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A toxic mixture of infidelity, allegations of child abuse, and Evangelical Christianity all led to the murder of a man who was just trying to fight for custody of his kid.
Born in 1952, Randall "Randy" Sheridan grew up in Ellsworth, Kansas. “He was an extrovert. Friendly, he had a good sense of humor,” brother Rob Sheridan told Oxygen’s “Snapped,” airing Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen. “He was a good person.”
Randy first found love with Judy Junghans, marrying her in 1981. They broke up within the year, but Randy soon started dating again. He started up a relationship with Dana Dreiling, who was 10 years his junior.
In August 1985, Dana gave birth to Randy’s daughter, Ashley. Despite their child together, Dana and Randy lived separate lives.
“I don’t think Randy was ever serious about Dana. Dana was more serious about Rand,” Rob told producers, but added, “When Randy found out Dana was pregnant, he took full responsibility.”
Following Ashley’s birth, Randy and Junghans reconciled and soon had a daughter of their own. Dana, meanwhile, married a man named Steve Flynn, with whom she had a son.
The Flynns began attending the Pentacostal Fountain of Life church in Salina, Kansas, led by Pastor Jerry A. Rollins. Though Dana's family was traditionally Catholic, they joined their daughter’s new congregation as well.
“We started attending that church in Salina, Kansas, when I was 16,” Dana’s younger brother Mikel Dreiling told producers. “Jerry had a way of making them feel like God looked at them with particular favor.”
During services Rollins sometimes spoke in tongues and claimed to have the “gift of prophecy.” He even told church-goers he was “God's prophet,” according to court documents.
Randy, meanwhile, lived with Judy and had custody of Ashley every other weekend. Both his daughters grew up playing together, and at first it was a happy situation. However, he and Dana began fighting in 1989 over visitation rights. On two separate occasions, Dana accused Randy of sexually abusing Ashley, claims investigators found without merit.
“These allegations, they had been investigated by the Sheriff’s Office, they had been investigated by Kansas Social Rehabilitative Services, and no one had found any indication of an actual sexual or child molestation having occurred,” former Kansas Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Jeffery Brandau told producers.
Instead, authorities believed Dana was influencing the child.
“The evaluators were concerned that there was coaching going on with the child and that the allegations and the manner in which they were being made was done in an effort by Dana to try to gain an advantage in the child custody dispute,” former Geary County Attorney Chris Biggs told producers.
But the bitter fight over custody soon came to a tragic end.
Randy was discovered dead on the afternoon of December 22, 1992. He was lying face up on the side of a road about a mile from his home in Junction City, Kansas.
He had been shot five times with what appeared to be a 12-gauge shotgun. An autopsy determined the first three shots were consistent with having been fired from a car window. The killer then stood over Randy and shot him twice in the head, according to court documents.
Investigators contacted Junghans, who was devastated by the news. She said she had last spoken to him at 3 p.m. that afternoon, and he had said he was going for a run.
Junghans did reveal a troubling clue: She told detectives that a week before the murder, someone had called their home in the middle of the night. Judy answered and heard a voice say on the other end, “Die” or “Dead.” Randy took the receiver and said, “Why don't you grow up, Mikey?" believing it was Mikel Dreiling, according to court documents.
Randy's attorney also had a lead for detectives: He told them to investigate Jerry Rollins and the Fountain of Life church.
Detectives interviewed Rollins, who conveniently had an alibi at the ready. “When I first asked him where he was around 3 o’ clock that day, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a receipt from Walmart where he’d bought a toothbrush... that was a little strange,” Brandau told producers.
Investigators also spoke with Dana, who claimed on the day of the murder she had been upset over the custody battle and left work around noon. She said she went to her mother’s house and stayed there until after 7 p.m., according to court documents. But her alibi soon seemed shaky.
Mikel had also missed work on the day of the murder. He said his knee was bothering him and told detectives he had spent the afternoon with his sister at her house — contradicting what she had told police.
Casting even more suspicion on Dana was Steve Flynn, who told detectives he had recently been in contact with Randy as they were both pursuing custody cases against Dana and had come in conflict with her family and Jerry Rollins.
“There was a concern in the underlying child custody matter that the pastor was having a negative influence on the children and teaching that their fathers, who were involved in trying to get visitation, were evil or somehow served the devil,” Biggs told “Snapped.”
In fact, Rollins’ ex-wife, Lee Anna Rollins, told detectives she believed that he and Dana were having an affair, after finding a strange receipt from a company called Adam & Eve.
“The receipt was for sex toys that were sent to Dana from [Rollins]. She left her husband after that incident,” Brandau told “Snapped.”
In speaking to current and former members of the Fountain of Life church, detectives learned Rollins had claimed he received a prophecy Randy was evil and that God would intervene.
“Randy was demonized more and more as time went on. That created, I think, a thought in people’s minds that he was less than human,” Mikel told “Snapped.”
Casting even more suspicion on Dana? Authorities learned that at the time of the murder, the custody case was poised to reach a dramatic conclusion — proving Dana had a clear motive to want Randy dead.
“There was a very important court hearing that was going to be taking place just before the day he was murdered where it was likely that she might lose custody of her child because she was refusing visitation," Biggs told producers.
Though detectives had motive and numerous clues that pointed to Dana, what they lacked was evidence linking her to the crime. It took authorities two years to reach the break in the case they needed.
A witness eventually came forward, who said that at 5:15 pm on the day of the murder they had seen Dana drive her car through an automatic carwash two times, according to court documents. Not only did this shatter her alibi, it pointed to the destruction of evidence.
On October 18, 1884 Jerry Rollins, Dana Flynn, and Mikel Dreiling were indicted by a grand jury for first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit perjury. Investigators believed Dana was the driver, Mikel was the shooter, and Rollins helped plan.
Rollins would enter Alford pleas to two counts of aiding a felon, which essentially means he admitted the evidence against him would lead to conviction while still claiming he was innocent. He served four months in prison, after which he returned to his ministry, the Associated Press reported in 2002. Both he and Dana still deny they ever had a romantic relationship.
Meanwhile, Dana and Mikel were found guilty of first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and conspiracy to commit perjury. They were sentenced in 1997 to life in prison, according to The Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper.
But after 23 years in prison, Mikel Dreiling was released on parole on October 16, 2019. In an exclusive interview with “Snapped,” Mikel admitted taking part in the killing, believing “God wants this done.”
Mikel claims he was manipulated by both his sister and Rollins, who convinced him Randy Sheridan was a child molester.
“It wasn’t until later that I realized Dana and Jerry would lie about anything to get their way,” Mikel told “Snapped.”
Mikel also insists he was not the only shooter. After shooting Randy three times from the passenger side of the car and watching him drop to the ground, he claimed he realized what he did was wrong.
“Dana got out of the car and told me to shoot him again,” Mikel told producers. “And I didn’t. I don’t remember saying anything so she took the gun from me and went over and fired the last two shots.”
Dana Flynn continues to insist she had nothing to do with the murder of Randy Sheridan. Now 59, her earliest possible release date is in January 2022.
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