home in 2017. After stabbing her more than 20 times, Herman called 911 to confess to the murder. However, he has always maintained that he had no memory of it. His history of sleepwalking, which stemmed from childhood, as well as a drinking binge and lack of sleep before the incident were cited as reasons for why he may have killed her in her sleep during the trial. Still, the jury didn’t buy it and they convicted him and sentenced him to life instead.

In Herman’s motion, filed in November, he claimed that his lawyers made a mistake by classifying sleepwalking as mental illness and in coaching him to seek an insanity defense as a result.

“Had counsel conducted an adequate investigation, he would have discovered that sleepwalking should have been raised under the legal defense of automatism,” he wrote, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Ultimately, the jury decided that they didn’t believe that Herman was likely sleeping during the killing, as he claimed he was awake just minutes before the murder; a sleep expert testified that it usually takes more time to fall into a deep sleep but said it was possible that it happened immediately, too. 

Herman claimed in his motion that his defense team failed to consult with and present an expert witness in forensic sleep science. He also alleged that they failed to call a witness who could have testified about his apparent sleepwalking condition.

The case is at the heart of an upcoming Hulu documentary entitled “Dead Asleep” which debuts on Dec.16.

In an interview with Oxygen.com, "Dead Asleep" director Skye Borgman said she was drawn to the case by both its sleepwalking element and its brutality.

“I had a hard time believing that someone could stab someone 25 times and not wake up during that,” she said. “I was really curious to look at the science of that and the psychology of it and see if it were possible.”

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