LOCKPORT - A Niagara Falls man who stabbed his housemate to death and left the body in a bathtub was sentenced Tuesday to 20 years in prison.
Ryan C. Taylor, 33, killed Duane E. Price in a group home for parolees at 1011 Michigan Ave. in the Falls. The body of Price, 41, was found in a bathtub full of water by Taylor's parole officer during a visit on Jan. 28, 2016.
More than a year later, on Feb. 21, Taylor, under indictment for second-degree murder, accepted a plea offer to first-degree manslaughter.
Taylor's attorney, Brian J. Hutchison, said after the guilty plea that Taylor killed Price in the living room of the house three days before the body was found, and then placed it in the tub. An autopsy discovered that Price had been stabbed several times in the head and the base of the neck.
Assistant District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann, however, said Taylor offered a different version in a presentencing interview with a probation officer.
She said Taylor contended that he was awakened about 3 a.m. by a noise made by someone entering his room. Taylor, who said he was sleeping with a hammer, chased the intruder and attacked him near the top of a flight of stairs.
Hoffmann said that story contradicts the physical evidence, because no blood was found near the stairs, only in the common room. The prosecutor called Taylor's story "another manipulation."
"He wanted to ensure the family knew the details of what happened that night," Hutchison said. "He admits he overreacted when someone tried to break into his room."
"Today's your lucky day, to receive 20 years. Duane received a death sentence," Leslie D. Price, a relative of the victim, told Taylor.
The sentence was imposed by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr., who called the killing "a particularly violent act."
At the time of the killing, Taylor was on parole from a sentence for a 2013 weapons possession conviction from Erie County, while Price was on parole after serving time for Niagara County convictions for burglary and criminal contempt.
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