Thursday, August 17, 2000

Police say student's car may have prompted slaying

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

David Peet, right, posed for this Dec. 28 photo with brother Stephen, sisters Anna Marie and Christa Peet Meyer, and brother-in-law Ken Meyer.
(Family photo)
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        A Winton Place man and a teen-ager stand accused of the violent death of a University of Cincinnati student, apparently targeted for robbery in his attention-grabbing car.

        Within hours of finding David Peet's car burning in Walnut Hills, police were getting tips on possible suspects. Before midnight Tuesday, homicide investigators arrested Michael Price, 19, and charged him with aggravated murder.

        Investigators say Mr. Price and a 17-year-old from Finneytown, who is charged with complicity to aggravated murder, targeted Mr. Peet intending to rob him. They met him at the Taco Bell at Winton and Galbraith roads in Springfield Township. There, Mr. Peet — on his way home from a Corryville club — agreed to give the two a ride.

        He ended up shot in the head on a dead-end street off Spring Grove Avenue.

Two self-portraits, the one at right in Styrofoam, hint at Peet's artistic talent.
(Dick Swaim photo)
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        It's the kind of random killing Cincinnati doesn't see often. Of the 19 homicides investigated so far this year by Cincinnati de tectives, most involved suspects and victims who had more of a connection.

        Relatives of Mr. Price, who has a record only of traffic tickets, claim the juvenile did the shooting. His lawyer echoed that in court Wednesday morning, but the judge still set bond at $1 million cash.

        The case began to crack with calls to Crime Stoppers, the hot line that offers rewards of up to $1,000. About a dozen calls rang in Monday, three of them with useful information, said Lt. Ray Ruberg, police division spokesman.

        “The public came through again for us,” he said. “It's definitely very, very helpful.”

        One late-afternoon caller reported seeing Mr. Peet's distinctive metallic-blue Honda Civic on Flatt Terrace. Mr. Price lives there.

        Detectives say more charges are expected.

        Mr. Peet's family spoke more about their loss.

        “He could paint or draw anything, but he especially enjoyed working on three-dimensional art,” said his aunt, Maureen Schomaker of Springfield Township. “He said he wanted to design art that made people happy. He liked working to bring forms to life. His energy was emulated in his sculptures.”

        Among his artistic projects was his car, a 1989 Civic CRX with hand-painted door handles, yellow stripes and silver-colored rear spoiler.

        Mr. Peet planned to start his sophomore year next month in UC's industrial design department. Friends and family will mourn him tonight at his visitation, held at his alma mater, St. Xavier High School.

        Police think the public may still have more valuable tips about the killing. Anyone with information is asked again to call them at Crime Stoppers, 352-3040.

Obituary: David Peet excelled at creative endeavors

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