The robbery trial of Bobby Price Jr. took an unusual turn this week when his teenage son, Bobby Price III, was called to testify in his father’s defense.
Both men had been charged with burglary and robbery in connection with a crime that took place Jan. 20, 2015. Bobby Price III had pleaded guilty in the case earlier, partly to clear the way for another matter he has pending in State Supreme Court: He has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of two young men in November 2014.
Prosecutor John Feroleto suggested that the fact that Price III already faces the possibility of life in prison without parole may have led him to testify that he alone committed the crimes that he and his father were accused of.
The victims, however, testified to another version of the events. The two Prices reportedly went to the home of Price Jr.’s former girlfriend on Parkdale Avenue and beat up the woman’s new boyfriend. After giving the man two black eyes, the assailants took the man’s cellphone and left.
Price Jr., 38, testified that he only went to the apartment to pick up the 2-year-old twins that he fathered with the woman. He said he didn’t know why his then-18-year-old son went into another room and beat up the male visitor.
Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk wasn’t impressed with the credibility of the defense witnesses. He found Price Jr. guilty on two felony robbery counts, although he found him not guilty of the burglary, agreeing that Price III probably was the one who took the phone.
As a prior felony offender, Price Jr. faces a minimum sentence of five years in prison when he returns to court Feb. 24.
Meanwhile, hearings continue Feb. 9 before Justice M. William Boller for Price III, who remains jailed on charges that he fatally shot Dominique Harris, 20, and Naim Holt, 19, the afternoon of Nov. 22, 2014 on Langfield Drive. Assistant District Attorney Feroleto also is prosecuting that case.