Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Craig Price: Confessions of a Teenage Serial Killer

Judgment Day

Prosecutors Mike Stone (l) and Patrick Youngs
Prosecutors Mike Stone (l) and Patrick Youngs
 

On October 3, 1994, Craigs trial began at the Superior Court in Providence. It was a long-awaited showdown that held the media and country in suspense. A majority of those who packed the courtroom were anxious to see if justice would finally prevail. They wouldnt have to wait very long.

Overhearing the case was Judge Thomas Needham. Attorneys Robert Mann and Katie Hynes led the defense team. Prosecutors Patrick Youngs and Mike Stone represented the states case against Craig.

The hushed courtroom listened intently to the opening statements made by Stone, as he ushered in one of the states most highly publicized trials. He told jurors that they would learn how Craig verbally assaulted Petrella, after he was given a disciplinary report to sign for possession of contraband material (cigarettes and a lighter). Moreover, they would hear how Craig threatened the officer if he continued his job at the facility. The prosecution planned to introduce five witnesses.

Manns statements followed those of the prosecution. When he addressed the jury, he didnt deny that Craig was angry at Petrellas report or that he used inappropriate language during the confrontation. However, he stated that he would introduce witnesses who would prove that Craig never assaulted or extorted Petrella.

After the opening statements, the prosecution called their first witness, Mark Petrella. For two hours Petrella gave a detailed account of the confrontation and how Craig verbally attacked him using profane language and then threatened to snuff him if he ever returned to work. He also said that several officers witnessed the incident and tried unsuccessfully to calm Craigs increasingly volatile behavior.

Jurors also heard the testimony of four other witnesses who worked at the training school. Their stories agreed with Petrellas account. Author Lang claimed that at the end of the day the state rested its case, pleased that it, had gotten their point across and the facts had not been contradicted.

Robert Mann (l) and Katie Hynes, defense attorneys
Robert Mann (l) and Katie Hynes, defense attorneys
 

The next day as the proceedings were set to continue, Mann asked to excuse the jury so that he could address the court alone. Once the jury had left, Mann asked the court for an acquittal based on insufficient evidence. The judge denied the request and ordered the continuation of the proceedings.

As the trial commenced, the defense team introduced Antwyon Carter as their first witness. Carter was an employee at the training school who witnessed the argument first hand between Petrella and Craig. During his testimony, he claimed that he never heard Craig use the word snuff against Petrella. Moreover, he suggested that he didnt take any security measures during or after the incident because he didnt believe the dispute was a life-threatening situation.

However, during cross-examination by the prosecution, Carter contradicted himself by indicating that Craigs actions were threatening. The defenses case was weakened by Carters statement. They decided it was time to bring on another witness who worked at the facility. Yet, when the man took the stand, he also suggested that Craig acted in a threatening way towards Petrella. The defenses case began to fall apart.

The next day, Mann decided to let Craig testify on his own behalf. It was the moment everyone waited for. All eyes turned their attention to Craig when he recounted the argument he had with Petrella.

Craig told the jury that after the cigarettes and lighter were found in his possession, Petrella gave him the impression that he would not report the incident. He suggested that he was surprised and then angered when Petrella presented him with the disciplinary report later that day. He admitted to shouting profanity at the officer but denied having ever threatened to snuff him out. Craig believed that Petrellas report was part of a conspiracy to keep him locked up.

During cross-examination by the prosecution, Craig flew into a rage, claiming that everyone lied to get him in trouble. He told awed listeners that he was the only honest person who had taken the stand during the trial. In fact, he accused prosecutors of being at the head of the conspiracy to put him behind bars permanently.

Craigs outburst marked the end of the trial. Both the defense and prosecution teams prepared to present their closing arguments for the following day. By the time the news of Craigs testimony hit the stand, many believed that his hope of attaining freedom was a lost cause. It was only a matter of time.

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