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Randolph Evans: Wikis


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Randolph Evans (1961 – 1976) was a 15-year old Brooklyn boy who was shot and killed by NYPD officer Robert Torsney on November 26, 1976. Evans was a ninth-grader at Franklin K. Lane High School in Brooklyn at the time of the shooting.



On Thanksgiving Day 1976, responding to a report of a man with a gun in the Cypress Hills housing projects, Officer Torsney encountered a group of youths. After a brief conversation, Torsney shot one of them, Evans, point-blank in the head. He then ran to his car and drove back to the 75th precinct where he was arrested.[1]

Legal proceedings

On the day of Evans' funeral, Torsney was indicted by a grand jury on charges of second-degree murder. At the trial of Torsney, which began in October, 1977, his defense maintained that the killing resulted from a psychotic episode due to an epileptic condition. Torsney's attorney maintained this illness was the automatism of Penfield, named for neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield. On November 30, 1977, one year after Evans' funeral, Torsney was found not guilty by reason of insanity[2]. Torsney was remanded to a state mental hospital.

Torsney's release and aftermath

On December 20, 1978 a Brooklyn State Supreme Court ordered Torsney's release, stating he no longer posed a threat to society. The Torsney case was mentioned by Bob Herbert in his New York Times column after the shooting of Sean Bell which took place exactly 30 years to the day after the killing of Evans.[3]


  1. ^ Seigel, Max H. "Boy, 15, Shot to Death Point-Blank; Officer Arrested in East New York" New York Times, November 27, 1976, p. 1.
  2. ^ Dunning, Jennifer. "Officer Torsney Acquitted as Jury Rules Him Insane in Killing of Boy" New York Times, December 1, 1977, p. 1.
  3. ^ "Badges, Guns and Another Unarmed Victim", The New York Times, November 30, 2006, accessed March 31, 2008.


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