Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Craig Price: Confessions of a Teenage Serial Killer

Slipping Under the Wire

Craig Price had the law on his side. Despite the brutal murders he committed, Craig would never have to face a trial or serve prison time because he confessed to his crimes just weeks before his 16th birthday. According to Rhode Island state law, all the courts could do was hold him in a training school until his 21st birthday and no longer. Thus after five years, Craig would be a free man with a clean record.

The thought of Craig serving only five years for four brutal murders enraged the citizens of Rhode Island, especially the families of the victims. It was obvious that the law was working against them. However, at the time of Craigs offense, teenage serial killers below the age of 16 were a rare phenomenon. In fact, Craig was considered to be one of the countrys youngest serial killers.

Even though Craig could not be tried for the murders, he still had to undergo a court hearing before he could be placed in the training school. On September 21, 1989 Craig appeared before Judge Carmine R. DiPetrillo at the Kent County Courthouse. During the brief proceedings, Craig was presented with the murder and burglary charges against him, to which he pleaded guilty.

Craig was ordered to serve five years at the Rhode Island Training Schools Youth Correctional Center (YCC), a maximum-security detention facility. He was also ordered to undergo intense psychological examination and therapy. However, Craig refused treatment. Moreover, he refused to officially discuss the murders at all by pleading the Fifth Amendment.

Craig withdrew from the diagnostic and treatment program arranged by the judge on the advice of his lawyers. According to court documents, the reasoning behind the decision was based on fears that the psychiatric examination might, result in his being placed in a psychiatric facility for commitment beyond his twenty-first birthday. Despite court intervention, Craig stuck to his guns and refused to submit to any psychological measures.

In the meantime, Craig carried on with life within the institution. He completed his high school equivalency test and began taking satellite college courses. He believed he needed to improve himself academically so that he could get a good job when he was let out of the YCC.

By 1993, Craig developed a reputation for good behavior within the training school, despite the fact that he refused treatment. In fact, he was in such good standing that his superiors granted him permission to counsel other youths at the facility. Moreover, Gina Macris suggested in a 1993 article in The Providence Journal that Craig also performed light security duties, which included patrolling the schools hallways. Craig was even allowed to make a rap video at the school, which included threatening lyrics.

When the news broke of Craigs special treatment at the facility, Rhode Island citizens and the families of the victims demanded that it be stopped. After much protest it ended, but the bigger problem still remained. Time was running short and Craigs release date was steadily approaching. There was less than one and a half years to work out a way to prevent him from being freed.

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