A 19-year-old man accused of two counts of first-degree murder pleaded guilty as charged Monday afternoon in State Supreme Court.
The plea came as jury selection was scheduled to begin in Bobby Price III’s trial in the shooting deaths of Dominique Harris, 20, and Naim Holt, 19, both of Buffalo, in November 2014. Price also pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon, although the handgun he used to kill the men was never found.
A conviction on first-degree murder carries a possible maximum sentence of life in prison without parole, but in accepting the plea, Justice M. William Boller committed to sentencing Price to 20 years to life on each murder count, to run concurrently. By law, the sentences cannot run consecutively.
However, the judge added, “I know that the Parole Board looks very seriously on this case and will see that two people were murdered. There is no guarantee you would serve only the minimum.”
Price, who lived on Northland Avenue, had just turned 18 years old when he confronted Harris and Holt in midafternoon Nov. 22, 2014, at the Langfield Homes apartment complex. Erie County Assistant District Attorney John P. Feroleto, who is prosecuting the case, said the motive in the double murder was never confirmed, although Price’s attorney, Anthony J. Lana, said his client indicated that it stemmed from a turf dispute.
Whether true or not, both attorneys said, Price apparently perceived the victims as a threat to his “criminal enterprises” in the neighborhood.
Price was not charged with the murders until October 2015.
After the shooting but before his arrest, Price also joined his father, Bobby Price Jr., 38, in an attack on the new boyfriend of the elder Price’s former girlfriend.
The man was roughed up in the girlfriend’s home, and his cellphone was stolen. Both Prices were charged with burglary and robbery.
Price III pleaded guilty first, and, facing the murder charges as well by then, he testified for the defense in his father’s robbery trial earlier this year, saying he alone was responsible for the robbery.
The victims testified to a different version of events, and Price Jr. also was convicted of robbery and is in prison. Sentencing in his son’s murder case is set for July 22.