Price faces potential life sentence for latest prison charge

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Despite murdering four people in Warwick three decades ago, Craig Price may ultimately be put behind bars for life over a different crime – the attempted murder of a fellow prison inmate.

Price, 43, was charged Wednesday in a criminal case accusing him of stabbing a fellow inmate multiple times at Suwanee Correctional Institution on April 4. The prison is about an hour west of Jacksonville.

A legal assistant for the state attorney’s office in Florida said the maximum penalty for attempted murder there is life behind bars. Price is also facing a charge of possession of contraband in prison, in this case a 5-inch homemade knife; that charge comes with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

According to court documents obtained by Target 12, investigators said the entire incident was caught on the prison’s video surveillance system.

The victim, Joshua Davis, was transported to the hospital with knife wounds to the head, back and chest. He was later released.

Price is not serving time for the Warwick murders because he was a juvenile when the crimes 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.

Deputy Attorney General Gerald Coyne said Rhode Island officials will be filing paperwork at R.I. Superior Court seeking to charge Price as a probation violator for the most recent incident. They already did so following a 2009 case where Price pleaded guilty to stabbing a correctional officer’s hand during a fight with another inmate while in Florida.

Price has been in the Sunshine State since 2004 after R.I. Department of Corrections (RIDOC) officials deemed him a security risk here.

A Target 12 investigation in 2015 revealed that despite Price’s spotty record behind bars, he had been able to amass an astonishing amount of so-called “good time” to reduce his various sentences. The most recent numbers indicate he has shaved off 1,719 days – nearly five years – from his sentence thanks to the state’s good-time laws. (Those have since been modified but the changes do not apply retroactively.)

RIDOC spokesperson Susan Lamkins said corrections officials will be reviewing the latest incident in Florida to determine if any of that good time should be taken away.

“We wait for any disciplinary reports to come from Florida, then we go back and fix the numbers per procedures and statutes,” Lamkins said.

As of today, Price’s Rhode Island sentence is set to expire in October 2017, but he will also have to serve 2.5 years for the 2009 incident in Florida, putting his potential release in the year 2020.

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