Price used homemade weapon in alleged stabbing of fellow inmate

Craig Price

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Prison officials say serial killer Craig Price used a homemade weapon when he allegedly stabbed a fellow inmate on Tuesday.

Price, 43, has been in administrative confinement at a maximum security prison in Florida since the incident. J.R. Ventura, a spokesperson for the R.I. Department of Corrections (RIDOC), would not provide details on what led up to the altercation, nor on what kind of homemade weapon was used. But he said the other inmate is under constant watch at a hospital and was listed in stable condition.

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.

Court records show Price previously stabbed another inmate at the Adult Correctional Institutions in 2001, using a pen. A Target 12 review of Price’s prison records in 2015 – before the latest incident – showed he had committed 43 infractions at the time.

Despite that, Price has been able to shave his sentence down by 1,719 days, or more than four-and-a-half years, thanks to Rhode Island’s “good time” laws, which allows inmates who have a sentence of 10 years or more to earn a reduction in the length of their incarceration of 10 days a month. The law has since been changed but it did not apply retroactively.

Ventura said because Price is in Florida, corrections officials there will ultimately decide how much good time he could lose for the latest stabbing incident. But it can only be a maximum of 20 days, since that is all he has earned during his current sentence.

The details surrounding Price’s sentence are complicated. He is not in fact serving time for the murders he committed in the late 1980s, but rather for a patchwork of crimes that he committed while behind bars. The latest sentence began in February and is set to expire in October.

Ventura said it is likely Price’s ability to collect good time will be frozen while he is in administrative confinement.

Price could also face charges for this week’s stabbing as he did in 2009, when prosecutors in Florida say Price stabbed a correctional officer while in a fight with another inmate. Price was criminally charged and sentenced to two-and-a-half years and will serve that sentence when his current one expires in October.

It’s unclear where any investigation into the latest stabbing case stands. A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Corrections said he was “unable to confirm, deny, or provide any information on inmate Craig Price’s current whereabouts.”

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