Hulu True-Crime Documentary Follows the Shocking Murder of Sayre Native
On September 1, 1995, John Preston and Nancy Slabicki of Sayre, Pennsylvania welcomed a baby girl named Brooke. On Saturday, April 1, 2017, they laid their daughter to rest. 21-year-old Brooke had been murdered.
Preston was born in Sayre, Pennsylvania, and graduated from Wyalusing Valley High School in 2013. She then went on to attend the State College of Florida where she earned her associate's degree in business management. Preston was thrilled to have accepted a position as a Radiographer for NVI, LLC in Buffalo and had her heart set on obtaining her bachelor's degree. Preston would never see that dream become a reality.
24-year-old Randy Herman Jr., Brooke's Palm Beach roommate murdered her at the house they'd been sharing (along with Preston's sister, Jordan, for six months). Herman wasn't just Preston's former roommate, they grew up in the same town and were childhood friends.
According to news outlets, Herman stabbed Preston nearly a dozen times in the back, throat, and abdomen with a hunting knife. Defense wounds were also discovered on Preston’s left hand.
It doesn't appear that there was any serious strife between the roommates before the murder took place. Preston was simply moving out because she planned to move to Buffalo to live with her boyfriend.
Herman is the one who placed the call to 911 to say, “someone’s been murdered.” Later in the call, Herman said, “just send the police, it was me, I’m sorry.”
During his trial, Herman claimed that he must have been sleepwalking when the murder took place (although Preston's sister told Rolling Stone that she can't remember Herman ever having sleepwalked when she lived with him and her sister) but Herman's claim wasn't enough to keep him from being found guilty. Herman was found guilty of first degree murder by a 12-person jury in May of 2019.
In a new twist, Herman filed a motion in early December of 2021 to have his conviction vacated, claiming that his attorneys didn't provide proper defense on his behalf.
Now, Hulu has picked up the story of Preston's murder in a true-crime documentary called "Dead Asleep." However, the documentary won't focus on what happened to Preston, instead it will focus on whether or not it could be possible that Herman was in fact sleepwalking when the murder happened.
Preston's family is outraged and when producers reached out to them to ask if they would participate in interviews, they shot the request down as soon as they heard that the project would focus more on Herman's side of the story and whether or not there was any validity to Herman's defense that the murder happened while he was sleepwalking.
When Preston's family asked producers why in the world they would want to focus on a convicted murderer, producers basically said they wanted to explore whether or not a murder done while sleepwalking could actually happen. Preston's family asked that producers halt the project, expressing extreme sadness over the fact that Brooke isn't alive to tell her side but the producers decided to forge on.
“If it wasn’t about him, we probably would have gotten involved. We’d love to share her story and how amazing she was," Preston's sister told Rolling Stone.
To date, more than 80,000 people have signed a Change.org petition created by Preston's family to try to stop Hulu's release of "Dead Asleep."
While opinions may differ on whether or not Hulu should pull the documentary, one fact remains - a young woman lost her life and her family will feel that pain for the rest of theirs.