Friday, April 06, 2001

Student's killer gets life term




By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hoping to give meaning to her son's death, a tearful Joyce Peet urged people in a jammed Hamilton County Common Pleas courtroom Thursday to practice kindness.

        “We must make this place better ... so that his death is not senseless,” Mrs. Peet said, referring to the killing of 19-year-old David. He was shot to death Aug. 14 after being robbed and abducted from a Taco Bell parking lot.

        Michael Price, 20, of Winton Terrace pleaded guilty Thursday to killing the University of Cincinnati student. He was sentenced by a three-judge panel to life in prison without parole.

David Peet
David Peet
        Apologizing to the Peet family and to his own, Mr. Price also was overcome by emotion.

        “I never meant for this to happen. I wish it was me who was not alive now instead of David Peet,” he said, before breaking into sobs.

        Authorities determined that Mr. Price and another man, David McGee, 17, met Mr. Peet as he was coming out of the Taco Bell drive-through at Winton and Galbraith roads.

        They told him they were stranded and asked if he would drive them to a nearby location. Mr. Peet said he would.

        Once inside the car, police said, Mr. Price drew a handgun and forced the Springfield Township resident into the trunk.

        Mr. Price drove with Mr. McGee to a no-outlet street and shot Mr. Peet four times in the head. He then drove to a vacant lot and set the car on fire.

        Mrs. Peet said her son believed in random acts of kindness, and died doing what he thought was a good thing.

        She said she has compassion for Mr. Price.

        “I am a mother without her child. That goes against the laws of nature,” she told those in the standing-room-only court. “We all have the power to do random acts of kindness. (David) lived his life in love. Evil took David, but it will not overtake us. I pledge to make this a kind, peaceful and loving world.”

        In March, Mr. Price opted to plead guilty in the hope of avoiding a death sentence, and asked for a three-judge panel rather than a jury trial.

        Ohio law requires such a panel when a defendant in a death penalty case asks to enter a plea, Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen said Thursday.

        He added that the Peet family was satisfied with this option, which would prevent them “from being victimized over the next 20 years” in death penalty appeals.

        Mr. McGee, who pleaded guilty to murder and implicated Mr. Price, is to be sentenced April 30 by Judge Robert Kraft. He faces 18 years to life.

       



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