A Gaithersburg man did not intend to kill his son when he shot him with a handgun during a fight last May, according to the man’s defense attorney at his first-degree murder trial Monday.
Wayne Mathew Price, 56, of the 7900 block of Spiceberry Circle, was arrested the night of the shooting May 5 when Montgomery County police found his son, 23-year-old Matthew Eugene Price, dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest in front of the elder Price’s apartment building, according to charging documents. The two had been in a fight over whether the younger Price could stay in the apartment, said Steven Kupferberg, Wayne Price’s defense attorney.
Kupferberg described Wayne Price as a hard-working, responsible man whose life was threatened by his son the night of the shooting. Wayne Price had tried to evict his son, who had served two and a half years in jail prior to moving in, from the apartment for violating the rules his father had laid down, Kupferberg said.
While Wayne Price had tried to call the police, his son disconnected several phones and then attacked him when he pulled his legally owned firearm to get his son to step away from the door, Kupferberg told the jury.
“He said, ‘You’re not leaving here, I’ll kill you before you leave,’” Kupferberg said Matthew Price told his father just moments before the shooting. Wayne Price “raises the pistol and tries to scare him, to get him to move over, but Matthew bends down and lunges ... there was a single shot.”
Wayne Price, a retired interrogator and language teacher in the U.S. Army, was working as a security guard at the time of the shooting. He waived his Miranda rights and confessed to shooting his son twice in separate conversations with police; once at the scene and again at a local police holding facility following his arrest, police said.
Montgomery County Assistant State’s Attorneys Jeffrey Wennar and Teresa Casafranca, who are prosecuting the case, told the jury that Price not only shot his son, but showed a callous disregard for his life by refusing to give him any medical attention after the shooting.
“During the final moments of his life, [Matthew Price] found himself naked, alone and dying with a gunshot wound to the chest, shot by his father,” Casafranca said. “... The defendant, a trained medic in the United States military, walked right past his son as he was dying.”
Wennar made several objections during Kupferburg’s opening statement when Kupferburg told the jury that Matthew Price had been a member of the Bloods, a violent street gang, and again when Kupferburg tried to mention a run-in Matthew Price had with local police before the shooting. Judge Sharon V. Burrell asked the jury to disregard Kupferburg’s statements.
Price is facing one count each of first-degree murder and the use of a handgun in a violent crime, according to court records. His trial is scheduled to last through the week.