DUBLIN -- In a jailhouse interview the day after he was charged with murdering his former girlfriend, Randy Alana again proclaimed his innocence but did not deny he was at the West Oakland motel where authorities believe federal criminal investigator Sandra Coke was likely killed in August.
Alana would not elaborate on his alleged visit to Oakland's Night's Inn Motel on Aug. 4 between 8:43 p.m. and 9:21 p.m. where police tracked him by his GPS ankle monitor as "stationary" for 38 minutes, according to court documents.
"What do people do at motels?" he asked rhetorically via telephone through a glass window at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin, where he has been held since Aug. 6 on a parole violation.
Alana, a career criminal with 17 prior felony convictions, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted of killing Coke, 50. Yet on Saturday, in his second jailhouse interview with this newspaper, he maintained his innocence.
"I know I'm seriously innocent," he said. "Trust me, everything seems different until it's explained."
Asked to explain, Alana declined: "I can, but I prefer not to; it's like exposing my defense."
Until he was officially arrested Thursday afternoon, he said he thought he would be a free man when his parole violation hold expired Nov. 1. "I thought I was going to walk out of here," he said.
Alana, 56, and Coke met two decades ago at Santa Rita Jail when he was incarcerated and she was investigating a death penalty case for her job. He claims they saw each other at various times over an 11-year period, including stints when he was in custody.
"She's always been in the corner for me, for the last 21 years," he said Saturday.
Alana was originally arrested Aug. 6 at the Pittsburg-Bay Point BART station for the parole violation.
Since being locked up at Santa Rita, Alana said Saturday he has been working out -- pulling up his red jail uniform to show his biceps -- as well as scrubbing his cell clean of graffiti with toothpaste, doing newspaper puzzles and thinking of Coke. "There's times when I see her face, and it makes me smile and cry at the same time," he said.
According to court documents filed Friday, Alana called Coke on her work cellphone at 8:22 p.m. Aug. 4. Soon after, Coke left her North Oakland home, telling her 15-year-old daughter she was going to see someone about her missing dog and to pick up a prescription, according to police and court documents.
Video and a GPS ankle monitor attached to Alana showed him at the motel, at 874 W. MacArthur Blvd., from 8:43 p.m. to 9:21 p.m., when video shows him driving her car north on Market Street. Coke's work cellphone was found about a mile from the motel. At 9:23 p.m., the GPS tracking stopped; Alana later admitted that he had removed his ankle monitor, according to court documents.
Anil Dhivar, a motel employee, said recently he had "no idea" if the two were registered there that night. "It was a long time ago," he said, adding that police came to the motel to investigate Coke's death. Investigators searched the premises, including a secluded area at the rear of the parking lot, but Dhivar said he did not know what, if anything, was found.
When Alana was arrested, he was carrying Coke's car keys and debit card, according to court documents.
Alana said he had planned to squeeze his 6-foot-3 inch, 200-pound frame into Coke's Mini Cooper to sleep at night. He said he had been staying with her in her home on Aileen Street, but his parole conditions allowed for only six-hour stints there. Neighbors have confirmed he was there over the summer.
He repeated Saturday that he did not kill her and was not the last person to see her alive Aug. 4. "I don't know who the last person to see her was," he said. "The last person to see her is the one who killed her."
Alana is also charged with stealing Coke's car and using her bank card to withdraw more than $400 the morning after she disappeared. He was arraigned on the charges Friday and will be back in court Monday.
After a five-day search, Coke's badly decomposed body was found in a dry creek bed in Vacaville on Aug. 9. Authorities have never revealed how she was killed, but there are no gun or knife enhancements in the complaint.
Before her death, Coke worked as an inspector with the Sacramento branch of the federal public defender's office. The pair rekindled their romance in January after he was paroled from a 15-year bank robbery sentence in June 2012, Alana claims. Her family has maintained the pair only had a brief fling two decades ago. Coke's younger sister, Tanya Coke, who lives in New Jersey and is caring for Coke's daughter, did not return multiple calls and emails for comment.
Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.