Man who killed Arroyo Grande girl in 1979 is denied parole

Tami Carpenter
Tami Carpenter

One of two men who strangled a 10-year-old girl so she couldn’t testify against an accused child molester was denied parole Wednesday, nearly 35 years after the shocking crime was committed.

In finding Randy Dale Cook, 52, unsuitable for release, the parole board also said it would be three years before he would be eligible for another hearing.

Cook was one of four people convicted in the murder of Tameron “Tami” Carpenter of Arroyo Grande in July 1979.

Carpenter was set to testify against William Record, 54, in a child molestation case when she disappeared. After her body was discovered in a shallow grave near Avila Hot Springs, investigators learned that Record had paid his stepdaughter, BranDee Tripp, her husband, Hilton Tripp, and Hilton Tripp’s friend, Cook, $1,000 to get rid of the girl.

BranDee Tripp, a family friend, lured the girl to Cook and Hilton Tripp, who took the 10-year-old to a makeshift campsite near the hot springs. There, Cook and Hilton Tripp severely beat Carpenter before placing a cord around her neck. Each man pulled on one end until she died. In March, the District Attorney’s Office wrote a letter to the parole board opposing Cook’s release, saying, among other things, that Cook has never explained why the men severely beat the girl before killing her.

The letter, written by Deputy District Attorney Lee Cunningham, also expressed concern that Cook was still responding “like a criminal,” according to a recent parole hearing.

BranDee Tripp, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, was paroled in 2008, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Record, who was also convicted of second-degree murder, died in 1984 — just days before his conviction was overturned on a technicality.

Both Cook and Hilton Tripp were convicted of first-degree murder.

Hilton Tripp is currently incarcerated at the California Institution for Men in Chino.

Cook, currently incarcerated at the California Health Care Facility in Stockton, has now been denied parole seven times.