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Sex offender was ordered to avoid slain investigator

Sex offender Randy Alana was ordered to stay away from Sandra Coke as a condition of his parole, judge says. He has not been charged in her death, but is a person of interest.

August 16, 2013|By Lee Romney
  • Randy Alana briefly dated Sandra Coke two decades ago. Coke's body was found Aug. 9 near a Vacaville park.
Randy Alana briefly dated Sandra Coke two decades ago. Coke's body…

OAKLAND — The high-risk sex offender named as a person of interest in the killing of federal defense investigator Sandra Coke had been ordered to stay away from her as a condition of his parole, a judge said Friday.

The revelation in Alameda County Superior Court came as prosecutors were petitioning to revoke parole for Randy Alana. The 56-year-old, with prior convictions for rape, kidnapping and voluntary manslaughter, had briefly dated Coke two decades ago.

Outside the courtroom, Assistant Dist. Atty. Paul Hora said that he did not know the details of the order, but that it specifically barred Alana from making contact with Coke.

Described as warm, loving and dedicated in her professional life to finding the humanity in those charged with horrific crimes, the 50-year-old vanished Aug. 4 after leaving her Oakland home about 8:30 p.m. to pick up a prescription for her 15-year-old daughter.

She reportedly had told her daughter she also was going to follow up on a tip about her lost dog.

Coke's convertible Mini Cooper was later found a few miles away. Both of her cellphones had been discarded — one in Oakland and one near Richmond. Searchers found Coke's body Aug. 9 in tall brush near a Vacaville park.

Alana has not been charged in connection with Coke's slaying, but Oakland police said they believed he had been with her the night she disappeared.

In revoking Alana's parole Friday in advance of a Nov. 1 hearing on the specific allegations, Judge Morris Jacobson said the ex-convict had had "numerous contacts" with Coke in violation of his parole. He violated other conditions by failing to charge his GPS monitoring device, absconding from parole and resisting arrest.

Alana, who appeared in court wearing shackles and a red jumpsuit, was taken into custody Aug. 6 after parole agents secured an arrest warrant, records show.

A declaration in support of that warrant, unsealed Friday, said Alana's supervising parole agent had received a text message Aug. 4 from the vendor of the monitoring device, noting that Alana's GPS was in "critical low battery status." The next day, Nghia Tran received another text indicating there was a gap in the signal transmission from Alana's GPS.

Tran checked the last point recorded by the device — about seven blocks from Coke's house — but failed to locate him. A call to Alana's last known cellphone number indicated that it was disconnected.

"Alana is a transient and there are no other viable addresses in the file to attempt contact with Alana," according to a request for a national warrant filed with the court.

Coke's relatives and friends have said that Alana had contacted her to ask for help getting his life together. The court petition filed by parole officials Friday pointed to a more turbulent relationship, but the nature of their interactions remained unclear.

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