RI serial killer Craig Price accused of stabbing fellow inmate in Florida

Craig Price

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Notorious Rhode Island serial killer Craig Price is now accused of stabbing another inmate at a Florida prison, the Target 12 Investigators have learned.

J.R. Ventura, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Corrections (RIDOC), said he had limited information but confirmed the alleged incident happened on Tuesday. He said the other inmate was taken to a hospital and was listed in stable condition midday Wednesday. Price is now being held in administrative confinement.

Price, 43, was sent to Florida in 2004 as part of an interstate compact because RIDOC deemed him a security risk to himself and others at the Adult Correctional Institutions in Cranston.

Neither the Florida Department of Corrections nor RIDOC is disclosing the location of the prison in the Sunshine State where Price is being held, only that it is a maximum security facility. Court paperwork previously showed he was at the Florida State Prison in Raiford – about one hour west of Jacksonville – but Price had been moved multiple times previously and could have been again.

Price was 15 years old when he admitted he stabbed to death 39-year-old Joan Heaton and her two daughters, 10-year-old Jennifer and 8-year-old Melissa, in 1989. He also confessed to the murder of 27-year-old Rebecca Spencer two years earlier.

Price’s Rhode Island sentence is set to expire this October, but he would then have to serve an additional two-and-a-half years in Florida for stabbing a prison guard there in 2009.

Price is not serving time for the murders because he was a juvenile when the crime took place, and state law at the time meant he would be released from prison when he turned 21; those laws have since been changed. Instead Price is serving time for a patchwork of infractions including contempt of court and other incidents while behind bars.

In 2015, a Target 12 investigation found Price accrued 43 infractions while he was incarcerated at the ACI in Cranston. Seven of those were either dismissed or lessened to a warning.

One of the infractions came in 2009, when court documents show Price stabbed a correctional officer in the hand with a homemade weapon during an altercation with another inmate. Price was charged with four counts related to the assault, found guilty and received the sentence he’ll have to serve when his Rhode Island sentence expires.

Because of Rhode Island’s “good time” laws, Price’s sentence has been shrinking for years. The 2015 Target 12 investigation found Price had earned more than 1,500 days of good time as of then, knocking years of his sentence. (The state’s good time laws have also since changed, but the change could not be applied retroactively.)

Target 12 discovered RIDOC failed to reduce Price’s accrued good time following the 2009 Florida prison stabbing, and in the wake of the story officials added 40 days to his sentence to correct the mistake.

In January, R.I. Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s office filed what’s called a “detainer” with prison officials in Florida, asking them to hold Price as a probation violator for the 2009 attack on the Florida guard. A spokesperson for Kilmartin declined to comment because it is an active investigation.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook